Make more of your money with ‘zone power’

Make more of your money with Zone Power

Believe it or not, how good or bad you are with money is not down to your personality – that’s a big myth.

In fact, there’s a science behind whether we’re splashing cash or looking to save pounds.

It turns out none of us are fixed ‘spenders’, ‘savers’ or 'stick-our-heads-in-the-sand types’, but instead we move through different zones in our thinking depending on the situation.

Understanding this fact can help anyone get better with their money and it's easier than you think so long as know where to start.

We spoke to Professor Thomas Webb, a behavioural psychologist from the University of Sheffield and an expert on this sort of stuff. He explains how to positively move through your mental zones. Then Kara Gammell, our personal finance expert and editor, follows-up to explain how you can master your money mindset so you’re better with your cash.

Do you know what zone you are in?

Professor Thomas Webb

Professor Thomas Webb is a psychologist at The University of Sheffield. He has published over 100 papers on issues such as the effects of motivation and planning on behaviour and how people control their emotions.

Thomas Webb

How do people achieve their goals such as getting on top of their household finances? The answer is that they get into the right ‘mindset’ or ‘zone’. This way of thinking about our brains says that getting something done involves moving through a series of zones that have distinct feelings and behaviours. For example, once someone has decided to take action, they move into the ‘Learning Zone’ which involves focused processing of relevant information. Being aware of what zone you’re in, and what you need to do to get to the zone you want to get to, can help you achieve your goals much faster. These videos will help you learn about the different zones and how you can make them work for you.

Being aware of your zone can help you achieve your goals

Explore the different zones

Where's your head at?
Comfort Zone Video

Comfort Zone

Don't be fooled by the name, The Comfort Zone is not a place you should stick around in for too long. Here's why.

Fear Zone Video

Fear Zone

Fear can hold us back, but you can also use it to your advantage. You just need to know where to start.

Learning Zone

Knowledge is power. This is where you use it to master your money.

Learning Zone Video

Growth Zone

This is the sweet spot of success... but be careful not to hang around here too long.

Growth Zone Video

How to get in the right zone and manage
your money

Kara Gammell Kara Gammell Editor, Meerkat Your Life If you want to master your money mindset the best place to start is to ask yourself what you want to achieve and why. Once you’re clear on your goal you can identify your current zone and then plan the right route to get there. How you go about it will vary depending on where you start.
Comfort Zone

The Comfort Zone exists for a reason, it helps us feel settled and safe, but it can also hold us back from doing the simple money tasks that would put more cash in our pocket.

Tip: The best way to move positively out of your Comfort Zone just start small and make a first move. Remember, you don’t need to think about it all at once. Lots of small steps will get you where you want to go.

Fear Zone

The Fear Zone is where we go when we recognise we need to do something. It can feel scary but it’s the first step in the right direction.

Tip: If you are in the Fear Zone think about what’s causing any money anxiety and why you are feeling it then make a plan. Write the plan down – just like you wouldn't go on a road trip without planning your journey, make sure you have a clear view of what you want to achieve with your cash, and how you’re going to do it. Writing down a plan can feel really good! But always be realistic with your goals – if you aim too high too fast you’ll struggle to stick with it.  You can always set bigger goals once you’ve got moving.

Learning Zone

The Learning Zone is where we battle our fears and start real progress. It doesn’t have to be hard work either, you just have to have an open mind. But don’t get distracted. Keep your money plan in mind to keep you focused.

Tip: Find friends or relatives who are great at managing their money and discuss your goals and ask for advice on any blockers you're facing. Sharing a problem can often help you work out a solution yourself.

Growth Zone

When we really get things moving we’re in the Growth Zone. This is the place where we really start to make a difference.

Tip: When you're getting things done, don’t rest on your laurels. When you are successfully in the Growth Zone, it's all too easy for it to become a Comfort Zone because you lose momentum. Remember, to keep moving forward.

Getting you in the
right zone, right now!