Reposted from the Well-Being Wire by MeYou Health
Like it or not, our financial stability can have an enormous impact on our overall well-being, so it’s important to be mindful of the connection between our dollars and our demeanour. As Gallup reported last week, financial worries among Americans rival the concerns from the recession 20 years ago, so the issues are immediate and real. It’s time to start feeling confident and secure about our financial picture, and we’re here to help with that.
When it comes to the numbers game and navigating the rules and regs of money, we defer to the experts. There are several reputable resources out there to help sort through those financial quandaries. For browsing the latest consumer articles and interest rates, Bankerate.com has a wealth of information for folks of all backgrounds. When it comes to knowing your rights and responsibilities regarding debt, identity theft, and general consumer protection, the Federal Trade Commission maintains FTC.gov, a great resource for U.S. citizens. And for those all-important tax questions, why not go right to the source? IRS.gov or the website of your state or city are the best places to find the details you need to tackle your specific situation.
But when it comes to those small, everyday actions to start improving your financial outlook and happiness, we’ve got you covered. Here are seven ideas for simple actions to incorporate into daily life right now—
- Curb impulse purchases today by taking two deep breaths before buying anything you hadn’t planned on. Think about whether or not you can wait until the price comes down and if you really need the item right now. Impulse purchases can take a bite out of your wallet and act as a kind of self-sabotage, destroying your best intentions to save money. These types of buys can be caused by stress and boredom, and we may not even realize it.
- Contribute to your emergency fund today, or make a plan to start one if you haven’t already. The Boy Scouts have it right: Be prepared. That means quick access to cash for when the unexpected happens. If you already have one, make a contribution to your emergency fund today — no amount is too small. If you don’t, get one started by finding out where you can open a savings account. A little cushion always feels better than a hard landing.
- Familiarize yourself with the terms of your bank account to avoid paying unnecessary fees. Banks feed on fees. Some banks may even charge customers for things like not updating an address, cashing coins, or simply talking to a teller. But your bank is like any other business you deal with — and the customer is always right! By knowing what you’re paying for and avoiding being hit with fees, you’ll end up with more money in your pocket.
- Save lunch money by making your lunch at home today or planning to make lunch for tomorrow.Eating out is fun, but it costs real money. A $5 sandwich a day puts you back at least $1,250 a year! And who stops at just a sandwich? Most people spend much more, grabbing extra little goodies or drinks. By keeping that money in your wallet instead of your belly, you’re saving money and increasing your bottom line.
- Skip tax-time stress: Schedule a time to gather your paperwork long before you file this year. Being organized will not only make filing a breeze, but it will also make it easier for you to claim deductions, which translates to money in the bank. Plus, with everything you need at hand, you’ll be less likely to file late. Filing late can result in owing the taxes themselves plus interest and penalties, so by getting organized ahead of time you’ll save yourself (and your wallet) some trouble.
- Write down one long-term financial goal that does not involve saving for retirement.Retirement isn’t the only long-term goal we save for. Other big-ticket items include buying a house, paying off debt, saving for a child’s college education, or taking a dream trip. By choosing one long-term financial goal, you can begin to think about when you would like to achieve it. This in turn can help you if you choose to explore savings vehicles, such as CDs or IRAs, or college plans like 529s.
- Name one treat that you won’t sacrifice. A weekly movie date. Cheery flowers for your windowsill. A monthly dinner out with favorite friends. We all have that small, special something that we buy only because it makes us happy. And that’s OK. Write down one thing you just can’t live without . . . and don’t! Little treats now and then remind you of what’s really of value to you — and why you work in the first place!