Thursday, April 5, 2018

WELLNESS WEDNESDAY : Financial Wellness

Wellness Wednesday: Financial Wellness

Financial wellness is the capacity to plan and manage income and expenditures. When someone is struggling financially it can affect their physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The stress from financial worries can affect your academic performance, interpersonal relationships, and your job.

Financial Wellness Includes:
     Managing a monthly budget
     Paying expenses
     Understanding loans, interest, payment obligations, and credit cards
     Understanding the financial impact of one’s decisions

Signs of Financial Wellness:
     Learning how to manage money and establishing a personal budget
     Setting realistic goals and living within your means
     Not getting into credit card debt- or getting out of it!
     Thinking long term and saving for the future when you can
     Learning how to balance the money you have with the money you owe

Strategies to Improve Your Financial Wellness:
     Set realistic goals for yourself when it comes to saving and paying debt.
     Develop a weekly, monthly, and/or annual budget- and USE IT! The ideal budget allows you to pay off your debt and/or save money while also leaving room for your existing bills, emergencies, and a few fun purchases (new clothes, a meal at a restaurant, an activity you enjoy, etc.).
     Use your debit card or cash instead of your credit card for purchases whenever you can- it can help you track your spending and can help you avoid spending money you don’t have!
     When getting a loan or credit card, borrow only what you have to. Banks will be more than happy to increase the limits on your credit card because they can charge you more interest. Unless you really need to increase it, keep it as low as possible. This will also help prevent accumulating a large debt that is hard to pay off.
     Be aware of your bank’s policies on overdraft and late payment fees. You can usually find these out on their website or by asking the teller at the bank.
     Pay your bills on time as much as you can to avoid late fees and interest.
     Recognize and track your spending habits to be conscious of what you want to change. Avoid shopping to relieve stress or boredom, and be aware of impulse purchases.
     Check your progress on your goals regularly, and don’t be afraid to make changes to your budget or goals!
     Know what to do if you get into trouble. Some financial advisors can be expensive, so make yourself aware of the resources in your area.

Practical, Realistic Tips for Saving Money
     Bring your meals, snacks, and drinks from home instead of buying them.
     Fresh food can be expensive, especially in the winter. Remember that canned and frozen options are also nutritious. Make sure you check the labels for added sugar!
     Cut grocery costs by buying store brands rather than name brands when you can, and don’t be afraid to use coupons. Every dollar counts!
     Take advantage of student, military, senior, and educator discounts. If you don’t know if a store has one, ask. Be prepared to show an ID. Many places have a 5-10% discount for people who fit in these categories.
     You don’t need a gym membership or expensive fitness products to exercise! Try getting some friends together to play at a park or take a walk or run outdoors. There are also plenty of workouts online that you don’t need any equipment to do!
     Buy used or discount items when you can. Garage sales, local buy/sell/trade groups online, and clearance racks and stores are great places to look before buying an item full price.
     Look online for free or inexpensive events to attend, especially in the summer. Engage in low-cost activities such as hiking, biking, game nights at home, or potluck dinners.
     Have a clothing swap with friends if they wear similar clothes. You can also do this with household items and books. It’s a free way to get some new-to-you things and also hang out with your friends!
     Sell things you don’t use anymore. You can do this in a garage sale or online.
     Keep a change jar and check your wallet and pockets every day for change. When it is full, take it to the bank! You will also have a supply of change for bus fare, laundry, or other small expenses.
     Track the little things. Keep a spending journal for a couple of weeks and write down the little things you spend money on- snacks from the vending machine, coffee, newspapers or magazines, etc. You can see how the little things add up and decide if you want to make a change!

Your financial wellness IS something you can improve. If you feel lost, reach out for help as soon as possible. The deeper into debt you go, the harder it can be to get out. But there is always hope. What are some of the ways you work on your financial wellness?

Nicki Phillips is a counseling intern at Esprit and a graduate student at UW Oshkosh working towards a degree in clinical mental health counseling. She brings a fresh perspective to her work along with a vibrant personality. She believes everyone is inherently worthy of respect and compassion, and strives to create those qualities in her relationships with clients. She sees clients who are uninsured, underinsured, have a high deductible, or prefer to pay out-of-pocket for a reduced cost. She particularly enjoys working with adolescents and young adults, and has also worked with children (ages 5 and up) and adults. She has immediate openings for new clients! Please schedule online at She can also be reached via email at or by phone at (920) 383-1287.