Money is definitely a source of stress for many people. The American Psychological Association conducted a Stress in America Survey in 2017 and found that 62% of the participants experienced stress that was directly connected to money matters. In fact, financial stress was only surpassed by concerns expressed about the future of the country. That gives you an idea of how important it is to achieve and maintain control of your finances. Here are some tips that will help.
Keep a Spending Journal
Keep a spending journal for a month. Every penny spent is recorded in that journal. Even something as simple as buying a cup of coffee in the break room at work is documented in that journal.
At the end of the month, segregate each of your expenditures into groups. How much are you spending for basics like food, clothing, and shelter? How much of your income is going for eating meals out, snacks from vending machines, and other incidentals? If you are like most people, you’re spending more on certain types of purchases than expected.
Freshen the Budget
A budget is not just about allocating funds for essentials. It’s also a way to ensure you make wise choices that free funds for recreational and other fun pursuits. That will likely mean making reductions in some areas so you can have money to do the things you really enjoy.
Instead of spending so much on fast food every month, plan quick and easy meals at home more often. The money you save could allow you to enjoy a nice night out that includes eating at an upscale restaurant. You still get to enjoy the fruits of your labors and pamper yourself even as you have more money to do the things that really matter.
Consider Compromises and Changes as Good Things
As you restructure your budget, it’s easy to fall into the mindset of thinking about all the things you are denying yourself. Turn that around and consider all the things you will now have money to enjoy. Focus on all the positive things that will result from your new way of taking care of the money and that budget will seem more like a resource and less like a millstone that crimps your style.
Talk is Good
Talking about your new financial approach is a good thing. When someone you trust knows that you plan on eating at home
more and are looking forward to going somewhere nice a few times a month, they may even decide to join you. Think of what fun it will be for you and a group of your friends to each change a habit and be able to have a special night out together once in a while.
Create Short-Term and Long-Term Goals That Are Doable
One of the more common ways people undermine their efforts toward financial self-care is by setting goals that are not practical. By all means, set a goal to deposit a certain amount of money in savings. Make sure it’s an amount you can afford. Getting a little closer each month will help you feel m
ore in control than ever.
Self-Care as a Process and Not an Event
Financial self-care is not something you achieve and then consider it done. It’s a process. Developing positive habits will help, but be prepared to review your way of doing things regularly. Monthly is not too often. This helps you correct little things that could derail your efforts as well as inspire new ways to make your financial life even better.
Financial self-care starts with you and your choices. Give it serious attention, set goals, and identify ways to work toward them. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better things are in a couple of months.