More than half of American view money as a source of stress. I get it, the struggle is real. The more attention and care you give your finances, the more financially intelligent you become. Financial self-care is about behaving with and experiencing money in a more optimal and fulfilling way.
Your money mindset probably emerged early on in life. Let’s start there. What did your parents teach you about money? Were you taught to save? Was money the root of all evil? These lessons are instilled upon you and sometimes they’re not good practices. If your parents taught you to invest, that money comes and goes easily in life, great, you can skip the rest of this paragraph. Chances are though, for the majority of people, that’s not the case. There is such thing as the scarcity mindset, that there is never enough money. With that comes speech like “I can’t afford this” or “I don’t have enough for that”. I’m over it! Be very careful what you say. You are the creator of your own reality, things are spoken into existence. When you say you can’t do something it shuts the brain down, why even try. When you reframe your speech into saying things like “how can I afford this” the brain still start to come up with ideas. I bet if you become aware of the way you speak about money, you may be surprised by what you hear. Give yourself a mantra like “money flows freely to me”. Switch your thinking into a land of abundance, call that abundance to you. Notice and be grateful for what you have. Focus on that. Don’t hate on money, start loving it up. I think of money as energy. When you switch the word money with energy you can hear how silly statements sound. “Energy is the root of all evil”, no, not even close.
Start a relationship with money. I can already hear the groans, “ahhh I’m not into that.” If that’s the case, I’m talking to you. What’s actually happening with your money? Do you even know how you having it working for you? Some people will do their banking just by intuition, “it feels like I have enough in my bank account for this pair of shoes”. Not a great plan. Just sit with your money, become curious. Maybe even read a book, listen to a podcast or take a course about it. This topic is not typically taught in school. You will need to take it upon yourself to learn. Start a budget. What expenses can be eliminated? How much did you actually spend on beer last month? People can stress when there is no need to, because the money is there. If there is a huge reason to be stressed about money, just face the music. Dive into the nitty-gritty, it won’t feel good at first. Figure out what the problem is, then focus on the solutions to fix it. Please don’t just wallow in it. Action steps people! Put more thought into every dollar you spent. Make that money work for you. Look at the bigger picture instead of making moment to moment decisions with money.
Smart goal planning, setting and achieving your goals. After you review your money, you can shift your spending into being more in line with your goals. S.M.A.R.T goals are:
Specific: The more specific your goal, the easier it is to understand what you need to achieve
Measurable: Has a very clear definition of success. By setting a dollar amount to your goals, you have a built-in way of measuring your progress. Something that’s tangible to work towards.
Attainable: Your goals should be challenging but not too extreme. Make it within reach.
Realistic: Choose a goal that matters and is relevant to your current situation. Take all factors into account.
Time-sensitive: Set a specific time frame. This is intended to establish a sense of urgency.
SMART goal planning is not just limited to money. It is for all the goals you set in your life. This will be an ongoing process.
Make more money. How can I do that?
Look for a better job. If you’re happy at your job, great, a raise maybe. It doesn’t hurt to see what else is out there. Start a side hustle. I’m all about finding ways to make money in your free time. What can you do today to make $100? You could sell some stuff, become a pet sitter, tutor or driver. There are a ton of websites out there that will pay you for all sorts of things. Invest but do your research first. You don’t need a ton of money to invest in mutual funds, REITs or your retirement. Get creative.
Spend less. How can I do that?You can find a million articles about how you can save money. Google it, find some great information and put it into practice. The technique that is resonating with me today is to only buy things I LOVE or that is useful (because everybody needs dish soap and toilet paper). First, I had to rid my house of all the things that didn’t bring me joy, that’s no easy feat. Reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo opened by eyes. Don’t buy those cheap plastic toys for your kids that are going to break in a few days. Buy less and when you do make a purchase, make it count. When you spend money, you’re using your power.
There’s lots of tools to help you on your money journey. If you’re an entrepreneur you may need more systems in place to help you manage your money. FreshBooks is great for sending invoices, managing receipts, expenses and so much more. Maybe it’s time to hire a financial adviser. YNAB (You Need A Budget) is a great budgeting software. Mint is a free app to help keep you in the loop with your finances. Check your credit score for free with Credit Karma or Credit Sesame. Put some of your time and effort into becoming comfortable with money. This means talking about it too. Don’t get all meek and weird about it. It gets easier. You’re not expected to know all of the things. If you don’t know, learn. “If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration” -Nikola Tesla
What are some money habits you have in place that make you feel like a boss?