Okay, full transparency. Not all of these “tasks” are money-related. But health is wealth, right? (Right? Right?!)
But I do really believe money/mental health/stress are all in strong symbiosis. When any of these are out of whack, it affects the other. And lately, things have felt very, very out of control. (Pandemic, political turmoil, social unrest and protests, I mean, I could go on and on.)
But the good news is, how we take care of our finances and ourselves is absolutely within our control. So, I thought it would be timely to share some of the things I do when I utilize practicing money management as a form of self-care.
First things first, when I feel all out of sorts I do the following (not money related)
I drink some water. I don’t know how there are magical people out there who know the exact amount of water to drink and when, but I’m the type that forgets and only remembers when I get a headache. So, lately, when I feel some sort of way, I take a moment to drink a good five sips of water.
If I haven’t yet, I change into a fresh pair of clothes. I’ve long touted that the secret to successfully working for yourself is changing out of the clothes you slept in. It can be pajamas; it just has to be a fresh pair. If I’m already wearing my outfit for the day, I take a moment to moisturize: my face, my lips, my hands. Whatever feels dry and needs some extra nourishment.
I have a small snack. Years of emotional meltdowns have taught me that the biggest key to avoiding them is making sure I eat at the first sign of hunger. Also, it’s a good idea to be in a nice frame of mind before you sit down and tackle your money as well, and a snack always makes the world (and your financial situation) look a little better.
Then, I get to the money management side
I double-check my systems. I have a (fairly convoluted) system of how I manage my calendar and email against my handwritten notes and brainstorming documents. I won’t go into detail of it here (because that would be at least 2,000 words) but it involves the use of my favorite tool – Trello. When things are super, super crazy I go in and make sure I’ve captured all of my notes in Trello, that all of my calendar dates are recorded, and that I’m not missing anything.
So, whatever your own “system” for organizing your life is, I suggest spending five minutes on a crazy day looking it over and acquainting yourself with the details of it. Maybe you looked it over yesterday, or maybe it’s been a few weeks.
Either way, spending time with “your system” serves as a reminder that these things on the list are the things you can control. Everything else isn’t.
Check my checking account balances. I check the account balances for my business and personal checking accounts. (Not the ones I share with my husband, as these are on auto-pilot). I just reassure myself that with my money all is as it should be. You can easily check your account balances via an app on your phone, which makes it simple to check it whenever, wherever.
NOTE: I do NOT check my retirement account balances when I am feeling crazed or stressed. This is just a bad idea in general.
I check all of my card accounts and ensure the balances have been paid. If payment is coming up, I go ahead and schedule it so I am 100% positive in all the chaos that I do not miss it (This can be bad for your credit score.)
Check-in on my financial goals. I also keep a running list of my financial goals (I do them yearly) in Trello. It takes me five minutes to check in on them and think about how I’m doing. If it’s been a few months, sometimes my goals change. Maybe what was important to me on January 1st is no longer important by June, or maybe circumstances have shifted and I’m working toward something else. If necessary, I tweak the goals or delete them off the list. This makes me feel as if I’m “managing” my money even though I haven’t moved any money around at all.
Move some money into savings. There is nothing that makes you feel more in control of your destiny than making a contribution to your savings account. Seriously, try it. It could be $5. (Here is how I saved $1,000 in 45 days by moving small bits at a time.)The point is, you’re showing the universe who the boss is.
When things get crazy, getting a grip on your money can help you feel a bit more in control. I'm not talking major money movements here, just small micro check-ins that can help assure you all is still well.
Extra credit reading: Based on science, these are the four main money types. Which one are you?