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Healthy Money Mindset

6 Tips for a Healthy Money Mindset

It’s May, and with it comes warmer weather and a sense of renewal and growth. It’s also Mental Health Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to focus on an often overlooked source of stress—your finances. Let’s look at some ways you can start feeling better about your financial health.

  1. Talk to Someone
    Talk to someone you trust, whether it’s a friend, loved one, or professional. Letting another person know how you’re feeling about your finances will relieve some of the pressure and help you feel like you are not alone.

    Most Americans experience some type of financial stress periodically throughout their lives. So, chances are, your feelings and financial situation are not uncommon. Hearing how a friend dealt with the same issue or simply just having someone listen to you without judgment is incredibly healing.
     
    Members have exclusive access to a team of certificated Money Coaches who offer guidance tailored to you in an accepting and comfortable environment, in person or on a video/phone chat.
     
  2. Take a Complete Picture of Your Spending
    This is a great first step when you start to look at your finances. It will allow you to identify improvement areas and alleviate some financial anxiety. Start by writing down your income, debt, and all of your spending for a month. This might sound daunting, but you’ll be surprised by what you can learn about your spending habits and what contributes to your stress.

    Tip: See if your financial institution has budgeting tools in their online banking or mobile app. Use these to identify recurring expenses and see a breakdown of where your money is going.

    During this exercise, don’t judge yourself or try to analyze your spending habits. We’ll take a closer look at your spending in tip #4. Having a realistic understanding of where your finances stand is the first step to making the change you’d like to see.
     
  3. Money Mindfulness
    Knowing your values and what truly makes you happy helps you make confident financial decisions and reduces stress from finances.

    To get a better idea of your financial goals, ask yourself the following questions and record your answers somewhere you can look back at in the future.
     
    • What makes you happy? Don’t list what you think makes others happy. Instead, think of times you smiled and laughed a lot or when you felt most at peace, for example.
    • Are experiences or items more meaningful to you? Like most people, you probably enjoy both in different circumstances, but which makes you happy more often than not? For example, do you find yourself happier after spending money on seeing your favorite band or buying that new home sound system you’ve had your eye on? Each can give you a different sense of happiness, but which is more meaningful to you?
    • What are your financial goals, and what feeling(s) do you want to gain from achieving those goals?
       
    These goals can be as small or as big as you want. For example, you may want to buy a new car by the end of the year. Right now, you may feel like you can’t do the things you would like to do because your car isn’t reliable and it’s not big enough for your friends or family. A new car might make you feel accomplished, reliable, or more adventurous.

    Identifying the feeling(s) you want to have when you reach a goal is a useful measurement and prioritization tool. It’s ok if you feel differently than you expected, it’s a learning process.
     
  4. Analyze Your Spending
    Now that you have an idea of what makes you happy, revisit your expense tracking from step #2. Create two lists labeled “Needs” and “Wants,” and place all of the expenses you tracked for the month under one of these categories.

    Now, look at the purchases in the “Wants” category and ask yourself these questions:
     
    • How does this expense align with what makes me happy?
    • Is it contributing to one of my financial goals?
    • What was I feeling when I made the purchase? For example, were you feeling stressed before you purchased an expensive pair of shoes? Do you feel the same now?
       
    This is the time to understand your spending habits and analyze where you can cut out things that don’t make you happy or help you achieve your goals.

    You can also take this time to look at your “Needs” category to see if there are areas where you can cut back, like switching to a basic cell phone or WiFi plan.
     
  5. Make a Plan
    No matter how big or small your plan is, having one will give you something to work towards and can relieve some stress. Whether you plan to no longer buy coffee from a café and instead make coffee at home or put invest for retirement, having a purpose to your spending boosts your confidence and brings you closer to your goals.

    If you’re unsure about how to create a plan and would like help, make an appointment with our certificated Money Coaches. You can also use free resources offered to you by your community or financial institution, like webinars, workshops, or speaking with a professional.
     
  6. Manage Your Overall Mental Health1
    Financial issues may not be the only things contributing to your stress levels, so it’s important to do things that will improve your overall mental health.
     
    • Make sure you get enough sleep and have a healthy diet.
    • Move your body for at least 30 minutes a day, even if you break it up into 10-minute periods.
    • Practice a relaxation technique that works for you, like meditation, yoga, or breathing exercises.

1 https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/coping-with-financial-stress.htm

 

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