Forget complicated spreadsheets full of numbers and scary words like ‘expenditure’ and ‘arrears’. If you’re looking for a simple, seriously effective personal finance tool, here it is in 2 simple words: stay healthy.
Believe it or not, taking care of your body can help you take care of your money. Here’s how, in 4 easy steps…
Step 1: Get active
Your body wasn’t built to sit at a desk all day, every day. It needs to move in order to work properly and you’d be surprised at how easy it is to add a little movement to your day. Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk around the block during lunch, or do 10 sit-ups before getting out of bed.
Why? Because exercise can do a lot for your body:
- It helps you sleep better, which increases your energy levels
- It boosts the flow of blood (and oxygen) to your brain, which helps you focus and think more clearly
- It releases chemicals called endorphins, which make you feel happy and less stressed out
- It improves the way you look, which boosts your confidence and helps you make a good impression
Okay, so exercise is good for your health… but how can it improve the way you manage your money? The answer is 3 steps away.
Step 2: Feed your brain
If you’re sleeping better and feeling healthier, you’re more likely to perform well at work. But if you really want to be at your best every day, there’s nothing more important than a healthy, affordable breakfast.
According to nutritionist Jade Campbell, missing your morning meal will cause your blood sugar levels to drop, which can make you irritable, less able to concentrate and hungrier… and that’s when the unhealthy (expensive) snacks come out.
So what should you be eating? Campbell recommends muesli with yoghurt, or scrambled eggs on low-GI bread. Out-of-the-box breakfast cereals tend to be quite high in sugar, so it’s safest to steer clear of them.
With your body and brain working at full speed, you’ll be more able focus better at work, getting things done faster and coming up with smarter ideas. And this will help you a lot with the next step.
Step 3: Make a great impression
Okay, so if you’ve followed steps 1 and 2, your increased energy is sure to impress your boss and colleagues… which means they’ll probably think of you when it’s time for recognition and rewards.
“Workers who want to be promoted need to have a strong profile within the organisation. Don't be invisible,” Shireen DuPreez, senior consultant at Executive Search Consulting told Australia’s CareerOne.
But how do you get noticed at work (for the right reasons). Start standing out with these simple tips:
- Offer to help on tasks and projects that other people don’t like doing: the fact that you’re willing to help shows that you’re keen and capable
- Surround yourself with positive people. If you’re seen moaning with the gang around the vending machine, people will think you’re a troublemaker… even if you aren’t!
- A huge part of your success depends on how other people see you: if you have a good attitude, people will want you on their team
Making a great impression puts you on the road to a happier life at work, not to mention a promotion, bonus or raise! Which bring us to the step you’ve been waiting for.
Step 4: Master your money
Once you’ve impressed the right people, don’t waste a bonus or raise on unnecessary stuff. Rather use it to save for the things you want, like a car or tickets to a concert.
This means knowing how to budget. “Financial planning is a process, not an event,” says financial planner Gregg Sneddon. “And it's also not nearly as complicated as the so-called experts would have you believe.”
Start by keeping track of what you’re spending. A “money diary” or our Budgetanator will help you record exactly where your money’s going… and once you’ve seen how much you’ve been blowing on burgers, you’ll soon put that money to better use – like paying off credit so you’re free from debt (and stress)!
But your journey to financial health doesn’t stop here. With your money under control, your body in gear and your career on the rise, your stress levels will drop and you’ll have more time to stay in shape and do the things you love. In other words, you’ve set up a self-fuelling cycle that links back to step 1, turning health into wealth – and wealth back into health.