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When it comes to financial health, the journey is a lifelong one. I like to think about it as tending a garden or taking a cross country road trip.
When tackling a long-term goal, it is important to enjoy the process. Basking in the garden on a summer night after the rain. Stopping to see the Grand Canyon because it’s on the way. These moments on the journey are just as important as the destination.
Some people roll their eyes at the term ‘self-care,’ but look past marketing and think about what it means to really take care of yourself. It is a necessary and powerful thing. As with all aspects of life, this looks different for everybody.
A huge part of financial health is self-care. Paying off debt is hard, saving money can feel impossible at times. These tips won’t fix your money problems, but they are ways I’ve learned to practice meaningful financial self-care.
1. WORK WITH A TRAINER AT THE FINANCIAL GYM
This is number one on the list because it was the best decision I ever made. This blog and my current life coaching career wouldn’t be here without the gym.
Part of the process with a trainer will incorporate some of these other list items.
I know not everyone wants to work a pro or are looking for a refresh.
Working with a trainer is only one aspect of my financial health.
She is a great accountability partner, but the work is still all on me.
If you're ready to work with a trainer, use MY LINK to book a free warm-up call.
2. PRACTICE VALUES BASED SPENDING
Frugality is a tool in my personal finance toolbelt, but you can’t cut costs all the way to financial independence. For me, the gap between my earning and spending was keeping me in debt. Intentional spending is one of the swiftest ways to take action when starting out.
Values based spending is spending money on what you value and cutting costs in areas that aren't as meaningful. Everything can’t be the most important when you practice this kind of spending. I recommend picking 1-3 non-negotiables outside of your necessities.
If you want to read more in depth about values based spending, I highly recommend this article on Personal Capital's blog by Tori Dunlap. She goes into great detail and shares her personal spending categories.
3. HAVE MONEY DATES & BE REAL
In the past, my debt felt overwhelming. I knew there was a lot, so I never bothered to calculate my net worth. For a budget, I’d add up numbers on paper and hope my income covered everything I needed that month.
These money dates were better than nothing, but the ones I have now are much more productive.
Instead of being afraid of what’s happening with my money, I track it with confidence. Instead of feeling inadequate for not having more money, my focus on using what I have efficiently. Even if I don't love my numbers, I am real with myself.
Logistically money dates for me look like:
QUICKIE (Every three days or so)
Quickly check account balances
Scan all charges are confirm & I did them
Update personal & business spreadsheets
Ensure there is enough money in each account to cover automated charges
Take note of any money owed to me by roommates or Mr. Kristen
Glance at statements from all spending
Categorize / add anything missed
Manually track consumer debt payoff progress and reflect on the month
Optional phone check-in's with my trainer
I do this with my trainer in person at The Financial Gym!
Personal finance, saving for retirement, or cutting costs may feel like boring, unsexy tasks, but I try to make it fun. Why not? I have to do them anyway.
4. MAKE IT FUN
Whether you participate in a no-spend challenge, make Chopped style dinner with food in the kitchen, or start a blog to document your journey, there are many ways to make money fun!
There are folks online completely transparent with their numbers. This inspired me to do the same with those in my Patreon community.
Real progress began once I started sharing month to month with an audience.
Each credit card has a fun name and in addition to the numbers, I share a bit of reflection.
5. ALLOW YOURSELF TO BUY SHIT YOU LIKE (PUT IT IN THE PLAN)
This falls under values based spending, but is an important solo point.
As someone who is new to saving money, I’m still not used to having it. This makes it hard for me to spend at times, even if it is saved for a specific item.
I share an apartment with two women and four cats. With more cats than humans, you can imagine the hair. After seeing Mesha from @refillingmywallet on Instagram save for a Peloton bike, I decided to start saving for a Dyson vacuum. Seeing someone else on a
debt payoff journey save for a big purchase gave me permission to do the same.
I saved for months while trying to improve my overall cleaning habits. I wanted a space worthy of such a great vacuum. Funny enough, Mesha shared about a cleaning method that I adopted and works well for me.
After saving the money and even picking out the model I wanted, it took me WEEKS to finally buy the vacuum. The constant thoughts about using the cash for debt or letting it sit pretty in savings were keeping me from buying it.
Some crazy confidence struck and I went to the Dyson store in person one day. This is a very Mesha move, so I messaged her before anyone else. During the months of saving, I'd shared progress with her and she cheered me on the whole way. She shared in my excitement and congratulated me when I sent pictures from the Dyson store. It was very special to have that encouragement.
Your journey is personal, so be inspired by others instead of comparing milestones. The journey is long, but can be fun and beautiful if you put in the work.
Where are you on your personal finance journey?
Let me know in the comments some ways you like to practice financial self-care.