6 Smart Habits for Your Financial Health

How do you view your financial health? Are you thinking that it only comes when you’re a millionaire, inherit a fortune, or win the lottery?

Creating healthy habits is the best way to build a healthy financial future. Like many good habits, these are things that you can start doing today—and continue for the rest of your life.

Let’s look at 6 smart habits that can help increase your financial health and well-being.

  1. Get an Overview

Jus like physical health, financial health starts by getting a benchmark. If you were trying to lose weight, the first thing you’d do is get on a scale to know how much you needed to lose.

Of course, you might also try on your favorite jeans or see if your favorite jacket still fits.

In finances, it’s similar. You need to know what is what.

This is often one of the trickiest steps because it requires shining the light on things that may have been in the dark. It requires stepping out of denial and into the light.

For instance,

  • How many credit cards do you have balances on?
  • What is the interest on each card?
  • What bills are fixed, and what are variable?
  • What are your spending habits?

As you get an overview, you’ll see things in the clear light of day. With this in hand, you’ll be able to start making different choices.

  1. Make New Spending Decisions

What are your spending habits? Do you buy the latest fashion as soon as it hits the store? Do you buy extra because your Mom always did? Do you buy in bulk even if you’re living solo?

Understanding your habits will help you make new decisions. It doesn’t mean you’ll cancel every subscription or never buy another outfit. However, it will help you know if your decisions are helping you achieve financial health.

  1. Consolidate Debt

One of the biggest outflows is often in credit card debt. If you owe a lot of money on debt, consider your options. You may want to look into debt consolidation, or speak with a financial advisor.

Many programs exist to help individuals reduce high-interest credit card debt into manageable monthly payments.

  1. Practice Daily Habits

Similar to building physical health, daily habits will benefit your financial health. It’s important to consider what you’re already doing well, so you can do more of it. On the other hand, it’s useful to notice problem areas, so you can take action to build new habits.

Here are some habits that may be useful as you work towards financial health.

  • Pay down your debt
  • Evaluate monthly spending
  • Use cash to pay for daily expenses
  • Invest in retirement accounts
  • Choose high interest savings accounts
  • Increase your income with gig jobs
  • Focus on free activities
  • Include friends in building healthy habits

 

  1. Build An Emergency Fund

One of the biggest stressors in financial health is the uncontrollable, unpredictable events. You may have the day-to-day managed and locked down. But, do you have extra cash on hand if a major appliance breaks? Do you have extra cash if your car needs new tires, or you need to fly home to take care of a sick relative?

Financial experts often advise people to start building an emergency fund – even if you aren’t in the free-and-clear yet. You could do this by setting up a savings plan for yourself, such as saving $11 a day for three months. In three months, you’d have an emergency fund of $1000 or after longer a small investment fund should you look into real estate or the stock market to let some percentage of your emergency fund work for you.

While this may not seem like a lot for some people, it can make all the difference. It will reinforce your saving habits, reduce stress, and keep you heading in the right direction.

  1. Take Steps Today

It’s often said that the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. When you’re building habits for financial health, take that first step today.

If you’re wondering what you could do right away, here is a short starter-kit of ideas.

  • Make an overview snapshot of your financial health today
  • Write down spending habits of the last week
  • Make a mind-map about free activities in your neighborhood
  • Make a list of friends to contact
  • Create a monthly budget
  • Research gig jobs on Craigslist to boost your income

Wrap Up

You can build smart habits for your financial health. What is the first step you want to take today?

Cost-Effective Solutions for Managing Common Menopause Symptoms

By definition, menopause occurs twelve months after a woman’s last menstrual cycle, marking the end of her child-bearing years. The entire menopausal transition, however, lasts an average of 7 to ten years. During this time, the production of hormones decreases, resulting in many uncomfortable symptoms that may continue for years.

The experience of menopause can vary greatly. Some women may only have mild discomfort, while others have more problematic and long-term symptoms.

The only treatments for menopause are those that seek to reduce its symptoms. Doctors may use hormone replacement therapy to achieve this.

But before starting any medications such as those used in hormone replacement therapy, try making a few lifestyle changes to manage your symptoms. Doctors recommend making changes like these for at least three months before committing to hormone replacement, which has risks of its own.

Fortunately, there are many safe and affordable menopause symptom relief options. Here are four of the most common symptoms of menopause and some tactics to combat them.

Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are the most common symptom of menopause. Caused by a hormonal imbalance, they can make you distressingly hot for no apparent reason. They cause flushing of the face, sweating, a rapid heartbeat, and chills. If hot flashes happen in the middle of the night, they are called night sweats. Night sweats interrupt your sleeping pattern, which will add to daytime stress and fatigue.

Although hot flashes are an uncomfortable disruption, you can minimize their impact if you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Carry a portable fan and water mister spray bottle.
  • Avoid alcohol, spicy foods, and caffeine.
  • Dress in layers so you’ll have more control over your body temperature.
  • Keep your bedding layered so you can easily remove blankets when hot flashes strike.
  • Use bamboo bed linens and pajamas.
  • Keep yourself hydrated.
  • Try natural supplements such as Black Cohosh, Red Clover, Soy, or Vitamin E.

