Did you know your financial health is linked to your overall health and wellness? To cultivate a balanced life, financial health must be considered. Building a healthy financial future starts with learning good financial management habits that support your lifestyle and long term financial goals.
When you think about growing your financial fortune, what feelings come up for you? Are you eager to jump right in or do you immediately get a pit in your stomach and think you’ll never have enough money to invest and grow? Do you have good financial management habits? Does thinking about money make you feel stressed?
If so, you’re not alone. Most of us are not taught the basics of personal finance, or good financial management habits. We go through life just hoping for the best. The good news is learning basic skills and good financial management habits can be fairly simple. And, it feels good to create a framework for how you spend/save your money.
1. High blood pressure. Be sure to move each day: a walk, yoga flow, endurance training, a run or walk outside.
2. Muscle tension. Get a massage or take an Epsom salt bath to ease chronically stiff muscles.
4. Poor quality sleep. Establish a soothing nighttime ritual to prep the mind-body for restorative sleep. Create a morning routine to set your day up for success.
5. Digestive issues. Add probiotics into your diet to support a healthy, diverse gut flora. Rule out any food sensitivities.
6. Increased levels of depression and anxiety. Gratitude journaling, mantras and healthy connection with others can ease depression and anxiety. * Seek professional therapeutic help if symptoms become unmanageable*
7. Shame. Know you’re not alone. 80% of Americans are in debt. Focus on positive steps you can start taking today to improve your financial health. Reading this article is a great first step!
The first step in creating good financial management habits is to focus on your Mindset.
Improving financial wellness begins with your mindset. When it comes to money, people tend to have one of two mindsets: scarcity or abundance. Abundance is rooted in feelings of plenty and scarcity is rooted in feelings of lack. Take some time to explore your money mindset.
Spend some time reflecting on your money mindset by making a list of areas where you experience financial scarcity and abundance. You might feel abundant when you get a massage or donate to a charitable organization. You may experience feelings of scarcity when you think about paying off debt or making a big purchase. Brainstorm in your journal as many examples as you can to pinpoint where feelings of scarcity and abundance show up. Get curious about why. Good financial management habits are rooted in an abundant mindset.
Revisit your list from time to time and look at your reflections with fresh eyes.
1. Track your spending. It’s important to know where your money is going, when you’re spending it and where you can save. You can track your spending in apps like Mint, an excel spreadsheet or a spiral notebook. You may be surprised by how much you spend on eating out, or you may underestimate your commuting expenses. Good financial management habits start with knowing where your money is going.
2. Create a budget. Each year, quarter, month or week have a framework of spending and savings. Consider a ratio for spending of 50% needs, 30% wants, and 20% savings. A simple way to keep a budget is with an electronic spreadsheet. You can find free templates from Microsoft Excel and Google. Also, many banks offer online tools and some even connect to your bank accounts. The key is to find a way that works for you and your busy lifestyle.
3. Set limits on spending. If you have an upcoming vacation scheduled or holiday gift buying on the horizon, set limits on spending ahead of time. Good financial management habits are rooted in knowing your limits. Consider your current budget, and overall financial picture and determine the amount that best fits your goals and resources. Communicate this to others in advance. Setting clear boundaries around your spending supports your financial health and is actually an important act of self-care.
4. Pay down credit card debt. If you have credit card debt, use your cash to pay it down. Often credit cards carry a highest interest expense and should be the first debt to get paid off. Use this general rule of thumb. If your debt is less than $5,000, add an extra $50 per month to your minimum monthly payment. If your debt is between $5,000 and $10,000, add an extra $100 per month. If it’s over $10,000, add an extra $150 per month. Depending on your resources, you could certainly pay more each month to reduce the debt load.
5. Spread “extra” money across your savings buckets. Consider these three main savings buckets: emergency fund, nearer term needs, and retirement savings. Think about increasing your emergency fund beyond $2,000 and put one-third of your “extra” money there. Then put another third toward nearer-term needs (continuing education or a down payment for a car) and the rest toward retirement savings (401(k) or an IRA).
6. Establish an emergency fund of at least $2,000. It is recommended to have three to six months of income in an emergency fund. As the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us, unforeseen events happen. No need to feel overwhelmed, start with a goal of $2,000 or $6,000 if that’s more manageable. Knowing you are prepared for an emergency will give you immeasurable peace of mind.
7. No impulse shopping. Impulse buying is quite common. We live in a society that is constantly marketing and advertising to us to buy the next best thing. To maintain financial health and good financial management habits, it’s important to refrain from impulse shopping. A good strategy is to wait 3 weeks before buying something. This is especially important for big purchases that fall under the “want” column in your budget. You can also try a quick calculation of how many working hours, deals or clients it would take to buy the item you want.
8. Set S.M.A.R.T. financial goals. And stick with them. Setting financial goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely will set you up for success. Such goals can be set on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly or even 30 years out (for retirement and investments). This practice clarifies your goals, holds you accountable and is a good financial management habit.
9. Know your credit report. It’s important to know your credit score and to check it annually (at least) to be sure it accurately reflects your financial picture. The three major credit agencies in the U.S., Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, are required by law to provide you with one free report per year. Take advantage of this and keep up with your credit report.
10. Plan rewards in advance. It’s important to reward yourself when you achieve a goal. To honor your commitment and follow through for your financial goals. Plan for this in advance, in your budget. Knowing you have a reward on the horizon is a great source of motivation and inspiration. Plan a weekend retreat, or a spa day. Buy that necklace or designer jacket you’ve had your eye on. Just be sure to include the cost in your calculations.
Good financial management habits and financial health are achievable with a little planning and a lot of commitment. Investing in your financial health is an investment in your overall health and wellness.
You deserve to feel your best!
Do you want to dive deeper to improve your financial health and overall wellness? Do you need customized support and accountability to make the changes you crave in your life? Book a virtual coaching call with me and let’s get started!
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Ashley Logan is a Certified Integrative Health Coach, writer and workshop facilitator who helps women create actionable strategies that support physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness for optimal health.
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