Whether you are back into debt the week after you have been paid, or you are so careful with money you drink only tap water while your friends are splashing out on wine, worrying about cash can seriously affect your enjoyment of life. Many people have emotional hang-ups about money and don’ t like to admit it concerns them. But it ’s a major source of constant, underlying stress.

It can destroy your creativity and even keep you stuck in a job you are miserable in just because you don’t want t o lose the paycheck. What ’s more, even skimping can be a false economy. Cheap goods often break and need replacing and eating like a miser results in bad health, so make it your business to sort out your finances if you want to find happiness. Start by getting to grips with how much money is at your disposal and how much you are spending. Buy a small notebook or use your phone to keep a record of everything you fork out on, from your morning coffee to the newspaper you buy on the way to work.

It all adds up, and keeping a record will soon show you where you can cut down. Be realistic with your spending and try to live within your means. Always ensure you have a budget, which you stick to. Switch to a cash economy instead of using your debit or credit card, or even chequebook. Take out the money you need at the beginning of the week from your account, or transfer it to your phone, and leave your plastic cards and cheque book at home – it will make you appreciate the true value of money. If you have debts, make arrangements to start paying them off, even if it ’s just Ksh500 a month. It will help you feel more in control of the situation and of course you will start to reduce your debts. And once you are debt-free, open a savings account where you deposit a little amount into every month and you will soon have enough for that dream holiday or the pair of shoes you have been admiring.

Let money not control your life. Plan to live within what you earn and look for cheaper ways of making ends meet. Find ways of keeping yourself happy instead of using money you don’t have to entertain yourself in bars, restaurants or clothes shops. Don’t try to live like the Joneses. Visit family and friends, go to church, take a walk in the park, read a book – there are so many cheap ways of having fun.
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