How to Integrate Financial Wellness into Your Self-Care Routine
This is a sponsored post from guest blogger Les Alfred from www.balancedblackgirl.com.
Self-care is the practice of taking care of one's overall health and well-being, and is especially important during times of high stress. According to the American Psychological Association, finances are the number one stressor for Americans.
What better way to help relieve stress than to actively take charge of your financial future?
When I stopped seeing managing my finances as a chore and started viewing it as a necessary part of my self-care routine, my relationship with money transformed and I became more empowered to build a stronger financial future. Here are some of my favorite practices for managing my financial self-care:
Consult financial experts
First, it is important to know where you are financially. Last year, I participated in a free Financial Health Check with BECU and the experience transformed my relationship with money. During the one-on-one session, I met with a Financial Health Check Specialist by phone to review my monthly budget, financial goals and debt history. The specialist was incredibly knowledgeable and helped me strategize ways to maximize my savings by implementing practices such as automatically transferring funds from checking to savings on a regular basis, and naming my accounts for easier budgeting. Although the session itself only took about 45 minutes, it created a solid foundation for the rest of my financial self-care routine.
Going through your finances at a high level at least once a year will help you create an effective budgeting strategy that you can carry with you year-round. Now is a perfect time to schedule your Financial Health Check. If you're a BECU member, I highly recommend stopping by your local BECU Neighborhood Financial Center or scheduling a Financial Health Check online.
Be intentional with money
Just like exercise helps strengthen your body, practicing financial self-care strengthens your relationship with money.
Have you ever had moments where you were less-than-intentional with your finances? I know I have, and during those times, I usually spent more than I would have liked. However, when I am intentional with how I spend and think about my money, financial self-care feels more doable and enjoyable.
For me, being intentional with my money means thinking critically before spending on discretionary items when I can. I focus on making one financial decision at a time and do my best to ensure each decision supports my current and long-term needs. Being intentional with my money also means visualizing what I would like my future to look like and mapping this out with my current financial choices.
Schedule weekly financial check-ins
You can't improve what you don't track, and I've found checking in with my finances regularly to be a therapeutic practice that allows me to save and spend with confidence because I know where I am financially. Every Friday I like to do a weekly financial check-in. I schedule a recurring time every week to go through Money Manager and review my checking and savings accounts to track and categorize my expenses, and ensure I'm on par with my budget and savings goals. Maintaining a close eye has helped me keep spending in check and has even helped with my debt repayment and savings goals. If I have extra money leftover, I will often allocate the funds to savings or will add it onto student loan payments.
To make the process more enjoyable, I like to make it a ritual. I'll make a cup of tea and turn on a playlist before sitting down. This helps me create a more positive experience overall and has helped my weekly financial check-ins become a positive habit. Doing so has been a huge step in helping me work towards my long-term financial goals and has improved my money mindset.
Just like having a fitness, nutrition, or skincare routine, taking care of your finances can help reduce stress and improve your quality of life. Try incorporating some of these tips into your self-care routine and let us know how it goes!
Les is a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and podcast host. On her website and podcast Balanced Black Girl, she shares wellness content and advice from diverse perspectives, with the hopes of making wellness feel more inclusive and accessible. Learn more at www.balancedblackgirl.com.