Financial fitness is CRUCIAL to self-care! 

Money issues, worries, and woes can wreak havoc on your peace of mind and physical health, manifesting itself into a plethora of stress-related diseases (and dis-ease)!  Taking care of your money equates to taking care of you, just as much as eating, sleeping and brushing your teeth!

Now I’ll be the first one to admit that I am NO financial wizard.  For many years I lived beyond my means and carried a huge credit card debt.  Even now as I write this my face is redder than my former balance sheet figures as I think back on how irresponsible I was with my money!  As a single mom I pinched pennies, cut coupons and created beautiful budget spreadsheets.  They were a work of art, and I put them up on the frig right next to my daughter’s drawings, next to the weekly menu.  The problem, however, was that I didn’t follow through on them… I’d walk into a mall or department store, or sometimes even the grocery store, and I’d justify buying this or that or the other thing.  You know, “Oh, it’s only some makeup, or a book, or one article of clothing… and I just HAVE to have that pair of shoes.”  $30 dropped here, $20 here… comparatively small purchases.  I mean, what’s wrong with a new lipstick?  Nothing – if it’s in your budget.  But ahhhh, the draw of that instant gratification when that purchase was made and you held a lovely new bag filled with goodies in your hot little hand… pure intoxication!  C’mon now, you know exactly what I’m talking about here!  Can I tell you how many books are in my electronic reader that have yet to be opened because I couldn’t pass up the chance to “buy all items with one click”???  I’ve got a virtual unread library!  The tyranny of the urgent (I HAVE to have that N-O-W) far overroad my carefully crafted budget!!!

On top of that, I have a Ph.D. in procrastination, and when the bills came, I was too tired or just didn’t want to think about what I really didn’t have, so I would put them off to the side and use the standard procrastination mantra of Scarlett O’Hara, “I’ll think about that tomorrow… tomorrow is another day!”  It’s taken me years to fix all these problems and my credit score, and many anxiety-ridden nights and tears, not to mention a self-loathing for being financially irresponsible.  Honestly, I still struggle.

Like an addiction, I’m a recovering spendaholic and have to continually reign myself in.

Personally and professionally as a life coach, I have come to understand and treasure (yes, pun intended) the importance of having a healthy financial life.  I’ve had the good fortune (yes, again pun intended) recently to take some online webinars on retirement and investing.  I’ve contributed to my 401k over the years, but really only have a thimble of understanding when it comes to investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.) and how to plan out a sensible and realistic retirement plan for myself.   Educating myself on these topics is crucial to my long-term life goals, and I’m trying to do something each week to get better at my knowledge base, and then putting my newfound information into action so I can build a secure future… one step, one dollar at a time.  My very wise and financially savvy Mom (hi Mom – you are my HERO) has always said that, even if you can only put a few dollars away each paycheck, it’s more than you had before!  Just like losing weight, its one pound at a time or in this case, one dollar at a time.

I’ve used several “tricks” to save here and there.  Two that were successful with no pain were the change jar and the fiver.  You’ve probably heard of both.  At the end of every day, scour your purse, wallet and pockets, gather the found coins, and deposit them into a plain old mason jar.  Do it faithfully every day.  It’s amazing how much you can save this way!  The second is similar.  Never spend a $5 bill – resist the temptation to break it!  Tuck good old Abe away in that change jar.  Think about it – you can buy one cup of designer la-di-dah coffee each day for a year (at $5/cup), or slam dunk that $5 bill in your change jar and in one year – yes, one year – you will have accrued $1.825!!!  What could you do with an extra $1,825 one year from today?

Okay, now how can we take that change jar fortune we’ve amassed to our best monetary advantage?  Here’s a link to some financial tutorials I’ve found on Investopedia:

I also like these websites:

Many banks and sites also offer free financial calculators, such as:

The bottom line is, wild women, do your research, know where your money is going (including your cash), make and stick to a budget (including building a solid emergency fund), and learn all you can.  There are free articles, podcasts, webinars and much more on the internet – just be smart and go to reliable, trusted sources!

Managing money, building your wealth, being actively involved and taking ownership for your own financial future – it’s your responsibility, and it just makes $en$e!

Please share your comments below – what can you use immediately from this post to begin getting healthier financially?