Financial wellness doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. Understanding what’s important and why it is important is key to making goals a reality. Chances are, you have already adopted some of these steps. We have compiled a list of 11 things that can help you get and stay on track with your finances
Avoid using overdraft:
Overdraft is money being withdrawn beyond what is available in the bank account, causing the balance to dip into the negative while still allowing a transaction to go through; this can be handy if you’re in a bind and need a few bucks ASAP. Depending on financial institutions, some may charge a fee every time you access funds from an overdrawn account while others will limit the fee amount to a flat monthly rate. Those who forego overdraft protection and still attempt to use more than what is available in the account can expect to be hit with a hefty non-sufficient-funds (NSF) fee in the neighborhood of $35-$45.
Overdraft fees have become a cash cow for banks; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said that in 2018, financial institutions made more than $11.5 Billion in profit from overdraft fees alone. Recognizing that overdraft use is a band-aid solution with hefty charges attached, is the first and easiest way to avoid contributing to financial institutions’ cash cows.
You contribute to a retirement fund:
It can be hard to put savings towards retirement when there are so many things you want to spend your extra few dollars on like a vacation, a shopping trip or a daily visit to a favorite coffee house. Still, you can enjoy life now while taking care of the future with saving tools like Acorns. It’s a handy app that rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and puts the extra change into savings. Take that hot java for example costing $1.80; Acorns will round up the purchase to $2.00 and put the extra $0.20 towards your savings.
This is an easy and effortless way to save a few bucks, ensuring every purchase pays you in the long run.
Your net-worth just keeps growing:
Enjoying today and spending money on the things you like usually sounds much more appealing than taking those funds and investing them into long term savings but it’s much more important to always be on the path to grow your net-worth. Robinhood is a Fintech app designed to make investing a simple and painless process for both newbie and experienced folks. Investing is a great way to do more with your money than just simply saving.
You pay off your credit card bills every month:
You are wise enough to know that carrying a balance on your credit card is no way to build your credit score, that’s why you pay your credit card in full every month. This is obviously much easier said than done, luckily, FinTech companies are offering tools for customers to eliminate the need to use a credit card and avoid being part of the system making credit card companies filthy rich. In 2018 alone, hard-working people paid $113 billion in interest charges! Although credit card debt is common and sometimes necessary, the ultimate goal is to use your card as a tool of convenience and not as a crutch.
You can take unpaid leave:
Life happens and it’s okay to take time off work and take care of yourself or a loved one. Employers are increasingly recognizing this need among their staff and may give you a week to a couple of months off while ensuring you have a job to come back to.
Although self-control and discipline are key; knowing what you can spend and what can wait until you are earning an income again will ensure unpaid time off is not costly.
You don’t splurge on sales:
Everyone loves a really good sale! Nonetheless, the financially savvy are able to purchase those killer shoes or luxurious sweater whether it’s a full price item or on sale. This means you actually have the money and genuinely need the product as opposed to buying it simply because it’s 60% off.
You don’t dread the holidays:
Let’s be real; the holiday season can be a source of a lot of anxiety. With Christmas music playing on a loop at every store, bright lights, large decorations, and not to mention the rush of people wherever you go, it can easily induce a panic attack. All that noise can be tough to digest and it can also make it extremely hard to focus on the important aspects of the holidays like making time and memories with your loved ones. If you can make it through those financially tough months without stressing about your money, you’re likely on track with your finances.
Celebrating the holidays shouldn’t mean sinking deeper into debt and nothing beats the feeling of getting through the holidays with cash still in your pocket.
You have an emergency fund:
Life can throw us curveballs, whether it’s a medical emergency, job loss or expensive automobile/home repair. Being prepared for these hard times takes planning. Experts suggest everyone should have three to six months worth of fixed and variable expenses in savings to take care of life’s unexpected events. At the onset, it may seem impossible to save up that much. That’s why saving a few dollars every paycheck is key to building a nest egg over time.
You don’t feel guilty for splurging on dinner:
Enjoying a delicious dining experience with friends is great; knowing you’re not going in the red when the bill comes is the cherry on top. Life is meant to be enjoyed and being fiscally responsible is very important, if you can afford to go out whenever you want and that’s how you prefer to live, then so be it. However, it’s very easy to slip into this lifestyle of convenience and eating out all the time and if you find yourself starting to experience some guilt creep in, it may be time to cut back. If you don’t feel this way then chances are you’re financially on track, if you can relate to the feeling of guilt, it may be time to focus a little more on your financial wellbeing.
You pay bills in advance:
Bills are like opinions; we all have them. Although it may seem easier to avoid bills altogether if possible, the proper solution is to stay on top of them and prepare yourself for the future. Creating the habit of paying bills in advance yields big benefits. Credit cards and utility bills carry interest charges when not paid on time. Nobody wants to make cash donations to companies by way of extra costs and charges. Outside of having more money left over at the end of the day, you will also build your credit when you pay everything on time and in full. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to plan out these expenses in advance then there is a high chance your financial wellbeing is well maintained.
You can actually think about the future:
Getting caught up in your finances can make it very easy to lose focus on almost everything else. The goal is to be able to plan what you do and how to do it. However, this can be an extremely difficult task for someone focused on relieving the pressures that can come along with tough financial positions. Consider yourself well off if you’re able to picture your future without worrying about your finances. The secret to being able to enjoy a well-deserved vacation is paying for everything with money you’ve saved while exercising discipline and self-control. Who doesn’t enjoy a sun-drenched beach excursion or the chill of mountain air? Financial wellness ensures we pave the way to a comfortable future.
You may already be doing some of the steps outlined above. If not, it’s not too late to start; you may surprise yourself with how much money you have in your bank account over the next few months if you get started today.
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