Over the last decade, our society has recognized the value of regular self-care and the overall impact it has on our mental state, emotions, and physical health. On the other hand, many of us are still neglecting to consider the implications that financial strain can have on our health and wellbeing. We tend to ignore financial stress or place it on the back burner, assuming we will be better equipped to take care of it in the future. The irony of the situation is that the more control we have over our money, the more freedom we’ll have in the present—and security we will have in the future. Rather than relying on our future selves to handle our financial difficulties, developing a routine to align our finances with our current goals will help improve overall stress levels and set us up for a successful year.
Get in Touch with Your Spending Habits
One of the best ways to maintain better control over your finances is to understand where you spend the majority of your money. It can be difficult to admit to yourself how much money you actually spend on certain things, some of which you might even feel guilty for. Rather than completely ignoring your spending habits, recognize what you splurge on regularly and allow that to help you budget and plan for these purchases when appropriate. What is more dangerous is recklessly or emotionally overspending—and ignoring any potential consequences. To get a general idea of where your money is escaping to, try using an online spending habits calculator or start a list that includes all your major purchases for a few weeks. Once you have this information, you can use it to better determine where you can cut back, what expenses you can eliminate altogether, and locate any necessary monthly expenses.
Utilize a Budgeting Strategy
Budgeting is an extremely important and beneficial practice, especially if you feel like you’re someone who has trouble saving money or constantly overspends on credit cards. Budgeting will allow you to organize your money and allocate your funds towards different things each month. This will help ensure you have enough money each month for the essentials and non-negotiables, while providing you with a hard number for extra allowances. Budgeting shouldn’t feel intimidating or scary, but rather should provide you with the freedom of knowing you have your needs met. Now you can feel good about spending money at the mall or on a social outing if you’ve already budgeted for it.
To get started, set aside time each month to create a basic budget and continue to assess your finances at the end of each week to ensure you’re following your plan. We all know unexpected life situations happen and you might end up having to pay for something you didn’t plan for. Consider building out an emergency fund as a backup plan that will cover the costs of a situation you didn’t anticipate. Your budget will help support these types of situations rather than snowballing you into further financial stress and debt.
Track Your Income
Tracking your finances carefully can help you maintain a healthy financial state, which can ultimately minimize your overall stress and wellbeing. Paying attention to your income is another important aspect of the process, especially if you’re someone who doesn’t have a salary-based income. Your income should be in alignment with your budget, meaning you should never be spending money that you do not have.
Understanding how much money is actually going into your bank account each week or month is key to structuring an accurate budget plan. Some mobile banks service their members in a way that allows them to get their paychecks up to two days earlier than traditional banks. This is beneficial for times when you are in more of a pinch for money, such as during the holidays or if you’ve recently invested in a larger purchase and do not want to overspend on a credit card. In this case, make sure that your paycheck will cover the expenses and you will not be just pushing debt into the following month.
Invest in Your Goals
Just as you allocate money for your monthly expenses, you should also be setting aside money for investments in yourself and your future. Even if it’s a small amount, you don’t want to just break even if you can help it. Consider your future and some things you would like to do which will require you to have money saved. Although living in the present is a good general practice, it’s recommended that you plan for the future since it will be here before you know it. If you desire to travel abroad, start grad school, or move to a different state, these all require an investment of time and money. Don’t be afraid to set a big goal for yourself this year. Plan to set aside money for this goal which will keep you inspired and motivated even when it seems out of reach.
Schedule an Annual Insurance Check-Up
There are many considerations to make when applying for any variety of home, health, or auto insurance. It’s necessary to check-up on your payments and plans from year to year to determine if you’re covering your assets to the best of your abilities. Along with that, you want to make sure you’re paying the best price and not wasting money covering something you do not need. You’d be surprised how many people find themselves in trouble because they were uninformed about their coverage. Prices will fluctuate, especially with age, which is why you may want to meet with your provider to review your coverage and premiums.
Invest in Professional Help
You should never hesitate to invest in your future, your health, and your personal growth. A professional financial advisor can review the state of your financial health and provide you with information and suggestions that might relieve any confusion or stress you might be carrying. Getting a second option could be worth the additional effort and might even save you tons of money down the road. There are many free resources and helpful information available online, but if you prefer to meet with a specific advisor one-on-one, you can find one that specializes in budgeting, debt, retirement, or overall personal financial management practices.
The beginning of a new year brings about a spirit of new possibilities, goal setting, and motivation. Rather than falling into the same spiral of emotional spending, debt, taking out loans, and repayment plans—invest in your future self this year! Dedicate time to get organized now, so you can move through this year with more mental ease, financial stability, and high intentions to make your aspirations a reality.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended as a substitute for advice provided by a competent health care professional. You should not use this information in diagnosing or treating a health problem. No claim or opinion in this blog is intended to be, nor should be construed to be, medical advice. If you are now taking any drugs, prescribed or not, or have a medical condition, please consult a competent physician who is aware of herb/drug interactions before taking any herbal supplements. The information presented herein has not been evaluated by the FDA or the Department of Health and is not intended to diagnose, prevent, cure, mitigate or treat any disease or illness.