Given that parts of September are self-improvement oriented, many people focus on their physical or mental health. However, one area that many ignore is their financial health. Financial health has an impact on physical and mental health, yet it isn’t taught widely or even discussed. That being said, starting to lay the foundations to a healthy financial life can be easy to plan, but difficult to execute. Human emotion plays a large part in maintaining financial health and it doesn’t help that marketing companies and financial institutions make it easy to spend. Have no fear; this article lays out a plan that you can participate in week by week to improve your financial health.
Week 1 – Evaluate Your Budget
The first task is going to be identifying what you are doing with your money. You can do this by formulating a written budget, laying out all of your expenditures. This includes bills, fun money, and anything that used money to fulfill. Typically you will look at the whole month and begin laying out everything. At this stage, you may be surprised to see where you money is going.
If you are unsure what budget template to use, check out our main page and download a copy of our template. Here, you can begin taking the steps to understanding where your money is going. The goal is to give every dollar a name and purpose in your budget.
Week 2 – Saving
Once you’ve established where your money goes during the month, begin finding ways to ensure your money stays with you longer and works for you, rather than against. The first places to look include subscriptions such as cable, streaming services, and music services. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save by cutting these few items from your budget.
Week 3 – Retirement Accounts
Saving for retirement is an important part of saving and many individuals wait until it’s too late. However, this can be helped along by setting automated deposits from your paycheck. Whether you utilize a 401k or IRA, you can have set amounts deposited into these accounts, keeping your money out of site and out of mind. The idea here is if you don’t have the willpower to save on your own, this doesn’t allow you the chance to spend your money. With growth in financial technology, there is a method and product for nearly everyone out there.
Week 4 – Review Your Work
Now that you’ve made it to the end of your first month, take some time to see how well you did, as well as what areas may need improvement. Budgeting is not a set it and forget it type of thing, rather a fluid and ever evolving project. Each month will be different and it is up to you to prepare for it.
After you’ve set a budget, take time to review it and ensure every dollar has a purpose on your sheet. From there, begin looking for ways to save and free up cash flow. Your larger cash flow can be used for other items such as paying down debt or saving for retirement. From there, tighten up any lose ends and ensure your hard earned dollars are working for you, rather than against. Financial health is something many overlook, but with the right tools and mindset, increasing your financial awareness can change your life.