This post was originally written in 2018, but I thought this might be a good time to review our financial wellness, so I’m reposting with a couple of updates. Many of us have taken a hit financially because of this pandemic, so having some resources to help us through this could help us keep our financial dimension of wellness in good shape.
Are there ever times you feel you have more month than money? Do you absolutely dread an emergency home repair because you know you can’t afford it? There’s a dimension of wellness that we don’t really like to discuss. Even though finances are something we least like to talk about, it’s something a lot of people worry the most about.
What Is Financial Wellness?
So what is financial wellness? Many people think that financial wellness means having lots of money, but that isn’t necessarily the case. SAMHSA defines financial wellness as “satisfaction with current and future financial situations” and UC Davis adds that it “involves the process of learning how to successfully manage financial expenses.” Regardless of the amount of money you have, if you can pay your bills and are satisfied with where you are with your financial situation, your financial dimension is probably in pretty good shape.
However, just as with the other dimensions of wellness, if our finances aren’t where we’d like them to be they have the potential to affect other areas of wellness as well. Financial woes can cause stress, which in turn can affect our emotional dimension, and if the stress becomes chronic it can affect the physical dimension as well. As if that weren’t enough, our relational dimension can also be affected, especially if you have partners who aren’t on the same page when it comes to financial matters.
It’s not all bad news though. The truth is, no matter where we are right now, financial wellness is within our grasp. I’m not going to pretend that if you’re struggling financially you’re going to be able to snap your fingers and everything will suddenly be better. It takes hard work and discipline, but by taking small steps every day, before you know it, you’ll be able to look at your wellness wheel and see that you don’t have a flat spot in your financial dimension anymore.
If you could use some help in the financial wellness dimension, there are some great resources out there. Take a look at some I found.
Financial Planning Resources
www.crown.org – Crown Financial Ministries – I can’t say enough about Crown! Back when we were so broke we couldn’t even pay attention, I was able to use Crown’s free resources to help me get a real look at our financial situation and get on the road to financial wellness. This is a ministry, but please don’t let this dissuade you if you’re not religious. You don’t even have to give them any information to use their free resources. Just go to their home page (above), click on Resources, then click on Personal Finance, where you’ll see categories like Budgeting, Planning, Calculators, etc. Once you click on a category, you’ll see options for all different kinds of things you can use to help you make a spending plan, pay down debt, and start saving for the future.
www.daveramsey.com – Dave Ramsey is the founder of Financial Peace University, a program designed to help people get out of debt, stay out of debt, and save for their future. Their mission statement is “Ramsey Solutions provides biblically based, common-sense education and empowerment that give HOPE to everyone in every walk of life.”
www.consumercredit.com – I haven’t used this website personally, but they have lots of financial worksheets and calculators to help with budgeting and preparing for the future. Just go to the bottom of their home page (above), Click on Financial Education, then choose Budgeting for things such as budget worksheets and daily expense tracking or Financial Calculators to help you see how much house you can afford, how much interest a loan will cost you, or travel budgeting.
I’m a big “pen on paper” kind of person — for me, writing everything down helps cement it in my mind and gives it weight — but I know a lot of people don’t want to be bothered with filling out worksheets and writing things down. Not to worry, I found some resources for you too.
- Mint – This one was rated 4.8 stars by users, and it’s free to use, though it does have in-app purchases available. The description reads “the free, effortless way to manage your money in one place.” I think this one links up with your banks accounts, which I wouldn’t be comfortable with, but for anyone who likes that convenience, it looks useful.
- Goodbudget – This one was rated 4.7 stars, it’s also free to download, and it’s described as “a personal finance app for budget planning and money management.”
- Spending Tracker – Another free one, this one also received 4.7 stars, and it’s description is that it is “the easiest and most user friendly app in the store.”
TheBalance.com has a list of The 8 Best Personal Finance Apps of 2020, which is categorized specific financial goals, such as paying off debt, managing subscriptions, bill payment, etc.. I’d recommend you check them out as well.
As with everything else where wellness is concerned, each individual is different, with different needs and desires. We each have to find what works for us. Sometimes that takes a little experimentation with the different tools we have available to us. As always, the first step is knowing where we are in relation to where we want to be and taking that first step forward.
What financial resources have you found most helpful? Do you have any tips to share? Please let us know!