Money Talk: with Helen Collier

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Does your idea of a budget conjure up images of doing without and scrimping?

If you’ve been following the columns during September you will have ideas about what’s really important to you, your values. You’ll also know how much money you need to cover the three levels of ‘enoughness’ we covered last week. That’s enough for the absolute bottom line, enough with extras and plenty.

The trick now is to create a ‘Wide Awake Spending Plan’ that can be used to guide your spending and keep you focused on using your money for things that matter to you.

Try this to spice it up

Change the usual boring categories in a mundane budget into something that will inspire you. How about ‘Financial Freedom’ rather than paying off debt?

Maybe ‘Our Haven’ instead of housing costs or ‘Freedom’ instead of motoring costs. The idea is these help you see how you benefit from creating a ‘Wide Awake Spending Plan’.

Then get down to your plan. You’ve got the categories. Now put the figures in. Starting with a column for your bottom line figures, the absolute essentials. Create another column that shows how much you would need to have enough, your bottom line plus extras that will make life better. Visit my website for more help with this.

Finally there is Plenty for rainy days, holidays, a nest egg and dreams. That’s where we are going next week to round off the September.

Who wouldn’t like to have plenty of money to be able to do and have the things and experiences that help to make us happy and feel good?

It’s not easy to put a figure on what plenty is. It will be different for all of us. This is where having a ‘Wide Awake Spending Plan’ can help.

In the past few weeks we have covered your absolutely essential bottom line spending. You should also know what your ‘enough’ spending is and have though about how your spending fits with things that are really important to you.

Now it’s time to start work on your personal ‘plenty.’ What dreams do you have? Say one is to have a family holiday every year which is going to cost £1200 and you have got 12 months to save it. That’s a £100 a month.

Think about what the benefits would be e.g. Something to look forward to, a chance to have fun together, to feel the sun. Plan this into your spending. Is there enough left in your budget to do this? If yes then add it into your Wide Awake Spending Plan. If ‘no’ then look at where you can adjust your monthly ‘enough’ plan so there is enough.

To thrive financially takes flexibility. To pull in when it’s necessary and to ease off when it is appropriate. To splash out on things that truly matter when the timing is right.

You choose. Having a ‘Wide awake spending plan’ This is far more likely to happen if you know that you are working towards something that you really want and care about.

If you’ve worked this out what you have left is what you have to create your ‘plenty’. So what does plenty mean.

It means having enough to do things that you enjoy. To start to make your dreams into a reality.

How does having plenty of money sound to you?

I can imagine some of the comments out there. I’ll never have enough to do the things I enjoy. Enough to make your dreams a reality. It’s not likely that most of us are going to land in a place where money is no object, where you can have everything you want.

It’s the last of the September posts on ‘Creating a Wide Awake Spending Plan’ and here are some tips about creating your own.

If you know what is important to you, how much your absolute bottom line spending is and how much is enough to have the extras that make a difference.

If you’ve worked this out what you have left is what you have to create your ‘plenty’.

So what does plenty mean. It means having enough to do things that you enjoy. To start to make your dreams into a reality.

Leeds-based Helen Collier is one of only two coaches in the UK trained with the Money Coaching Institute in California. She helps people who are often embarrassed and ashamed about how they’ve handled money to create a financial life they can be proud of. www.harmoneylife.co.uk.

Dean Johnstone, chief executive of Minds Ahead and joint leader of the centre of excellence in Leeds.

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