If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the world can be a stressful place. Between work, our social lives, and our families, our finances often take a backseat.
But neglecting your financial self care is a recipe for disaster—especially if you’re already struggling to make ends meet.
A 2022 survey revealed that only 22% of people give themselves high scores when it comes to their financial self-care, and 59% report feeling extremely stressed about their finances.
In a perfect world, we would all have an unlimited budget and never have to worry about money again. But with the current economic situation, it gets tough to find ways to take care of yourself without breaking the bank.
We’ve compiled this list of financial self-care tips that don’t take a ton of time but can make a huge difference in your financial wellness.
1. Take a look at your bank accounts and make sure everything is in order
This might seem like an obvious place to start but you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. You’d be surprised by how many people don’t know what’s going on with their finances. Analyze your bank statements and credit reports to make sure everything is accurate. If there are any discrepancies, now is the time to fix them.
Yes, it can be anxiety-inducing, but it’s your hard-earned cash at stake.
Checking your accounts once a week is ideal, but if that feels like too much, start with once a month. And if you really want to get on top of things, set up automatic alerts—like notifications if a purchase is over a certain amount—so you’re always in the loop.
2. Organize your checking accounts by bills or goals
Start with your checking account. Is it organized in a way that actually benefits you? You may find it helpful to separate or add another account—one account for bills and another for savings or investments.
Or, you could break it down even further and have a different account for each financial goal. For example, you could have an account for your emergency fund, one for travel, and another for retirement. If you live with a partner, you could also have a joint account for shared expenses.
The point is to find what works for you and make sure your accounts are set up to help you reach your financial goals.
3. Take an inventory of your subscriptions and memberships
How often have you subscribed to a free trial and then forgotten to cancel before the subscription renews? We’ve all been there. But those $10/month memberships can really add up—especially if you’re not using them.
Do a financial deep dive and cancel any subscriptions or memberships you no longer use:
- Gym memberships
- Streaming services
- Magazine subscriptions
- Software programs
If you are still using the subscription, but find that it’s not worth the price, try negotiating a lower rate. You may be surprised at how easy it is to get a discount—it’s worth asking when companies work hard to keep their customers happy.
4. Fill out a financial goal worksheet
When was the last time you sat down to think about where you want to be in the next year (or five or ten)?
Start by compiling a list of all you want to achieve in the coming years. Write down any goals you have in mind, no matter how small. Then, put a price tag on each item and create a plan for how you will save up.
For example, if one of your ambitions is to buy a house, you’ll need to start saving for a down payment. Set a goal and break down that number by year, month, and day to start chipping away. Not sure where to start? There are tons of financial goal worksheets available online. Find one that works for you and start your get started on your goal setting.
5. Visit your goal sheet at least once a month
Your financial goals won’t achieve themselves—you have to put in the work. Develop the habit of setting a day to visit your financial goal worksheet to stay on track and make sure you’re progressing.
It’s an excellent way to hold yourself accountable and if you find that you’re not making as much progress as you’d like, you can adjust your savings plan accordingly.
6. Listen to podcasts about financial knowledge
Financial wellness is an increasingly popular topic, so there’s no shortage of articles and podcasts to learn more about it.
With podcasts, you can stay up to date on financial news and get actionable advice from financial experts. They’re also portable, so you get to listen while commuting, working out, or doing chores around the house.
Not sure where to start? Check out some popular financial podcasts:
More of a reader than a listener? Browse this list of financial literacy books for some ideas.
7. Determine if you can refinance a loan
If you have any loans—whether it’s a student loan, a car loan, or a mortgage—it’s worth checking to see if you can refinance at a lower interest rate.
A lower interest rate means you’ll save money on interest over the life of the loan. And, if you can get a reduced monthly payment, that’s even better.
With an online tool like Credible, you can compare rates from multiple lenders in just a few minutes. Start by entering the loan amount, the loan term, and your credit score. Then, you’ll see a list of rates to choose from.
Some of the loans you can refinance are:
- Student Loan
- Personal loan
- Car loan
- Business loan
Refinancing could save you hundreds—or even thousands—of dollars, so it’s definitely worth trying out.
8. Pay debts as quickly as you can
Simply put, the more time it takes you to pay off your debt, the more interest you’ll accrue.
If you have any debts—whether it’s a credit card balance, a medical bill, or a personal loan—make paying them off a priority.
One way to do this is by using the debt avalanche method. Using this method, you first focus on paying off the debt with the highest interest rate. Then, you move on to the next highest-interest-rate debt.
