What comes to mind when you think about self-care? A tub of ice cream? A beer after work? A massage? A bath and a glass of wine? It all sounds a bit extravagant and dramatic… and expensive. Especially when there’s bills to pay and budgets to stick to!

In reality, self-care should be a little more sophisticated than that. A regular exercise routine and meal prep are good examples – routines and “good habits” that contribute to your overall well-being. Apparently forming a new habit or ritual is easier to do if you attach it something else that’s already a ritual – for example, if you take your multivitamin just before you brush your teeth every morning, you’re probably more likely to remember to take it every day.

In late 2018, the NAB told us that we’re all pretty stressed about money, so it makes sense to say that a little bit of money-related self-care could go a long way in terms of really making a difference to our overall well-being. Let’s start with throwing in some financial self-care routines to our regular self-care routines:

MONEY PREP

When you sit down to plan out your grocery shop for the week, firstly decide how often you intend to cook that week, based on what you have on the calendar and only buy enough food for the recipes you actually intend to cook (unless it’s canned or long-life foods that you can keep in the cupboard for ages). This saves food AND money waste! 

If you have plans to eat out during the week, make sure you’ve factored that into your budget for groceries. If you’re going to spend $50 on a meal at a restaurant with a friend, then keep your grocery budget to a minimum and cook recipes that use cheaper ingredients (like the aforementioned canned goods). 

FINANCIAL OPTIMISM THROUGH GRATITUDE 

Frost bank in the US discovered that 62% of optimists exhibit better financial health and that “optimists experience 145 fewer days of financial stress per year than pessimists.” One way to dig up a bit of optimism is by practicing gratitude. In your weekly yoga/boxing class or on your morning run, spend time thinking about one or two things you’re grateful for that your money has done for you (eg, I’m grateful I was able to buy my favourite salad today, or I’m grateful I can go out for a glass of wine on Friday with my friends).

“MARIE KONDO” CLEANOUT 

With all the streaming services and online software subscriptions out there these days, it’s pretty easy to forget what you’re still subscribed to that you don’t need anymore (or never needed in the first place). On the day your rent is due every month, set a few minutes aside to skim through your statement and make sure everything you were charged for this month is something you both recognise and use. 

For example, I recently discovered I had been paying for Amazon Prime fees for months because I signed up for a free trial but never used it. It did not spark joy. #CANCELLED

How do you practice financial self-care? We’d love to hear your tips too!

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