Sleep Problems

It isn’t only night sweats that keep women from sleeping well. The production of progesterone, a calming hormone that induces sleep, declines drastically during menopause. Here are some strategies to help you get the sleep you need:

  • Follow a sleep schedule by waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day.
  • Establish a bedtime routine. Read a book, listen to calming music, meditate or soak in a bath.
  • Turn off your television, computer, and phone because blue light waves suppress melatonin production.
  • Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.
  • Avoid caffeine for six hours before bedtime.
  • Don’t nap in the late afternoon or evening. Even a short power nap can disrupt your sleep schedule.
  • Try using melatonin supplements.

Weight Gain

Many women unexpectedly gain weight during and after menopause because metabolism slows. You will need to eat less and exercise more to maintain your current weight. A common reaction is to go on an overly restrictive diet plan that will ultimately fail. A better approach is to gradually introduce a diet filled with an abundance of healthy foods.

Foods to include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Calcium-rich foods such as milk and low-fat yogurt
  • Lean meat, poultry, fish, and eggs
  • Nuts and beans
  • Whole-grain bread, cereal, and pasta

Mood Instability

Some chemicals made by the body, such as dopamine and serotonin, help to regulate mood. Unfortunately, the production of these chemicals slows down when estrogen levels decline, leading to anxiety and depression.

Getting restful sleep and eating a healthy diet will help regulate mood swings, and relaxation techniques will also help. Here are a few to try:

  • Meditation
  • Guided Imagery
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Aromatherapy using essential oils such as lavender or chamomile
  • Yoga
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Tai chi
  • Massage

Lifestyle Changes That Can Save You Big Money

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the coronavirus pandemic caused an undue amount of harm to the nation’s economy. Many businesses lost millions of dollars as operations were shut down or altered. States jumped in to provide financial assistance to residents in need, leaving their resources all but tapped out. As a result, hard-hit industries have no choice but to raise prices to recover some of the damage.

You’re already hanging on by a thread. Now, you’re expected to sustain a decent life with higher prices and a limited budget. Though there’s nothing you can do about inflation or the economy, you can make things easier to afford. By identifying and correcting poor lifestyle habits, you can reduce financial waste and add to your budget. Continue reading for suggestions.

Go Green

Eco-friendliness is vital to the environment. It’s also a beneficial practice for your health and budget. You’d think that with so many advantages that there would be more people living more green lifestyles. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, as most people are stuck in their ways. They consume more natural resources than they need and generate a lot of waste despite the adverse effects.

If you want to see more money in your budget, switching to green or eco-friendly practices can make a difference. Simple energy and water reduction methods like turning off lights when they’re not used or taking shorter showers can lower your utility bills. Starting a garden reduces your grocery bills and ensures that you’re eating the freshest ingredients possible for an improved quality of life.

The list of waste reduction tips is extensive. So, evaluate your daily habits and assess which methods work best for your lifestyle and budget.

Take Care Of Your Health

Most people are aware of the benefits of diet, exercise, and other healthy habits are to their well-being. However, not everyone understands its significance to your finances. When you don’t invest in your physical and emotional health, it increases your risk of serious medical problems. These problems ultimately lead to you paying more for health insurance, co-pays, treatments, and prescriptions.

If taking charge of your health to sustain a better quality of life isn’t enough to convince you to change your ways, perhaps the prospect of saving hundreds of dollars each year can. Incorporate healthier eating and regular physical activity into your schedule.

You should also ensure that you maintain medical appointments for preventative care and treatment. Whether it’s getting a physical and lab work from your primary care physician or cleanings and x-rays with a dentist Lake Zurich (or wherever you live), these appointments help keep your physical and mental health intact. The same is true for people with existing medical conditions. Keeping your appointments and following the expert’s advice makes your condition more manageable and, therefore, more affordable.

Live Below Your Means

Though low salaries and high cost of living make it challenging to save money and manage your finances, habits like overspending also come into play. Society has led many people to believe that it is better to go broke on things you essentially don’t need, despite the consequences. So, consumers dig themselves into significant debt, buying everything from the latest technology to elaborate homes and cars they can’t afford. Although it feels good in the moment, when the debt catches up to you, it’s another story.

If you want to find more savings in your budget every month, you have to get serious about living below your means. While it may seem like a restrictive and unpleasant lifestyle at first, you’ll come to learn it’s an enhancement. You’ll reduce a lot of financial waste, have more money for the things you need, and ultimately learn ways to do something you enjoy without breaking the bank.

Restoring the economy after the pandemic is going to be an uphill battle for everyone. The best way to deal with this reality is to start making lifestyle changes like those listed above. By simply going green, taking better care of your health, and living below your means, you can increase the amount of money you have to put towards living a less stressful and happy life.