Hard-earned money

Hard-earned money, food and fitness lessons

Life throws up a lot of experiences. Here's some hard-earned money lessons worth sharing.

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Like most women, I’ve had a lot of hard-earned money, food and fitness lessons in life.

These areas are my three passions and as I’ve discovered each have required discipline, routine and consistency.

But through it all, I’m better because of the lessons learned, be that in the gym, the bank and the kitchen and here’s some that might just help you.

Progress doesn’t go in a straight line
You have periods where you make progress, then you slip back.

It took me forever to nail a 70kg squat, then a month to make it to 80kg. I’m still messing around, trying to nail a competition-grade 90kg, but whatevs, I will get there.

Similarly, my finances have been decimated by my divorce. But I am finally getting on top of things.

Same goes for my diet, post-marrriage-breakdown. I had a year of eating and drinking too much, tapered off, and then spent this year cutting to make my weight class.

Take-out: Ultimately, you need to find a balance between being kind to yourself when things get off-track, but also being tough with yourself to make sure you get back on-track.

Goals are your friend

I need goals to help me make decisions. It’s not just about motivation, it’s about having a touchstone for the hundreds of small decisions you make every day.

I know that if I want to attend my friend’s wedding in Canada next year, I have a major savings goal to achieve. So I won’t be buying new clothes this summer and I’ll spend the holidays with my family – for free.

The experts say to make your goals SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and with timeframe).

The realistic part is crucial, I reckon.

Promising yourself to save $5000 in the next three months? Maybe start with tracking your spending for a month and cutting it by 10-20 per cent.

Planning is everything

I never step into the gym without my program.

Planning applies to money too. Give yourself plenty of time to find good deals on everything from phone plans to flight bookings.

Write a budget or a spending manifesto to guide your choices.

So if you know you need a new dress for a wedding in six months, start looking on the sale racks now, not the week before when the only one you like is $400!

If you need accommodation for that wedding, book it now, not when the only rooms left are five-star.

Write stuff down

I struggle with this one, I really do. I hate doing timesheets and budgets. But I force myself to do it anyway.

So ladies, write a budget – here’s the government’s money smart planning tool. Or download an app like Track My Spend.

They are both free. Even if you don’t do it forever, it gives you a starting point – you can see where your money sneaks off to (with your bobby pins, socks and hair elastics).

Motivation gets you started, habit keeps you honest

I spend each Saturday buying groceries, each Sunday batch-cooking, and five nights a week packing my gym bag and going to bed at 10pm.

It’s neither glamorous nor exciting, but it’s my life and I am used to it. It’s also crucial to achieving my health and money goals.

I’m not an expert on behaviour change. But I can tell you that if you do something long enough, it becomes second nature.

All I am saying is you can do this too. You can get your money plans together. Pick a couple of things you can nail, whether it’s making a budget, or making your lunch for a week and stick to it.

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