“Stop spending money you haven’t earned to buy things you don’t need to impress people you don’t even like.” – Deepak Chopra
Sometimes the best advice is the simplest.
A down economy has been a wake up call to those who are still learning how to live within their means. “What can I have?” has become “What do I really need?” But managing fiscal responsibility can be a lifelong process, recession or no. Here are a few other tips to help build financial health and wellness in your life:
Build positive money awareness. Instead of focusing on lack of money or being overly fearful about finances, think of money as a resource to be managed and used wisely. Money is something that you control, not something that controls you. Create a clear picture of personal finances by writing down and closely tracking income, expenses, debt, and savings.
Tie spending habits to values. Aligning life values and priorities with spending habits and financial goals reduces unnecessary financial stress, and makes financial decisions much easier. Write down your top four personal values and life priorities and see how your spending habits measure up. For example, if health is important, do your finances reflect that? Are you choosing to spend money on golfing trips, pedicures, cigarettes and alcohol, but forgoing necessary check-ups and medical care because it seems too expensive? If your car does not define you, could you trade in that expensive lease for a more affordable car and put the difference into savings? If courage is a value, do you have the courage to say, “I’m sorry, I can’t afford that?”
Save! Even when finances are tight, it’s important to save whenever and wherever possible to build peace of mind, reduce stress, and better manage financial setbacks. Work towards building a short-term reserve to cover immediate and unanticipated expenses, while also saving for a long-term financial plan to support your future.
Manage debt. Debt can be extremely stressful and overwhelming, but the first step to managing debt is to stop blaming and complaining, and focus on solutions. Paying off debt takes time, patience, determination, and a strong plan. For help with a more specific financial plan, get a free consultation from a financial advisor through the Employee Assistance Program, ACI Specialty Benefits.