By now, you probably know what physical and mental self-care look like. It’s the feel-good stuff, of course — the treats, the bubble baths, the candles — but it’s also going to bed at the same time every night, drinking enough water, and moving your body (even when you don’t feel like it). Self-care is kind of like self-parenting: It’s about doing right by yourself, even when it’s annoying and you don’t feel like it.
Financial self-care — the individual actions you take in pursuit of financial wellness — is no different. When you first embark on your financial wellness journey, the tasks, strategies, steps, and mindset work on your to-do list might seem like a lot of work. And it will be! Money isn’t easy; if it was, you probably wouldn’t be reading this. But it’s possible to feel good about it, too — good enough to get up every day and stay with it — and that’s where financial self-care comes in.
If you’re new to this particular concept, fear not. Financial self-care may sound like it’s all exercise-and-early-bedtimes and no treat-yo-selfs — it’s about taking care of your money, after all. But just like other forms of self-care, it’s also about keeping up the momentum as much as it is about doing what’s good for you.
There are so many ways to help maintain your financial well-being, and plenty of them are fun. Here are 31 examples to start you off.
Buy yourself the fresh flowers — or the f**king latte. You know how we do.
Check your bank account balances. OK, yes, this can seem stressful. But is it more stressful than not checking your balances and letting ambient anxiety take over? We think not.
Look for trends in your spending last month. You might notice habits forming that you didn’t even notice and that don’t align with your core values.
Find and cancel recurring charges for things you aren’t using. We see you, premium delivery services.
Return and refund with confidence. Don’t let all those would-be online returns languish on that chair in your bedroom — put it on your to-do list and drop it off at the post office.
Set some money and career intentions. Write them down and prioritize ’em. (Pro tip: Put them somewhere you’ll see them daily, on your desk or even in your wallet.)
Journal about how each of your financial goals connect to your core values. This can help, especially when your goals feel abstract or difficult, to focus and clarify your financial wellness practice and make choices easier in day-to-day life. Speaking of which …
Say no to expenses that you don’t need or really want. Friends trying to get you to come out for drinks? Instagram ads hitting a little too close to home? That cash is taken — save it for the life you actually want.
Make an extra debt payment. There are a few different strategies to pay off debt, but unless your debts come with super-low interest, paying more than the minimum payment due (when you can) will bring you that much closer to freedom.
Learn something new about money. This one pays “dividends” — not only will you feel more confident in your own expertise, allowing you to better advocate for yourself, but you’ll also be able to dunk on dudes at parties who try to mansplain cryptocurrency. To get you started: bonds, inflation, or Roth vs traditional IRAs.
Save on autopilot. A lot of banking products have features that allow you to round up every purchase and save the change, or set up autodeposits according to your paycheck schedule. Every little bit helps!
Accept that you’re never going to have time for that one DIY repair job — and outsource it. It’s just sitting there on your list, making you feel bad. Swallow your pride on this one and it’ll be done — and you’ll free up precious brain space, to boot. Note: This trick can also be applied in other areas of your life, from laundry (just send it out this time!) to your professional portfolio website (why spend your weekend on something a professional can do better in a matter of hours?).
Have a benefits research night. Make a self-date out of it. Grab a beverage after work and sit down with all the benefits your employer offers. Check out the health insurance (or make sure the plan you have is right for you), your FSA, that 401(k) match program, etc. Pro tip: Block it off on your calendar to make it harder to put off.
Shop for insurance. Same as #13, except for all the employer-unrelated stuff. If you already have car insurance, renters insurance, life insurance, and/or pet insurance, it’s always smart to occasionally compare what you’re paying against current market rates.
Order takeout. Too tired to cook? Need the incentive to work on a project after work? It’s OK to bribe yourself once in a while — especially if you know you can make up the expense elsewhere in your budget. (Even better: Build it in.)
Organize a money party. Like a Tupperware party, except instead of buying stuff, you learn stuff — whatever you and your friends want.
Take a class for fun. Don’t let continuing education be only about getting ahead at work. Cooking, wheel-throwing, blacksmithing, self-defense — trying something new (or leveling up on something you already know you love) will have the added bonus of protecting your time from overwork.
Bump up your 401(k) contribution by 1%. No notes.
Ask someone at work (or in your industry) to compare salaries. Glassdoor can only get you so far.
Ask for a raise. Make a plan, ask for the meeting, rehearse your pitch. We’ve got a ton of good resources to help with that.
Self-employed? Check up on your invoices. If you’re a freelancer or small business owner, take a few minutes to make sure you’ve invoiced for all the work you’ve done, and that none of them are outstanding. (If they are, follow up — and charge interest!)
… And look into opening a SEP IRA. Do some research first, but even self-employed folks like you need a retirement plan.
Hire child care — as much or as little as you need (and can afford). Your kids are great, but they aren’t your only core value! Make time for yourself and your other goals.
Use your PTO. Whatever you give to your job, your job will take, and avoiding taking time off is only hurting you. So exercise those vacation benefits — it’s part of your salary, after all.
Put aside the money you need for fixed expenses on payday, not as you go. Transfer it to a separate checking account you only use for those expenses. This will give you a better sense of what’s safe to spend going into the weekend.
Add $5 to your investment account. Future You can have the chance to earn a little capital gains, as a treat.
Open a banking account to save for a specific goal. Commit to a vacation. Plan for self-employment taxes. Start setting aside money for one thing and one thing only — and make sure it’s in an account you won’t see every day. Bonus: Factor in an extra $50 for some nice champagne when you hit your goal.
Up your people skills. Leadership isn’t just something you’re born with — it takes experience and practice. Here’s a modern classic to get you started.
Actually visualize your retirement. Imagining yourself at retirement age — and making a real picture for your future — can improve how consistently and aggressively you save for retirement. Test drive this theory with our free email course.
Donate to a cause you care about. Better yet, commit long-term and set up a recurring donation. Boss level: Do it with your local free fridge or mutual aid group.
Work with a financial planner. With a seasoned professional on budgeting, retirement, 401(k)s, etc. in your corner, you’ll probably learn a ton about your own money. But even if you don’t, sometimes all we really need to get our butts in gear is that sweet, sweet external validation. Try it out.
Financial self-care isn’t the whole story when it comes to financial wellness. Read about the others in our guide to building a robust practice, and download our free Financial Wellness Check-In Bundle of worksheets.
Check out our Core Values Journaling Worksheet!
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