There’s nothing worse than going out with friends and not feeling confident about your budget or what you should be spending on those drinks. I cannot tell you how many times in my life I got paid, did whatever I wanted and then paid dearly for it later…literally and figuratively.
Why are finances so hard? And more importantly, why does tracking spending and keeping an eye on our bills feel so overwhelming that we just…don’t do it?
When we don’t know where are money is going or why, it makes it feel like we have even less. I mean, it disappeared somehow! But more importantly, not having an awareness about our finances creates stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and feelings of guilt and disappointment about ourselves. Feelings that we don’t have to experience if we have a system in place.
The bad news is that no one seems to make finances fun. In fact, even hearing that word may make you want to go screaming in the other direction. When I hear “finances” I think old men in gray suits, Roth IRAs, and questions like “why haven’t you been putting 10% of your income into a mutual fund?”
Well, Larry from Financial Firm XYZ, maybe I haven’t because finances aren’t fun and I have other things I’m doing, like Netflix…and….I don’t need your judgement right now!
Here’s the thing, though. If we can get real and honest for a second. You’re into your adulthood and while you get to choose how to adult in your own badass way, finances and how you spend your money impact you on a daily basis.
Financial Self-Care is something most people don’t talk about. And I’m not talking about huge long term goals here, even though those are totally important as well. What I’m talking about is how your day-to-day spending and income management effect your mental health and wellbeing.
Girl, you should be able to buy that latte and not feel guilty about it. You don’t have to explain to anyone why you bought those shoes on sale. And for heavens sakes, whether you’re working your tush off, slaying the domestic life at home, or balancing multiple jobs while you work on other passions, you are completely entitled to have fun with your money now and then.
I’m ready to make financial self-care fun.
So where does financial self-care come in? It starts with an awareness of your money, handling your bill pay, and knowing what you need to put aside for bigger things. It also means doing things and finding ways to make everything about spending money and budgeting easier.
When there’s a system and a plan in place, you feel better. What we measure and track improves. Awareness creates mindfulness which leads to happier and healthier decisions and outcomes.
Here are 4 badass (and simple) ways you can practice financial self-care and squash those money stressors that have your stomach tied up in knots. Plus, I created a cute as $%&@ worksheet for you to help you start figuring out your budget so you can download it and keep it all with you on the go.
1) Be Mindful of Your Spending
This may seem obvious but think about how easy it is to get paid, head out to dinner, stop for some wine, hit up the grocery store, fill up the gas tank, and then wonder where $338 went. Debit cards are convenient and have provided us with a lot of simple ways to purchase goods and services but I was definitely a lot more aware of what I was spending when I had to use my checkbook. (Seriously, about 80% of my checks were written out to the pizza place next door to my after school job for breadsticks when I was 16). My point is, that the minute you start writing down or tracking what you’re spending in some way, shape, or form, you’re going to feel better. Sure, it’s another habit to start practicing but it yields a high return (my attempt at a money pun).
2) Set a Plan for Your Grocery Shopping Trips
My Mom always told me to never go grocery shopping hungry. Let’s just say that I didn’t listen at first and then wondered how I ended up with 3 boxes of fudgy mint cookies, Doritos, along with anything and everything that might sound good in my stomach at some point. Food hangovers aside, it never panned out well. Nowadays, I have snacks before shopping trips (or something with a lot of fiber) and make sure to know what I need and stick to my list. This helps me stay within my budget and quite honestly, it feels good leaving the store knowing I wasn’t impulsive and had a plan. Some awesome apps to help you with your shopping trips:
- AnyList – This app is a list that works in real time, meaning that if you have multiple people using it, one of you can cross an item off of the list and it will be removed from everyone’s device. This works out super well when my husband and I aren’t together or can’t communicate. I know that if something’s already been removed, that he’s handled it. You can use this for so many more things besides groceries but that’s what I started using it for and I can’t get enough of it.
- ListEase – A similiar application available for iPhone that allows you to scan barcodes and input items onto a shared list. This would be helpful if you have more particular brands or food items. I haven’t used this one yet but it looks handy.
- KeyRing – As someone who’s lived (and will live) many more places in my lifetime, this app is handy because it allows you to load and store all of your savings cards into one place.
3) Figure out your bills, their due dates, and the minimum payments of any debt you owe
Again, seems obvious, but how many of us have this memorized? Please. And I’m not asking you to, either. Simply having a place where all of this is tracked however, creates a reference tool for you and an easy way to check in when you can’t remember if something is due now or in 3 weeks. For years, I would spend way to much time each month and almost every pay check getting online, trying to remember passwords, hunting down my due dates, internet and cable bills, where that envelope went, and how in the world I was going to stay on top of things without incurring any late fees. It was a stress fest and I even started dreading paychecks because it meant I’d have to figure everything out again. Yuck! Luckily I created a printable cheatsheet in this post for you so you can easily get your list started and feel better knowing there’s only one place you’ll have to go to check on all your due dates and bills.
Pssst….Ready to get everything taken care of now? Get the complete budget system here >>>
4) Set aside money JUST FOR YOU for things that bring you joy!
I really owe most of my financial know-how to my Mom. No matter what I was making throughout the endless jobs I’ve had in my life thus far, she’d always remind me to set aside “fun money.” I’d even argue with her saying things like “I’ll be just fine” or “I won’t even need money for that over the summer, it’s summer!” The truth is, no matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s helpful and a huge form of self-care to set aside money for yourself, to spend on yourself. Whether it’s lattes, $10 at your local craft store, happy hour with the girls, or a monthly subscription box to cute Japanese Kawaii products (what, don’t judge me, I’m obsessed), these things can make you feel taken care of, nurtured, and are a fun way to TREAT YO SELF.