As nice as a spa day, vacation, or hot yoga class is, sometimes the best form of self-care doesn’t cost anything at all. In fact, you can practice financial self-care and grow your wealth.
Financial self-care involves taking the steps to avoid financial stress and meet financial goals. Given that 73% of Americans say money is their number-one stressor in life, practicing financial self-care and minimizing money worries can be a very good thing. It might even feel better than a massage.
But what exactly does financial self-care mean and how do you do it? Read on to find out the answer, as well as learn nine money moves to make now.
What Is Financial Self-Care?
Financial self-care is a form of self-care that focuses on financial wellness. Essentially, instead of more traditional self-care activities (like getting massages or enjoying dinners out), you find the best way to manage your finances and improve your financial situation. This may not sound fun, but worrying about debt, paying the bills, and falling short of savings goals can all lead to a lot of stress that can be draining both physically and mentally. Self-care and money can go hand in hand.
Here’s another perk: Once you get your financial life under control, you’ll have more money to put towards the more exciting areas of self-care. Whether that means finally splurging on that cleaning service or a new puppy is up to you.
Tips for Practicing Financial Self-Care
Self-care and money can combine in the pursuit of financial self-care. Here are some strategies that make it easy to incorporate this form of self-care into daily life.
Creating Realistic Financial Goals
To make strides in the area of financial self-care, it’s important to set reasonable goals. That way, you can make progress and feel a positive boost when you finally do reach a goal. Here’s an example: Paying off your student debt in a single year would be hard even on a high salary. Instead, having a goal of paying off your highest-interest debt (perhaps a credit card balance) in a year is likely more obtainable. Look at your income versus your monthly necessary expenses (the “musts” in your life), and see if you can begin funneling some of the funds left over after bill-paying towards your debt.
Tracking Your Expenses Daily
Impulse spending can feel good in the moment, but it can do a lot of harm. You can be more mindful about your spending by reviewing your personal finances daily, focusing on where your cash was spent. You may not realize just how much money flows away from you on a typical day. Expense tracking will reveal that. On days that you don’t spend much or anything at all, give yourself a big pat on the back. You’ve just taken care of yourself financially by adding to your wealth.
Checking Your Banking Accounts Frequently
Good cash management is an important part of hitting your financial goals. Alongside tracking your daily spending, it can be helpful to check bank account balances daily or at least a couple of times a week. You’ll see where you stand financially and won’t be caught unaware by a low balance. This process will also give you a deeper look at how any automatic bill payments are impacting your cash flow.
After all, most of us don’t see the money we earn or spend in cold hard cash, so it can feel less tangible. When you know exactly where you stand financially, it can empower you and help better inform your purchasing decisions.
Making Any Needed Changes to Budgets
After keeping an eye on spending habits and account balances, it’s a good idea to review your monthly budget goals and see how you’re doing. Perhaps you put a reminder in your calendar to do a quick check-in on the last day of every month and see how things look. Maybe eating lunch out on weekdays has made it hard to stick to your food budget for the month. Perhaps having too many subscription services left no wiggle room in the entertainment section of the budget.
The end of the month is the perfect time to reevaluate spending habits, to see where you can cut back on spending, and to figure out how to increase savings.
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Focusing On Getting Rid of Debt
Debt is likely part of your life, but it can also cause a lot of worry. Thanks to interest charges, debt can mount and be hard to pay off. It’s not a fun cycle. So when you have some extra money, sure, you might spend it on a new outfit or a weekend getaway and lift your spirits that way. Or you could pay down your debt instead.
By prioritizing debt, you’d be a step closer to eliminating some money stress from your life. Getting rid of debt can be a key aspect of financial self-care and can boost your peace of mind.
Improving Your Mindset on Money
Self-care has just as much to do with our mental health as our physical health. Feeling negative about money can really drag a person down. That’s why it can be helpful to focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have.
If you are feeling as if you can’t compete with other people’s lifestyles, it may be that your comparison framework is skewed. It may be beneficial to delete social media (or unfollow certain luxury accounts), stop watching reality T.V., or to skip hanging out with that friend who earns and spends big.
Recognizing what your money can do for you rather than feeling deprived is an important step. It can be a very empowering mindset to adopt.
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Improving Financial Literacy
Money can be intimidating in part because most of us lack a basic financial education. While you may not have learned about money management in school, you can teach yourselves the financial basics and beyond. Knowledge is power, after all.
From learning about how credit scores work to the investing basics, take some time to read up on the financial topics that seem confusing. Also look into apps that help you with budgeting, saving, and tracking your spending. These tools can be part of financial self-care, helping to boost your financial literacy and wealth.
Visualizing Retirement and Investing in It
Financial self-care means taking care of today’s and tomorrow’s needs. Retirement can seem like a distant concept, so try picturing your future self at retirement age and how you’d want to live then. That way, you may feel more motivated to save even though retirement is far away. Look at your budget again to see if there is room to improve your retirement savings. Even saving an extra 1% a month can make a major impact.
Money is a tool and a very valuable one at that. Embracing financial self-care means recognizing that money isn’t just about buying things. That may be the easy and fun part, but saving and investing it is what really makes the most of your cash. Educating yourself on investing or seeking professional advice can help you harness the full power of the money you make. It’s a force to be reckoned with; respecting its importance can help you achieve your financial and lifestyle goals.
Why Financial Self-Care Is Important
Financial self-care is equally important, if not more so, than more traditional forms of self-care like heading to the spa or taking a personal day off of work. When you prioritize financial self-care, you can reduce money stress and move closer to your short- and long-term goals.
Banking With SoFi
Financial self-care can help you reduce money stress and make the most of what you earn. Being smart about your cash and helping it grow can unlock the good things in life today and in the future. Try practicing some financial self-care ideas, and see if you don’t feel more in control of your money and less stressed about it.
The right bank can also help boost your finances. For instance, you can bank smarter with SoFi. When you open an online bank account with direct deposit, you’ll earn an excellent 2.00% APY and pay no account fees, plus have access to more than 55,000 fee-free Allpoint Network ATMs. Higher interest and no fees mean your money could grow that much faster.
Bank better with SoFi.
Why is financial self-care important?
Financial self-care can help eliminate financial stress from your life. Specifically, prioritizing financial self-care can make it easier to reach financial goals like paying down debt or saving for retirement.
How do you take care of yourself and your money?
Budgeting, focusing on debt repayment, and setting clear savings goals are all great ways to take care of yourself and your money. Not having to worry about debt or overdue bills are other benefits of financial self-care.
How do I respect my money?
Respecting money involves not wasting it and instead looking for ways to make the most of it. Being mindful about purchases, sticking to savings goals, and not taking on high-interest debt are all ways someone can respect their money.
Photo credit: iStock/hatman12
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