A Barber’s Guide to Getting Your Finances Back on Track—And Keeping Them There
Sometimes, no matter how much we save and prepare for the worst, the worst can actually happen—and then we’re totally off-track on our finances.
The important thing to remember about being off-track is that, even if it doesn’t feel like it, you can get yourself back on track.
It’s also crucial to remember that being off-track isn’t a shameful thing.
Listen, no matter how financially prepared you might have been, no matter what you did during shutdowns, and no matter how responsible you’ve been, the pandemic made many of us aware that, in the barbering industry, living paycheck to paycheck is part of the culture.
It might not feel like it, but now is actually the perfect time to get your barbering finances on track and ready to go—even in a time where it feels like we’ve just survived a shutdown (or are still trying to—especially if you’re in California).
If you’re looking to move out of the survival game and into thriving mode, we advise that you give this article a read. No, we can’t promise you that you’ll suddenly have all the money in the world through some financial wizardry (we wish)—but we can promise that by following along with some of these habits, you can start putting yourself back on track and in a better place.
That way, if something does happen again—you’ll be in a better financial position.
Habits You Need to Adapt to Keep Your Finances On-Track
These habits aren’t painstaking, they aren’t tricky, and you don’t need a financial degree to tack them onto your routines—we promise. No, diving into the deep end of the financial pool isn’t always fun, but it’ll definitely be worth it in the long run. You can trust us on that.
Get the FULL Picture Of Your Current Circumstances
This is the first step and—coincidentally—it’s one of the hardest ones. Why? Because no one likes to dig through all of their finances, their expenses, their budgets, their numbers, etc.—it’s not fun, it can be anxiety-inducing, and ultimately, it’s pretty dang boring.
But here’s the deal—this is a crucial first step because it’s giving you the full picture of where you’re at. You can’t develop a plan to dig yourself out of financial rubble if you’re not even sure how deep in it you are. You know what we mean?
The best place to start is with your expenses. Even if you’ve done this before, write down each and every one of your expenses.
Gather your bills, download your bank statements, and start to piece together a picture of what your last few months looked like.
Not sure where to begin? We advise that you start with the necessities and the basics (i.e., consider your mortgage or rent, your groceries, your transportation expenses, your electric, water, gas, etc.).
Once you’ve tackled those basics, move onto the other variable expenses (you know, things that are a little more flexible). These can be your business expenses, your childcare, credit cards, etc. This list should include things you could technically live without—even though, ideally, you wouldn’t have to.
Now it’s time to list out all of your income—as well as how much you anticipate making. This is a great way to start considering your income streams. If you’re only making money when you’re behind the barber stool, you should (maybe) consider some other avenues for making money. Brainstorm this point, but don’t get bogged down—you don’t have to figure this out right this second.
List out your assets, your cash on hand, your 401k, your stocks, and other liquid assets that are a sure thing. Use all of this information to develop a clear vision of what your situation is.
Get In Touch With Your Financial Team for a Tough Step
We’re talkin’ creditors, banking institutions, accountants, or financial advisors. Whoever has a direct hand in helping you deal with money will be someone you’ll want to schedule a time to meet up and discuss with. Why? Because honestly, they can offer you more help than you might realize.
This is especially relevant when it comes to creditors that you might owe money to.
Don’t get us wrong, barbering crew, we know this step is tough. You’re going to need to sit down and get brutally honest with the folks you owe money to and tell them if you can’t pay them.
Talk out your situation, let them know that you acknowledge the debt or expense is there, and then, allow them to help you.
Listen, this might not work every time. You might get someone on the phone who is rude, unhelpful, or a stone-cold robot. That’s fine. Thank them for their time and call back again later—connect with someone who is—at least—nice and sympathetic.
We’re not saying that taking this strategy is going to guarantee help, but sometimes, creditors can offer you holds or deferments on payments and give you some time to get everything together. They can even help you develop payment plans for what you owe.
Trim The Fat, Cut the Costs
Remember when we said these habits wouldn’t be complicated? We were serious—they’re actually simple.
But they’re also not easy, exactly. These habits are hard and can be super stressful, but if you’re looking to get on track, this is how you should start. And this next step might be the least-fun, most difficult one of all—trimming the fat where you can.
Remember, this isn’t for keeps—AKA, it’s not a permanent thing you’re implementing. But, for the time being, you’ll want to survey your barbershop costs and figure out where you can cut out the fat.
Think about this in terms of 3-6 months. Over that time, what costs can you reduce to make a difference?
Can you only make minimum payments on your credit cards in the next few months? Can you limit the times you order food? Can you shave down your cell phone plan or internet bill? Can you hold off buying that expensive barbering tool—or do you absolutely need it right now?
Cut the fat where you can, all the while remembering this isn’t a forever decision. For right now, this is the route you need to take to cut costs, and that’s OK.
Do you have some financial planning advice that you think your barbering community could benefit from? We bet you do. Share your secrets, your tips, and your hard-but-necessary advice with your community below—that’s what we have a comment section for!
Remember, team, you’re not alone in this (even when it feels like it)—sharing with your community can be a great way to offer solidarity and support, even when it’s about something finicky like finances.
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