Since the pandemic hit us, you probably have gotten on the self-care bandwagon by now. From hitting the gym regularly or exercising at home and treating yourself every once in a while, bubble baths, early bedtime, skincare routines, and getaways to all the feel-good items you can afford to tick off your list.
But have you thought or heard about financial self-care?
One of my favourite finance books is Why Women Are Poorer Than Men by Annabelle Williams. There are so many reasons behind my love for this book. At the top of my list is the dedication of a whole chapter on money as self-care. It made me realise how many of us interact with money. It always feels like a burden. Like your entire life is set on labouring only to pay bills. You earn your money, and immediately, you are paying bills, saving some and then your account balance is back to default settings. You know how that feels, right? Like your money just disappears into thin air. Every. Single. Pay. Day.
However, if you look at some of these transactions as self-care, spending your money no longer feels like daylight robbery. For example, my current bank account always carries an almost zero balance. Sometimes I look at it and wonder how I will survive through the month. But I feel safer financially when I look at my overall financial position.
That said, there is more to financial self-care than watching your bank transactions. It consists of all other individual actions and measures you take to secure your financial success.
Here is an ultimate checklist for your financial self-care:
Start With The Basics
Your financial self-care journey should start with having an emergency fund, at the very least. An emergency fund is a savings account you use to put money away for a rainy day. Say, when your employer lets you go. Or you deplete your health insurance coverage but still have a medical bill.
All the things you think will not go wrong, money-wise, could go wrong. Your rainy day kitty is for preparing for this day, giving you peace of mind and possibly keeping you from racking up thousands of shillings in debt. Then, work your way towards other savings and investment goals.
Take Time to Review Your Finances
Part of financial self-care is taking time during the week or month to review your finances and situation. Even if you don’t do anything, taking a few minutes to consider your money situation and behaviour can bring a new perspective.
What should you do?
- Look at your bank balances, including joint accounts
- Do not forget the savings and investment accounts
- And your loans
- Review your employer’s benefits
- Consider what you spent your money on
- Are there clients you are yet to invoice?
- Have you received payments for all your invoices?
- Are there pending bills?
- What memberships and subscriptions should you cancel?
- Any new goal you should start planning and saving for?
The list is endless. These are just pointers.
Freeing up Your Time — Guilt-Free Spending
Why hire a mama fua when you can do that laundry over the weekend by yourself? Or take a cab instead of using matatus. Aki uko na dough! Use that money to invest and start building a multi-million dollar portfolio. Your peers are doing it. And so on.
I know. Very patronising.
Or taking up all the DIY projects you can think of so you can save some money.
I have realised my weekends go by so fast because I am busy trying to do all the clean-up. I barely have enough time for all the things I need to do when it comes to running this website and other ideas I have for personal finance coaching. I write the articles, do the editing, design social media posts, and record the podcast. I have some help with the podcast. But nothing feels worse than feeling like you are breathing down someone’s neck to help edit your work — for free, might I add — when their life is packed with work and personal projects. So, I have to do the heavy lifting, and they finalise the rest, which still takes some time. If I could afford — scratch that, when I can — I will gladly pay for these services and free up my time for other things.
All I am saying is, do not be guilted because of outsourcing or paying for services others consider a waste of money. If you can afford to, why not hire someone to do all these things for you? It will undoubtedly cost money. However, imagine all the things you could do with the freed-up time.
Manage Your Black Tax
Black tax is inescapable for some people. It is quite rampant, and many of us will gladly step in, sometimes playing the parental role to younger siblings and acting as retirement kitties for our elderly parents.
However, its effects are inarguably why many young people have yet to get anywhere financially. They lack savings accounts, do not save for retirement, and are drowning in massive debt.
I believe dealing with and managing your black tax is a must-have financial self-care item. And not just budgeting for the money you send to your relatives.
It is also about setting solid boundaries, understanding your financial capability and what responsibilities you can take on without burdening yourself. It will also lead to more peace of mind, allowing you to focus on things that help you better your life.
Learning About Money
There are numerous ways to learn about money. Read books, blog posts and articles, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries and follow qualified financial professionals on social media pages. What topics are troubling you? Is it savings, debt management or the mind-boggling world of investments? All these avenues can help you learn about any topic on money.
The more you learn about money, the more confident you become in your knowledge about money and your actions. And you can protect yourself better against scammers.
We all deserve all the self-care routines where we can pamper ourselves silly. However, financial wellness is as important as the lack of it can sometimes be devastating. Financial self-care doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. All you need is to prepare for a rainy day, be on your toes with your finances, manage your black tax and learn more about money.