I’m a self-confessed exercise junkie so for me this extra time at home combined with an array of amazing fitness, yoga and dance classes going online is something very positive I’ve been able to benefit from during lockdown.
Another thing I love doing is talking to our StepLadder Members. This current crisis has encouraged a lot of our Members to get in touch to think about their financial situation; discussing challenges but also making positive plans and setting goals for the future.
So combining these two very important things - finance and fitness - I’d like to offer you a little model that might help you get your finances in shape (without even breaking a sweat!)
Start with a Warm-Up
Just do a quick scan of your financial situation.
To do this you might want to make a list, create a spreadsheet or if you’re feeling creative, draw a picture (there’s no rule that says finances have to be done in a spreadsheet!).
Answer the following questions:
- Where do I have money? E.g. Revolout, Monzo, HSBC, Premium Bonds, LISA etc.
- Where/ to whom do I owe money? E.g. Bank loan, car loan, credit cards
- What financial service providers/organisations do I use or have a relationship with? E.g. Revolut/ Money Dashboard/ StepLadder/ Financial Advisor / Equifax
- Who else is involved in my financial situation? E.g. partner, parents, children
This stage of your financial workout is about getting rid of any unnecessary expenditure that’s hanging around. Now just like body fat, some of it might be stubborn but if you know you don’t need it, now’s the time to lose it.
Go through every line of your monthly expenditure and ask yourself…
- Is this essential?
- What would happen if I didn’t spend this money?
- Could I replace this with a more cost efficient alternative?
This will help you really focus on what’s important to you. Clearly some of your expenditure is going to be essential, you need somewhere to live, you need food to eat and you of course also need joy in your life. So if cutting something out completely would be miserable then think about lower cost alternatives or cutting in other areas to allow yourself that joyful expense.
It’s exactly the same as a balanced and healthy approach to food. You don’t have to cut out your favourite treat but you might choose to have less of it, have it less often, or replace it with a healthier version.
A popular expression in the fitness world is ‘use it or lose it’. This part of your workout refers to untapped resources you have at your disposal that might help you get extra money coming in.
- What skills do you have that could offer an alternative income source?
- Do you have anything that you could sell online?
- How can you take advantage of the many free, or heavily discounted, courses available online at the moment to upskill and increase your earning potential?
- Are you maximising all discount codes and offers? Are you signed up to the newsletters for all your essentials purchases?
Every good workout ends with a stretch. So after all that hard work make sure you stay in shape by stretching yourself to think about the following things:
- Who are your ‘gym buddies’? – your financial fitness friends who can challenge you to burn more fat (make savings), motivate you to build more muscle (gain more income) and support you with information or advice
- What new opportunities exist for me to be financially fitter after lockdown?
- How financially fit do you want to be this time next year?
Thinking about and addressing your finances can be emotionally draining so it’s important to relax and reward yourself after your financial workout. There are some amazing free experiences and classes online at the moment, take a trip round the Guggenheim Museum or tour Ancient Rome.
Or, if you’re like me and want to challenge yourself to break an actual sweat, do one of the 100s of free online fitness classes available.
Your Financially Fit Training Plan
- Warm-up - map out all your financial resources and relationships
- Burn Fat - cut any unnecessary expenditure
- Build Muscle - identify other and new sources of income
- Stretch - think about the future and challenge yourself to become financially fitter
- Relax - reward yourself after all your hard work
The above article has been written to provide some possible options for individuals to undertake. It is not financial advice.
Lucy is Co-Founder and COO of StepLadder. She is passionate about health and fitness, and being a PANK (Professional Auntie No Kids!). She is a trained executive coach and loves cheerleading people towards their goals!