“Self-care” has become an overused buzzword that conjures images of spa days and bubble baths, chocolate bars, and endless glasses of champagne. While all these things, if practiced healthily, can fall under the category of self-care, we often forget to look at the true meaning of the word, or at least what I like to interpret it as.
The truth is, sometimes self-care is the hard work.
I’m an amateur personal finance geek.
Your tools have helped me become a smarter investor.
Personal Capital Dashboard User, February 2021
I love bubble baths as much as that person, but self-care is often the things we avoid doing — things like doing therapy and going to the gym and having hard conversations and looking at your money. Yes, there is a thing as financial self-care, and this article is going to cover exactly how I practice it.
Just like moisturizer becomes an everyday skincare routine or yoga becomes part of your morning routine, you can train yourself to also practice financial self-care. Let me show you how.
The Money Date
The best and easiest way to practice financial self-care and implement it into your routine is by scheduling what I like to call a money date. The first part is the hardest: choose one day a month and commit to it by plugging it into your calendar. If you share finances with a partner, involve them in the money date as well! My money date is usually on a Sunday night, but choose the day that works the best for your lifestyle and schedule.
In order to make this more of a treat than a task, put on your comfy clothes, pour yourself a glass of wine, grab your favorite blanket, and set the mood with an inspiring playlist. Make it something you look forward to— actually have a date, either with yourself or with your partner.
5 Tasks to Complete in Your Financial Self-Care Routine
- Make a note of any mindless purchases.
When looking through what you spent your money on in the past month, are there any purchases that you can be more mindful about avoiding? These can include purchases made out of habit rather than enjoyment, emotional purchases, or purchases that you can easily cut back on in order to stay on track to reach financial goals. This will help you refine your money purchases in the future and stick to spending money on things you truly value.
- List out your subscriptions, and see if there are any you want to cancel and/or forgot to cancel.
Are you still paying for that gym membership even though you haven’t stepped on a treadmill in months? It might be time to cancel. Didn’t realize that you completed all your Babbel French lessons? Make sure to unsubscribe and put that money to use elsewhere.
- Report any fraud on your account.
Did a company overcharge you, double charge you or not refund you money than you’re owed? You can actually dispute a charge directly with your credit card company, which is what I recommend. If you are disputing with a debit card purchase, I would go to customer service of the company to try to negotiate first.
- Look at your account balances in full.
For this step, I love using Personal Capital. It’s the tool that I recommend for progress towards your goals because you can see all of your accounts in one place, so it makes your money date go a lot faster. Millions of people use these financial tools to get a complete view of their financial picture. With all of your accounts aggregated in one place, you can:
- Plan for retirement given a wide range of scenarios
- Budget and save for your short-term and long-term goals
- Analyze your investments and uncover hidden fees
It’s easier to do all of those things once you know where you stand.
- Check your progress toward goals.
Now that you have a good idea of your financial situation, it’s time to take a look at both your monthly and yearly money goals. Ask yourself, “How much did I spend on credit cards? Can I cut back on some spending in order to get me to that goal faster?”
Again, I recommend using Personal Capital for this step. With their intuitive Savings Planner tool, you can see how much you are saving and how much you need to save in order to reach your goals. Use it to plan your annual retirement savings, your emergency fund, and progress towards paying down debt.
Once you feel more aligned with where you’re at financially and understand what changes you need to make this coming month, congrats! You’ve officially finished your money date.
Money dates allow you to both make sure you are, in fact, progressing toward your goals and — more importantly — allow you to reflect to see all the progress you’ve made so far.
So go ahead: Take care of yourself.
Personal Capital compensates Tori Dunlap (“Author”) for providing the content contained in this blog post. Additionally, in a separate referral arrangement between Author and Personal Capital Corporation (“PCC”), Author is paid $70 and $150 for each person who uses Author’s webpage (www.HerFirst100k.com) to register with Personal Capital and links at least $100,000 in investable assets to Personal Capital’s Free Financial Dashboard. As a result of these arrangements, Author may financially benefit from referring potential clients to Personal Capital and/or be incentivized to present blog content that is favorable to PCC. No fees or other amounts will be charged to investors by Author or Personal Capital as a result of the Referral Arrangement. Investors that are referred to PCC and subsequently subscribe for investment advisory services provided by PCC’s affiliated adviser, Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”) will not pay increased management fees or other similar compensation to Author, PCC or PCAC as a result of this arrangement. Additional information about PCAC is contained in Form ADV Part 2A available here.