To be completely transparent, if you would have attempted to talk to me about the correlation between self-care and finances a few years ago, I would have told you that you had lost your mind. I would have even argued that finances have zero part in self-care! Thankfully none of you did because I would have been both arrogant and wrong. There’s such a strong correlation between self-care and finances. I actually am actively involved in my finances now because it IS a form of self-care for me. A few years ago my husband and I were having a discussion about financial stuff. I told him how unfair it was that he can see everything about my accounts at all times, but I don’t have the ability to see his stuff. He asked me if I knew why I didn’t have the ability to see his accounts, I surmised it’s because he’s a control freak. He informed me that it was really him trying to protect me because if I saw how low his accounts sometimes go, it would create massive stress for me. I know I’m not alone in finances being a trigger for stress (and sometimes trauma), right?
In my personal history, many years ago, anytime I experienced any financial stress I would stop paying all of my bills and I would stop spending money. Now to the logical mind, you may already see the error of this way of thinking. However, in my mind, I was trying to protect myself. We all have those special quirks about our financial story, coupled with the lies that we have told ourselves about money and spending. And trust me that was built on a house of lies!
My finances used to be a hot mess in all sincerity (not unlike other areas of my life!). And what I have noticed in hindsight is that the more I worked on healing my relationship with self-care the more some of these other areas came to be healed as well. One of those areas was absolutely finances. I now approach my finances from a very proactive role and like to be aware of where my money is going at all times. Being an active participant in my own financial life is a form of self-care. I hope this helps you to feel more empowered in your financial life as well as to put you in a position to create a financial self-care routine in your life. My recommendations are as follows:
1. Remove Temptations to Miss-Spend: I don’t go walk around the mall, or good smelly places (lush, bath & body works, etc.) because my restraint is minimized when those amazing smells are in play. If you struggle with overspending places literally don’t go there! We live in a day and age where you can literally have the groceries brought out to you at many grocery stores. I wouldn’t walk around Starbucks with a loaded Starbucks app either for the record. (Unsweetened iced teas are my weakness). If you know something is a weakness for you, take control and set yourself up for success.
2. Be Mindful of Your Purchases: The way this looks is different for everyone. For some people, this is exactly why they balance their checkbooks. For others, it’s why they check their online bank accounts so frequently. My recommendations are to budget before you spend. I had a friend who wouldn’t make any unplanned purchases before thinking about it for at least 24 hours.
3. Set Priority Money Aside First: I mean this very literally. Every time I get money in I look at where my medical account expenses are going to be this coming week as well as put some of the money into my tax account. In a perfect world, I would also set aside money for vacation, massages, etc. But on average I typically focus on medical expenses and taxes. My recommendation is to find what your priorities are and focus on them. Many years ago I was very far in debt. I created a sheet that was on my bulletin board where I tracked every single payment. You have to find a method that works for you, but let’s take some action.
4. Monitor Your Accounts: I have preached this one to my clients forever! And yet, I recently realized I was paying for two services that I’m not using at all. We all have the greatest of intentions. However, if you are paying for a service that you haven’t used in more than three months my recommendation is to freeze it or stop the payments.
5. Create Financial Goals: Having financial goals is a form of self-care because it allows us to be proactive. I literally only pick one goal at a time. My current focus is on paying off the IRS. Once that is completed then I will move on to the only credit card we have. Having financial goals allows me to have a sense of purpose. It also allows me to feel as if I am not just floating along from bill to bill, trying to keep my head above water. Set small goals! Remember it can be to either save money or pay off bills, totally your call!
6. Take Control – (pay bills early or on time): I am most comfortable if we are paying our bills early. When we pay our bills right on time or late, it creates stress for me. In the end of December, I got sick and lost track of where we were on our bills. Nobody died, nobody got evicted but this created tremendous stress for me. I have found that if I review the bills due for the week on Monday and get them paid then, things go a lot smoother for me.
7. Communicate: I have learned that communicating about my finances puts me in a position to take better care of myself. Recently, I was in a position where I didn’t have the money to pay a friend the money I needed to. I emailed her before the payment was due and explained the situation. I told her if it was a huge deal I could figure something out, or I could pay it a few weeks later. She opted to skip this month’s payment. The lesson in this for me was: when we communicate about our finances and financial needs people typically meet them gracefully.
I’m a huge advocate for the concept that anything CAN be self-care. If it’s self-care for you, then that’s phenomenal. Self-care can be different for everyone and look different for everyone. Introducing self-care into your financial world creates a whole new level of care for yourself. When you are practicing financial self-care it opens the door to increasing yourself love and worthiness.
Jenn Bovee is a Shame Busting Coach who is in the process of releasing the Self Love Initiative.
Stay informed of what she’s doing by going here: https://www.jennbovee.com/free-self- care