Every decision we make in terms of what we eat and our level of physical activity has a direct impact on our bodies and health. The same concept can apply to our personal finances, and credit counselling plays an important role when it comes to healthy money management.
Some of us ignore the signs our bodies give us when we're making poor health choices. For example, we'll get stomach aches when we eat greasy food or feel dehydrated and light-headed when we don't drink enough water. Our finances can also give us warning signs when we make poor financial choices. For example, our credit scores can start to drop, or we'll incur overdraft fees. And sometimes we choose to ignore the financial warning signs too.
6 Steps to Living a Healthy and Wealthy Life
Whenever we try to change our habits and lifestyle, the first step is often the hardest. But by sticking to the following six steps, you can make the transition into financial well-being and start building your wealth.
Believe you can.
You have to truly believe financial wellness is attainable for you, and that these changes will result in a positive outcome for it to actually happen. Most of us start a new healthy lifestyle and give up after a few bumps. Others save and pay off debts only to find themselves splurging and not saving all over again. You must reinforce the notion that you can have a financially healthy life. Just be prepared for the bumps along the way, because they will happen.
Prepare for temptations and the unexpected.
Saving for emergencies, unexpected expenses or even allowing yourself a cheat day are all ways of taking control. If you've been routinely saving or eating healthy, one "cheat day" or small impulse purchase won't ruin everything you've worked hard for but keep it at just that. Remember, you don't have to make a cheat day into a cheat weekend or even month and you definitely don't need to overspend to be satisfied. Remember the simple rules of needs vs. wants to help prevent over-spending or unhealthy choices.
Know your numbers!
It will amaze you how much insight you'll have simply by knowing some key figures. Just like you might weigh yourself weekly or monitor your calorie intake when taking control of your health, you must know your financial numbers when taking control of your financial well-being, like your debt-to-income ratio or how much money you have coming in versus how much you have going out on a month-to-month basis. (Our free Budget Planner and Budget Tracker can definitely help in that department!)
Knowing your numbers lets you really measure progress, and monitoring your progress can help you keep track of how far you’ve come, which in turn helps keep you motivated. For example, being able to see your debt shrink as you increase your monthly payments and/or your savings grow can be really empowering.
Sometimes we just need someone there with us for the journey. Trying to make lifestyle changes can feel overwhelming when you feel you're all alone and lost. Just like a personal trainer can help guide you through the trials and tribulations of getting healthy, our certified credit counsellors can do the same for you and your finances. For example, debt management with a non-profit credit counselling agency, like Credit Canada, or enrolling into Debt Consolidation Program can be a convenient and stress-free way of conquering your debts.
Plan for modest splurges, so when you achieve your financial goals you can truly celebrate! For example, when you pay off a certain debt, celebrate by going out for dinner or ordering take out. There's nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for doing well, as long as it's within your budget. It makes the entire process easier to do and less like a dreaded task.
Consistency and repetition.
Just like one healthy meal won't make you fit, one good financial decision won't necessarily make you financially savvy overnight. Consistency is key. Continue making good decisions for both your wealth and health and see how quickly your perspective on life changes.
Free Debt Relief Help
Taking control of your finances and making progress on your financial goals feels really good once you start. But if you're anything like the 50% of Canadians living paycheque to paycheque, knowing where or how to start can be a challenge. If you want some extra advice or you're struggling with debt, we're always happy to help. Just give us a call at 1.800.267.2272. All of our counselling is 100% free and confidential.