This year for Valentine’s Day, give yourself some love and self-care via attention towards your finances. Here are some how-to ideas.
Your personal finances are likely not the first thing you think of when you hear self-care. Coming out of a year like 2020, self-care is a term that is both over-used, but cannot be overrated. It’s a term that means different things for different people, so I want to add a different perspective here, to what you may consider self-care.
As a personal finances coach, self-love or self-care most definitely must include an aspect of personal finances. Money, after all, is such a big part of our daily lives. Its energy gives us options, freedom, and the capacity not only to provide for ourselves and our families but do a lot of good. Are you now starting to see why being a good steward of our money ties really well into self-love and self-care? It is an essential part of our lives that needs care and attention. When we neglect our finances, we neglect our own self-care.
Make it a Personal Finance Date
One of the best ways I’ve found to work-in self-care around money is to make it a date. This is also known as a money date. Don’t worry, single or in a relationship, money dates can happen with just yourself, or a spouse. And they should be fun! Don’t stop at just one either. Having money dates on a consistent basis gives you dedicated time to really pay attention to all aspects of your financial matters.
To make a money date happen, ensure it gets scheduled on your calendar(s). Weekly money dates are ideal. Semi-weekly or monthly dates can work really well too.
Try to anchor it to another activity or standing appointment as well. It’s really easy to let missing one week slip into another and then another. If you associate a reward with the completion of your money date you can increase your chances of success. For example, every Saturday morning, with your morning coffee you must sit down with your money matters for a set time, and cannot get dressed for the day until you do it! Or, every Wednesday afternoon between standing meetings where you have a floating hour in between where you can drink a favorite beverage during your money date, is perfect.
Sticking with It
Habits can be difficult to form. We wouldn’t have New Year’s resolutions every year we complain about breaking by February if it were easy. Here are 3 pro tips that can help you stick with it. Your personal finances will thank you.
- Make them Brief. Breaking money dates into weekly sessions ensures you focus on just one aspect of your finances, for a brief period of time. If your time is defined and as painless as possible, it is more likely that you will repeat the behavior. Aim for just 30 minutes each week.
- Make it Feel Good. Feeling either intrinsic (internal) or extrinsic (external) rewards, or both is also critical to sticking with the money self-love. For example, when sitting down with your finances, you find that invoices to one particular agency you’ve been billing have not been paid in 3 months! By following up, and catching the error, you have put money back into your pocket. That feels satisfying that you caught the error (intrinsic reward) and having $1,600 more in your bank account than before you noticed the money was missing is reinforcing as well (extrinsic reward).
- Accountability. Whether it is to yourself (some of us are good at this), or a partner, having accountability for your money dates will help you to do them! Accountability partners should be someone who will follow up on your commitment, not let you off the hook, cheer you on, and celebrate your wins. Friends, spouses, family members, co-workers, and children are great potential accountability partners! If you are ready to step it up and want professional support, let’s talk.
What to Do on a Self-Care Money Date?
Once you have money dates on your calendar, you may be wondering about what you actually look at from session to session. Here are some ideas:
What motivates you to get up in the morning? What are you working towards and saving? Does your life today match up with where you want to be? Can you identify just 2 or 3 action steps you can take to move or shift closer to that dream? The deeper you go and more emotion you feel in association with your “why”, the closer you are to what is truly motivating you.
In the words of our newly elected U.S. President Joe Biden,
Don’t tell me what y ou value. Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value.
You can tell a lot about what you value by taking a look at where your money is going. From the investments you have in your portfolio (if you have one yet), to the businesses you support on a regular basis, where you spend your money is revealing. It can also help you identify where you need to make changes.
Your net worth is simply a snapshot in time of the net of your assets minus your liabilities. Taking a look at this every 6 months or year tells you quickly and easily if you are growing your wealth or not. Although you may be able to intuit this, sometimes net worth is not so straight forward. Over time, it can also be very encouraging to see what seems like a snail’s pace towards your financial goals, is actually happening!
When sitting down to review other financial aspects, you may find several new action items on your to-do list. For example, your insurance coverage, savings, credit, or net worth. When this happens you then have ideas on what to focus on in your next session.
If you would like a theme for each month to follow, which will guide you through an entire year of money dates, you can find that in my January 2021 Living Healthy List article. Click here.
Michelle Boss is a Personal Finance Coach and Certified Financial Education Instructor. She is certified through the NFEC. As a Professional Money Coach, Michelle helps successful women get smart with money so they can grow their wealth and finally feel financially secure. With Michelle’s Group and One-to-one Coaching Sessions, she helps take the Fear out of Finances.