Financial Health Through Daily Habits
Our health directly affects our finances, and our finances affect our health. There’s an old saying that goes something like “pay for your health now, or pay for it later” and there is definitely some truth in this. If we take care of our bodies now through our choices, we’ll hopefully take on less disease, sickness, and medical expense in the future.
Health investments can sound pricey, like buying all organic, seeking out preventative therapies, and investing in health coaching, but what about expenses we’re accumulating now through habits and impulsive choices that we aren’t even aware of? Often, these expenses can both drain our bank accounts and diminish our health without us even being aware.
From quitting coffee runs before work or purchasing lunch five days a week to curbing impulsive spending sprees and unnecessary purchases, we all have something in our budget we can rework to invest in our health.
I recently worked with a client who was excited to make some changes in her health and habits. As she was listing her daily meals, she also expressed an interest in really making this work for her financially as her budget tightened. There were a few things that stood out as easy fixes.
When I asked her what she had for lunch, she told me that she picked up a sandwich at the deli on the days she works. These sandwiches (plus sides and drinks) equaled roughly $10 each time, which doesn’t seem like a lot in the moment. When we look at the big picture however, that’s $50 per week, or $200 a month for lunch alone, for one person. Going out to lunch is often fun and relieves the added work of having to prepare meals in advance, but it isn’t always necessary. Plan for fun spends like lunch or drinks with friends, and plan to be prepared often as well.
We have some other strategies for financial health that have worked for our clients and ourselves, and we think they’ll work for you, too.
Find the Root Cause
This is either going to be pretty easy and transparent, or take a lot of time, trial and error, coaching, and divine intervention. First, let’s figure out the areas of spending that either support or doesn’t support your health and wellness goals. Is it buying clothes when the closet is already full of beautiful outfits, many with there tags still on? Is it buying clearance items whether they’re needed or not? Maintaining subscriptions that aren’t necessary? Eating out often as a social activity, or because we’re too busy to make dinner?
A lot of these are common spending habits. Individually, they don’t seem like a lot. Over time, they add up. What is the reason behind these purchases? All of this adds up over time, preventing us from healthful pursuits both physically and financially.
This is in no way intended to shame anyone for purchases. There’s nothing wrong with purchasing clothes, makeup, or eating out, but if any of these are becoming habits that keep us from investing in ourselves while also covering up for underlying issues or needs, then we should definitely evaluate them. There’s no shame in working through finances and pursuing financial health. Here are some ideas to pursue this:
Create a Budget
Pre-determine an amount that you’d like to spend every pay period for all aspects of your life, including some treats, clothes, and other items that bring you joy, and put aside an appropriate amount of money for all of these activities. If lunching out is your favorite thing to do, put aside money to do it once a week instead of five times a week. Keep reading, too, because we have tips for those other four days a week! We can also apply this to other areas. Evaluate your overall budget and see where you can save by cutting back on areas that you tend to overspend on.
Budgeting is easy to do, but it’s also easy to stray from. It’s okay to get accountability for this, and to say no to activities that don’t fit your goals. If your coworkers go out to eat every day. Give yourself permission to say no to things that you haven’t prepared for in advance. It’s okay to say no or set boundaries, especially when it comes to your own goals.
Use What You Have
If shopping is an area that you want to dial in, take an hour or two to go through your entire office, closet, drawers, or bathroom, and pull out everything you currently own that you typically purchase often. By pulling out all of the clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories in the closet and laying them all out, we can see what we already own, what we no longer use (to make space by decluttering), and even discover purchases that we forgot we made.
When I see that I already have six pairs of jeans, I realize I don’t need to buy more. I recently went through my workout clothes and found three pairs of pants I forgot I already owned. The same process can work for your underwear, accessories, and makeup. For items that I want, I set aside an appropriate amount of money just for that so that I don’t overspend on other items that inevitably pop up and look great.
Another helpful idea is to unsubscribe from company emails that constantly send sales, coupons, and other tempting deals to our inbox daily. Unroll.me will help you do this quickly, for free. We can also turn off notifications from sales apps, too. Coupons and sales are great, but when they’re constantly advertising items we don’t need, we won’t miss anything by unsubscribing.
Skip the Frills
If tiny purchases like coffee drinks are a regular habit, consider challenging yourself to 3-4 weeks without these expenses. If this is a no-go in terms of self care, do it at home. Like making a pitcher of unsweetened iced tea at home, we have strategies for being able to enjoy custom coffee and beverages at home without compromising both our health and our budget. Nutpods are one of our favorite primal creamers, and they come in fun flavors, too. Chocolate Collagen Fuel and coconut oil blended with coffee make a great substitute for a mocha or iced mocha. We can help you find nourishing ways to enjoy these treats from time to time without breaking the bank or compromising health goals
Plan Your Meals
If eating out is an area that can be dialed in, make meal planning a priority. Take some time on Sunday to make a batch of meals for the week. Keep them simple and loaded with veggies, protein, and healthy fats so you’re not missing out during the week. It’s even okay to pick a food theme for a period of time and run with it.
Make extra food at dinner and pack that for lunch. Freeze leftovers and grab different containers from previous meals to mix up your options. You don’t have to meal plan, but adding some consistency will help free up time to focus on other priorities.
Pack some extra snacks like jerky, nuts, fruit, veggies, or your favorite whole food based snack to keep at your desk, in your car, or in your bag.
Seek Financial Accountability
If you’re working with a functional health coach, the chances are high that they have gone through all of these changes themselves. Little by little, they’ve chosen to prioritize health while making important financial decisions to make it work. They have done it on a single budget, or have reworked their family budget to allow for more help. Working with someone who gets it should be able to offer suggestions moving forward. They don’t just shame you into cutting out Starbucks altogether. Your finances are ultimately up to you, and we’re here to help you troubleshoot your decisions.