Financial Health: When was your last check-up?
By Monica Y Mateo
As we begin to look at what we’ve spent over the summer and start to think about the upcoming financial season called the Holidays — I thought it was important to talk about our health. No, I don’t mean your physical or emotional health, which I typically write about — I mean your financial health.
It is important to understand that our finances make up a huge portion of our happiness. When we feel in charge of our finances we feel uplifted, capable, and in control. However, when we struggle month to month and barely make ends meet — another feeling enters — LOATHING.
I’m not a financial consultant, but being a human in a very materialistic world has given me some cred on this department. So before we start to get caught up in the holiday season, which will be here before you can blink an eye, lets figure out how to balance our health.
How to obtain financial health:
- Get a notebook. Before we can begin a plan, we need to write down how we feel about ourselves and our financial situation. How do you feel about money? How do you feel about your spending? Write it all down.
- Grab a calculator. Now that you understand your emotional ties to your spending, it’s time to look at your bank statements and calculate what you spend every month. Ex.
- Credit Card Payments:
- Eating out:
- Tuition/Child Care:
- Analyze your spending. After you jot down where your money is going, start to look at what you charge on credit. Add up your debt and start to plan how to pay them off monthly. There are a lot of tools available on the internet to assist you in paying off debt.
- Stop buying things you don’t need. Do you NEED it? Do you WANT it? Are you only buying it to make yourself feel better? Do you already own something like it? Are you trying to keep up with someone else? Understand your spending patterns and learn to use what you already own.
- Write down a budget for birthdays and holidays. Write down everyone you want to buy for and write down how much you are willing to spend. Also, have a total budget that your willing for spend for EVERYONE on your list. You may have to revise what you spend on certain people in order to remain in your total budget. Gifts should be a token of love not a bribe. It’s a thought and gesture that should be heartfelt. Remember to include Christmas cards, stamps, wrapping paper and other sneaky little add-on’s in your holiday budget.
- If you have a huge family start a Secret Santa with a limit. It’s something that I do in my family and it’s so much fun. We say a memory or something nice about the person we picked and it’s a heartfelt exchange.
- Your kids do not need EVERYTHING on their wish list. They need to learn that holidays means love and family — not greed. Teach them to honor what they did receive and maybe even donate some old toys.
- Put aside money each month for saving. Rainy days happen and it’s great to have a savings. So even if you start small, just start.
- Start to respect yourself and your money. You work hard for it. You put in your time every week for it. Don’t just give it away. I have felt obligated to buy crap at times and felt utter guilt as I left home wishing I NEVER took out my wallet. Oh, we’ve all been there. Your money is yours and only you can decide how you spend it.
- It’s okay to say, you just don’t have it right now. Listen, we all gave goals that we are working towards and it’s perfectly okay to say no to certain events and gatherings if it requires a gift you can’t afford. Remember your financial health is just as important as your physical and emotional health.
I’m not saying we should value money and put it on a pedestal. I’m saying — VALUE YOU. Value how you spend your money and work towards financial freedom.
Love, peace and healing, xo!
About the author:
Monica Y. Mateo is a licensed social worker by day and writer/blogger by night. She is currently working on a memoir to be published. She is a 7 year survivor of Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma ALK+, which taught her that people can change unhealthy patterns and behaviors. She enjoys yoga and practices Buddhism, which has taken her on an adventure of a lifetime. She has a wonderful fiance and son who have inspired her to achieve her goals.
Disclaimer: MONICAYMATEO.COM is not providing medical advice and this information is not in place of medical advice.