Money matters are an interesting thing.
Money is often a taboo topic and many of us are reluctant or downright loathe to talk about our own money situation.
However, we tend to be quite curious, if not fascinated at the thought of peeking into the financial affairs of those around us.
This is why Spaceship launched the Real Money Talk series, where we check in with real people from across Australia who share their thoughts on budgeting, money attitudes, roadblocks, and their best and worst investments.
We're grateful to these people for sharing their stories because we think the more we talk about money, the more we help people to look at and improve their own state of affairs.
And what we have realised is that while we all have vastly different attitudes about money, many of us generally share the same struggles.
On that note, here’s a round-up of money tips to consider, courtesy of Real Money Talk.
1. Use your own money
In our chat with James (chef, 31) he said because he was wary of the banks, he'd avoided most types of debts.
Because he doesn’t rely on other people's money, he only uses cash in the bank.
By using his own money, this helps him to avoid unnecessary debt (personal loans or credit cards) and exert more control over his money.
2. Avoid the perils of lifestyle creep
When asked for his best advice, AJ (corporate job, 32) urged people "be wise with the money you already have. If you can’t find a way to optimise your expenses and save money, even on a low salary, you will never be able to do so on a big salary."
When we earn more money, our lifestyle habits often increase in line with our income. This simple change in behaviour and attitudes can mean we are less discerning when it comes to our money.
The downside of earning more money is the dread of spending more, aka lifestyle creep.
3. Scour for additional sources of income
Elijah (personal trainer and photographer, 31) suggests a good way to get ahead is to monetise your talent. Many people in our Real Money Talk series agree, and they too have explored additional sources of income.
Elijah says: "We all have talents that we never get the chance to explore because we’re too worried it might never go anywhere."
Maybe you are handy with a camera, are an above-average calligrapher, or possess potential as a hand model? Use it to your advantage and you can hopefully get paid for it.
Having a side hustle means you can be your own boss. It brings you bags more confidence and because you've got an income sweetener, you may reach your goals a little bit faster.
4. Respect money
Garth (gemstone and opal dealer, 59) says because money can provide you with more opportunity, you can't be lax with it.
"You need to respect money for the power and enjoyment it gives you."
Meanwhile, Richard (government consultant, 32) agrees you should treat money with respect, because having a good relationship with money now can help you later on.
"It has an important place in our society to allow us to live good lives and I see too many people who are frivolous now and they will regret it down the track."
5. Make good investments
Whether it’s travel, further study or opening your own business, many people in our Spaceship community said their best investments were the ones they made in themselves.
Leo (chiropractor, 27) agrees travel has been his best investment.
Investments in yourself can enrich your mind, broaden your horizons and progress your path as a student of life.
6. Finances should be today's priority
A common comment our Real Money Talk-ers made is that they knew they had to make some changes, whether it’s to see a financial adviser, look into their super, or consider investment options.
However, they also admitted that for whatever reason, now wasn't the right time. It was something to look into in a few months, next year or someday.
Inertia comes naturally to most of us. But if we don't take action now, we can't take control of and improve our financial situation. And sadly, it will be a big burden placed on our future selves.
Caitlin (business owner, 38) sums it up best. She says: "Don’t assume you’ll suddenly have this fantastic job when you’re older with heaps of money. I look around me and I still have friends kind of waiting for that to happen."
7. If you don't invest in things that matter, your happiness may pay the price
Saving money and building your net worth is great because it can offer you security and more opportunity.
But make sure you're investing your time in things that matter to you and genuinely make you happy.
Rayya (graphic designer, 26) agrees. She says: "Your currency is your time. Money is worthless if you’re unhappy."
8. It's on you
Mark (investment boffin) shared a number of money tips (32 to be exact) in one of our first posts.
He had simple yet potentially effective nuggets of advice.
He said your money situation is yours to control, rein in, and improve on. Don't blame others if you didn't pay attention or thought someone else would handle it for you.
You are usually the best person to look after yourself.
So, make you and your money a priority today. There are seven days in a week and someday isn't one of them.