What is Financial Wellness?

We all must deal with finances, whether they are in good shape or need to get in shape.

Personally, I struggle with paying off my student loan.  This is an issue many adults deal with.

How is your finances?
How is your finances?

Financial wellness is the state of our finances.  This includes:

  • Working towards becoming debt free
  • Paying our bills
  • Learning where to cut costs
  • Preparing and planning for the future
  • Building a nest egg

Where do you struggle with financial wellness?

How to Pay off Debt

I hate being in debt!  I feel that debt is a noose around my neck.  For years I have been struggling to pay off a student loan.  This has been a struggle and I will be so relieved to finally get this debt paid off.   debt

Dave Ramsey refers to paying off debt as the snowball effect.  He suggests that you tally up all of your bills and credit card statements.  You have to be completely honest with yourself and your partner in doing this.  You cannot keep credit card statements hidden from one another.

Now that you have that stack of statements in front of you, make a list of who you owe money to and how much you owe.

debt bondage        Next you are going to put this list in order from lowest to highest.

Create a budget with your essential bills and determine how much you have each month to pay off your credit cards.

At first this will seem overwhelming because you have so many bills.  Let’s say that your lowest bill is $200 to a department store.  After paying your minimum on all of your cards, use the excess to pay off this $200.  The next month you will put that extra money on the $500 gas card you have.  In two months this bill will be paid off and then you will put the excess money on the $1000 gold card you have.

                By slowly paying off one card after another with the money you are saving, you will quickly discover that you will soon be out of debt.  You are snowballing the money towards those higher cards, which is why Dave Ramsey refers to this as the snowball effect.  snowball money

                You mean I have to do this for two years?  With determination and dedication, we do this for however long it takes.  I’m want to get this done immediately and have to remind myself that I did not get into this mess overnight and will not get out of it overnight.  With dedication and perseverance we will reach our goals.

What are you looking forward to paying off?

Track Your Spending Habits

Have you ever wondered where all of your money goes?  Why don’t you have enough money to pay a certain bill?  Is money tight and the end of the month is a stretch?

One of the best ways to determine where you money is going is by tracking your spending habits.  This is a technique that I have to turn back to time and time again to keep myself in check.

I like to do mine for a month at a time, but you could also do this for one week at a time.     expenses

First I choose a notebook to record everything I purchase for that month.  {You can also do this in Excel or on your iPhone}.  I record all of my transactions, whether cash, debit card or credit card.  In my register I record who the transaction was to, the date, the amount, the type of payment {cash, debit, or credit} and what the transaction was for.

At the end of that period I go through and tally up my expenditures for that month.   I look at how much I spent on food, gas, utilities, rent and other expenses.

Next I access the necessity of these expenditures.  Am I eating out too much?  How much did I spend on a latte out?  Did I really need that item?   Could this transaction have waited?

Follow the Money
Follow the Money

These are all questions that I ask myself, as I comb through my expenses.  By tracking these expenditures, I am able to be honest with myself about my finances and how I’m really doing.  I can also find the fat in my expenses and trim that away in order to save money each month.

Sometimes life gets in the way and I am not able to track my expenditures on a monthly basis.  By making a plan to do this on a quarterly or semi-annual basis, I am able to continue to monitor myself and see the areas in which I’ve grown and the areas that still need some work.

Would you commit to tracking your expenses for the next month?