You can also use the debt snowball method. To practice this method, focus on paying off your smallest debt first to build confidence and momentum. Then, move on to the next smallest debt.
Both methods have pros and cons, so it’s up to you to decide which works best for you.
9. Talk with your family or partner openly and regularly
Financial self-care is not a solo journey. If you’re in a relationship, it’s important to be on the same “money page” as your partner. Because financial problems can quickly lead to relationship problems.
The same goes for families. If you have kids, try being open with them about money. Teach them about financial responsibility and good financial habits. They’ll be better off for it in the long run.
Talking about money with people you trust can help reduce financial stress. And, when you’re less stressed about money, you can focus on one of your other many priorities.
10. Allocate money for an emergency funds account and retirement
Two incredibly common (and important) financial goals are saving for retirement and building up an emergency fund. Emergency funds help cover unexpected expenses, like car repairs or medical bills. Ideally, you should have enough money in your emergency fund to cover three to six months of living expenses.
Saving for retirement, on the other hand, is a long-term goal. And, it’s essential to start saving for retirement as early as possible. The sooner you start, the more time your money has to grow.
A good rule of thumb is to save 10% of your income for retirement. But, if you can’t afford to save that much right now, start with what you can. Even if it’s just $20 a week, that’s better than nothing.
11. Purchase life insurance
No one likes to think about death. But it’s crucial to have life insurance, especially if you have financial dependents.
With life insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be taken care of financially, should something happen to you.
There are two main types of life insurance: term life insurance and whole life insurance.
Figure out what type of life insurance is right for you and purchase a policy that suits your financial situation and needs.
12. Automate savings or investments
“Pay yourself first.” This financial advice is often given to people trying to save money. And for a good reason.
When you automate your savings, you’re essentially putting money away before you have a chance to spend it. As a result, you’re better able to reach your financial goals.
There are a couple ways to automate your savings:
You can have a certain amount of money automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings account every month. Or, you can set up automatic payments to your investment account.
Either way, you’re making it easier to save money – without even thinking about it.
13. Download an expense tracker app
If one of your financial self-care goals is to be mindful of your spending, an expense tracker app will come in handy.
With an expense tracker app, like Stackin’, you can see exactly where your money is going, and how it makes you feel, and find ways to cut back on unnecessary spending.
14. Visualize financial freedom
What does financial freedom look like to you? It might be being debt-free, having a fully-funded emergency fund, or being able to retire early.
Whatever financial freedom looks like to you, visualize it:
- Start by creating a vision board
- Include pictures, words, or colors—anything that depicts what financial freedom looks like to you
- Put it somewhere you’ll see it every day— may be on your fridge or desk.
Then, take it a step further by creating a financial freedom plan. Write down the steps you have to take to reach financial freedom and track your progress along the way.
When we work towards a goal and visualize ourselves achieving that goal, we create a positive loop that reinforces our self-confidence and boosts our motivation.
15. Replace anxiety with gratitude
Anxiety and financial stress go hand in hand. The more anxious we are about money, the more financial stress we experience.
Start by acknowledging the things you’re grateful for, even if they have nothing to do with money. Maybe you’re thankful for your health, family, or home.
Practice writing in a gratitude journal. Every day, pen down three things you’re grateful for. By focusing on the things you appreciate, you can shift your focus from what you don’t have to what you do have.
You’d be surprised at how this simple exercise can change your outlook and reduce your financial anxiety.
16. Reframe your thinking into an abundance mindset
The majority of people have a scarcity money mindset—we think there’s simply not enough to go around.
But what if you started thinking “abundance” instead?
Abundance is the belief that there’s more than enough of something to go around.
When you have an abundance mindset, you believe there’s enough money for everyone— including you.
Start by identifying areas in your life where you have a scarcity mindset. Then, work on reframing your thinking—meditation, thoughtful walks, and journaling can be great tools.
17. Splurge on big things that make a difference in your mental and physical health
Financial self-care doesn’t have to be expensive. But sometimes, it’s worth splurging on big things that make a real difference in your mental and physical health.
For example, let’s say you struggle with anxiety and want to try yoga.
Yoga classes can be expensive, but if it’s something that you’re genuinely passionate about—it might be worth splurging on. The same goes for therapy. If you’re struggling with your mental health, therapy can be a game-changer.
While it’s not always cheap, therapy is an investment in your mental health (and your mental health is worth every penny).
Practicing financial self-care is about much more than just saving money. It’s about taking care of yourself, your mental and physical health, and your financial wellbeing.
When you make financial self-care a priority, you’re making an investment in yourself—and that’s always worth it.