Personal Finance Series: No 7 – The Seven Secrets of Switching in Shelter Provision Personal Finance

When considering personal finance budgets, most people will only consider making cutbacks when the money begins to run out, and only then will they think about creating a home budget worksheet, or a personal finance worksheet. The more proactive will have done this well before they get that far, some will even investigate personal finance online, and a proportion of those who do will find that their search leads them to some personal finance online software.

This behaviour though, is in itself not a financial planning definition, and there are seven things that people just don’t think about when completing a personal finance spreadsheet.

1. Shelter Provision – Why People Don’t Switch

Switching means to change service provider either because the service being received is no longer satisfactory, or because it can save money. Yet despite these obvious benefits of better service and financial savings, most people don’t switch.They don’t switch bank accounts because they believe there is a disadvantage to moving from ‘people who know me’. They don’t switch utility providers because they think it’s ‘too much hassle’. The REAL reason why people don’t switch though is apathy. Most people just can’t be bothered.

2. Shelter Provision – Overcoming Apathy

There is a psychological effect known as “bystander behaviour” when people in crowds fail to take any action when they witness a crime or accident together- each believing another will be the one to act. People don’t want to overreact or be embarrassed.

Other studies on apathy showed that people experience apathy when things just don’t affect them, they have a visible lack of emotion or drive. The second secret of switching is to understand that overcoming apathy is easy and possible, and that holding back is damaging the personal finance statement!

3. Shelter Provision – Motivation

Often, Apathy and it’s cousin, procrastination, come from a lack of motivation, which simply means that people either don’t have any goals, or don’t have the right goals.

People in this situation have simply forgotten what they want, their activities just don’t fill them with enough enthusiasm- and this can be traced right back to the lack of goals setting with students, or goals setting templates taught to us at an early age.

Financial goal setting is a powerful way to overcome this apathy – and switching is an instant way to achieve quick savings within a personal finance budget.

4. Shelter Provision – Budget Target

Budgeting can be one of those things that people put off, because it doesn’t necessarily bring pleasure. Yet the whole point of a goal is to connect you to something you want. Saving money releases funds to do exactly that. Often, it is possible to save hundreds just from switching – so set a target from all the possible routine and regular outgoings.

5. Shelter Provision – Prioritise the Prize

It makes sense that one you look at your family budget worksheet, you target the biggest spend items first, and shop around to switch. Some won’t be possible until contracted dates, such as mobile phones or special utility deals, but if you start with the largest first, and then work down the list, you will understand the value of the biggest prize for the least effort.

6. Shelter Provision – The Power They Have

Most service providers are big companies who don’t really know you at all. We think their power is the ability to restrict services – that the bank won’t lend us the money we need because we only just joined them.

We pay Utility bills quickly or on time because they have whole departments of people dedicated to chasing us for money when we don’t and in extreme circumstances we have all heard the tragic stories about people dying because they lost electricity, gas, or water supplies.

We think that they have more power than they actually have. We think that because they are so huge and powerful, that they have all the power – that we have no individual significance to them.

7. Shelter Provision – The Power You Have

Actually, you have much more power than you think. The competition among mobile phone providers, power companies, and in fact every supplier to your home is a very good thing for personal finance budgets.

These organisations now have customer retention departments who try their best to keep you. Savvy customers are very valuable and customer retention departments will offer all sorts of ‘deals’ to keep your business because of the lifetime value of your custom, and the high costs to them of replacing you with someone else. You actually hold ALL the power, because you get to choose who gets your custom.