This is a guest post from Melissa Meagher, Financial Coach at Talking Money.

We all know what we should do…..if only it was that easy!

To be fit and healthy we know we need to eat right and stay active. We also know that to stay financially fit and healthy we need to cut down expenses, minimise debt and save more. But as you may have found this general knowledge doesn’t always easily translate into practical results.

This is true for so many people I talk to – life just seems to get in the way. While they try to put structure around how they spend, the result is they seem to keep chasing their tails and living a reactive existence when it comes to money. Perhaps you’ve experienced the same?

To help you break free from the everyday money habits that are holding you back, here are some simple money tips that you can implement in your day-to-day living to get back in control of your financial situation:

  • Understand where you are with your current financial situation – what you spend your money on. This can be achieved through keeping track of your spending, prepare a budget and be disciplined.
  • Fully understand the ramifications of short-term debt – credit cards, personal loans and interest free periods – how much is this item actually going to cost you in the long run once everything is factored in?
  • Don’t impulse buy using your credit card – it is very easy to do if the credit is available. Walk away, have a think about it and weigh up the purchase more carefully. Look at using cash instead – it makes spending more real.
  • Keep your credit card limit as low as possible and aim to clear the balance every month. This can be available for emergency situations but will prevent you from building a balance that you are unable to manage.
  • You need to put aside money for larger, less regular expenses such as rates, car registration, and electricity so it doesn’t financially cripple you when they are due. This can be prevented and managed by doing a budget.
  • You need to have an emergency funds for unexpected expenses (some suggest the equivalent of 6 months of income) – park it in a high interest account or a mortgage offset account if you have one.
  • Make conscious spending decisions – don’t just spend to make yourself feel good – these little indulgences can really add up!
  • Don’t look at budgeting as denying or restricting yourself – reframe the conversation around the positives and benefits – put in place financial rewards/incentives for achieving goals.
  • Everything in moderation – there needs to be a balance to life. For example, buy lunch once a week instead of everyday.
  • Communicate with your partner when it comes to money and making financial decisions. It is a lot easier to work together towards achieving common financial goals and it can help avoid a lot of potential future stress.

Contrary to popular opinion, financial difficulty isn’t a sign of failure. Like anything in life it just means you need to further your knowledge and learn some new skills. Need a little extra help getting started? Visit the Talking Money website here or you can contact Melissa on 0417 614 854 or