Every Saturday morning after brewing a full pot of coffee, I tuck myself into a sunny spot on the couch, open up a spreadsheet and begin reviewing where my money has gone over the past week.
I call this my money practice. I take a step back to see if and where I’m overspending, under-saving and everything else in between. Much like I run for my physical health and meditate for my mental health, the time I dedicate to regularly reviewing my finances is a foundational element of my self-care routine.
Start building your own money practice with these tips.
1. Think of it as a lifelong journey.
I use the term practice to describe managing my money because it implies an ongoing effort as opposed to a one-time task.
I sometimes joke: You don’t go to one yoga class and then say, “Great, now I’m fit for life.” Like most forms of wellness, money management is an ongoing effort.
2. Adopt a growth mindset.
Approaching your finances as a practice helps nurture a growth mindset instead of a fixed one.
When it comes to money, this can mean the difference between thinking, I need to learn more about how to invest versus I’m just bad at money, so there’s no point in trying. A growth mindset is a valuable tool for managing the inevitable setbacks that will arise on your financial journey.
3. Weave it into your daily life.
Above all else, a money practice is about setting aside dedicated time for financial self-care. What your money practice actually looks like will depend on the strategies that work best for you and what you’re trying to achieve with your money.
For some people, it might look like budgeting every dollar at the end of each month. Or, like me, it might mean simply tracking where your money goes each week.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Weekly: Track income, expenses, bills and payments.
- Monthly: Track household expenses, net worth, debt repayment progress, and savings and investing progress.
- Quarterly: Review investments and rebalance portfolio, consider meeting with a financial professional to ask questions, and set future plans.
- Annually: File taxes, review credit reports, check insurance coverage and update as needed, review retirement savings goals, review and update beneficiaries, power of attorney and other estate plans as necessary.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of SUCCESS magazine.
Photo by @InLightOut/Twenty20.com