John-Paul Flintoff

FIVE STEPS to control of your money

If you are struggling with money, you may think your situation is unique, and that nobody ever had it as bad as you do. And you may be right.

But we all have our own difficulties. The most important difference is between people who do nothing, and those who work towards a solution.

My experiences
Like pretty well everybody I know, I have had my own money troubles. Here are just a few:

  • I have been embarrassed to tell somebody quite how much I was spending on something that he would not himself be able to afford.
  • I have been shamed by somebody else's embarrassment when he realised how very much less than him I earned. (I haven't seen him since.)
  • I've been made redundant, with all that entails: a windfall payment (yay), and a loss of secure income (yikes).
  • I've had people I liked and admired owing me vast amounts of money for months on end, and then lying about when I could expect payment. (I don't expect to see them again soon.)
  • I myself have walked the wrong way around the block where I live, for two weeks, so as to avoid the local garage, because I didn't have funds to pay an outstanding bill.
  • Moments before starting this post, I paid a tax bill that was weeks overdue.
  • And I once had an accountant who sent me invoices amounting to nearly half of my annual income, though my accounts are relatively straightforward. WTF, as they say.

In each case, you might think: so what. But I would probably feel the same if I heard your story. All I can tell you is that each of these situations brought up very strong feelings – from mild discomfort to actual panic.

One step at a time
Whatever your situation, the key thing is to allow yourself to feel terrible for a moment, rather than pretend you don't, then use those strong feelings to motivate you to face up to the facts of the situation you are in, find a way to describe how you would like things to be instead – and finally take steps to make that happen.

This post is one in a short series, giving a simple outline of how to do that. Here and there, I'm providing links to other sites where you can find more ideas, and other resources – if the links don't work, please let me know.

Step 1: Face up to where you are right now