We are three months into our WELLth series, and I hope it’s going well!! Even though we use money on a daily basis, financial self-care is one we might overlook. Perhaps it’s because it’s seen as taboo to talk about. Financial self-care requires setting boundaries with ourselves, and let’s be real, that can be hard. I’ll share the 30-day challenge that kickstarted my financial health journey and some basics to focus on.
I remember listening to a podcast that discussed a 30-day money fast. The concept is to spend NO money for 30 days, except for necessities like rent, groceries, and utilities. I wasn’t at all for trying it, but I decided to give it a go. I soon realized that this was not only saving me money, but it had me analyzing my mindset and relationship with money. I chose to become serious about my budget and eventually started thinking about my financial goals.
Choosing a money mindset is the place to start. Consider for a moment what your beliefs and attitude are around money? Is your mindset in the right place? The mindset you have is important because it determines how you handle your money. If you have a scarcity mindset, here are some ways to shift your money mindset from scarcity to abundance.
We hear it all the time: budget your money! Different methods of budgeting exist and can become overwhelming when trying to find the one that works for you. A popular method is the 50/30/20 approach: 50% of your income is spent on needs, 30% is spent on wants, and 20% is spent on debt and savings. The most important thing here is finding the framework that works for you so you can stick with it. Participating in the challenge helped me realize how much impulse spending I indulged in —that daily pick-me-up coffee —you know what I’m talking about.
Once you have a good grasp on budgeting, you can focus on building an emergency fund. Ideally, you want to save between 3-6 months’ worth of your take-home-pay. Emergency funds are crucial in situations like suddenly losing a job or a medical emergency. Having an emergency fund is actually a huge safeguard from accumulating debt, because you don’t have to turn to credit cards or personal loans to pay for unexpected expenses.
Paying off Debt
Get a clear picture of how much debt you owe and create a game plan to pay it off. Timelines are important. How soon do you want to pay off your debt? Does one type of debt take priority over the other? You might have to push yourself a little bit to pay off debt by canceling subscriptions or giving up some of your entertainment spending to meet your debt pay off goals. Auto-pay is your friend. It’s a free tool that helps you avoid late fees. Sometimes you might even save money off of a bill by signing up for auto-pay! Of course, regularly check your accounts to make sure there aren’t any payment errors. Paying your bills on time also helps your credit score.
Create financial goals to keep you motivated. One of my financial goals includes saving up for a vacation when it’s Covid safe. Your goals could be weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually but the key is that they keep you focused and moving forward. A lot of financial self-care is focused on budgeting and saving, but increasing income is important in meeting your financial goals as well. You might find yourself needing an extra stream of income to meet your financial goals.