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
●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
●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
●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
●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
●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?
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 espritcounseling.com. She can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (920) 383-1287.