There are endless tactics to reduce stress. Sit cross-legged. Close your eyes. Focus on your breathing. Let all of your cares melt away… But what about that nagging feeling that you haven’t paid off your credit card(s) this month? Can you breathe that away?
Meditation isn’t the only way to reduce stress. You’ll feel lighter and more confident in all aspects of your life by taking active control of your money.
We’ve talked about small daily tricks that can help you save bundles, but what about more holistic changes? These can be big or small; simple, yet momentous.
What the following tips have in common is that they’ll free up mental, emotional, and financial space in your life, so that you can spend your energy on things you really care about.
1. Pay Yourself First
Most of us hate budgets. It might very well be the worst thing about being an adult. Who wants to follow a monthly formula dictating how much you’re allowed to spend on groceries, toiletries, entertainment, and transport? If any of your hands are up, all we can say is, WOW. You are rare.
For big-picture people, the “pay yourself first” budgeting method can free you from the hassle of line-item budgeting.
Begin by listing your saving goals and add these to your major monthly expenses. For instance, you might allot money toward your RRSP, saving for a new car, home repair, and maintenance, car maintenance, vacation, savings for your kids’ education. Once you figure out how much you need for those things (and create automatic payments into your relevant savings accounts), you can feel free to spend the rest of your dough as you like.
2. Pay Your Bills on Time
Even if this hasn’t been your habit, it isn’t too late to start. Benefits may include better sleep, less anxiety, and more control. Side effects may include…well, we can’t think of any.
Let’s get to the nitty-gritty details. You can set up automatic bill payments on your account so that you don’t need to constantly check whether or not you’ve paid that minimum on time.
Also, if you’re worried about the shortfall between being paid and the cheque you forgot you wrote, you can apply for an overdraft on your bank account. Non-sufficient funds fees are about $45 a pop, while your overdraft will typically cost less than $5 per month. $5 is chump change for peace of mind.
3. Start an Emergency Savings Fund
Although mini emergencies may happen on the regular (need. strappy black-dress and high heels. now.), one of the best financial decisions you can make is saving for those real emergencies.
You never know when you’ll need a few extra thousands of bucks. Car repairs, house maintenance, personal emergencies – who knows what can crop up when you least expect it?
The first step is simple. Just open the account, already.
Rather than having to pay with credit, put money aside every month for the just-in-case scenario. You can even set yourself a maximum limit in the account, and earmark everything above that amount toward the vacation of your dreams.
On your way to feeling better? We hope so.
Your money habits can become an extension of your mindfulness on your path from om to riches.