April 2023 | Wellness Connections
By Linda Wilcox
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
Money may be a little more on everyone’s minds this month with Tax Day right in the middle of April. Just like the need to eat and sleep, money is a piece of our everyday lives that plays a role in our overall wellness. Wellness is more than just physical health – it is multi-dimensional including physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, social, occupational, and financial health. Each area is interdependent and influenced by the others. When one area is out of balance or not working well, the other areas are affected, and all are vital for optimal health and well-being.
According to Forbes Advisor, “financial wellness is a relative measure of how well a person manages their financial life. Improving financial wellness is about practicing better money habits, setting goals, and taking steps to achieve them – all with the aim of improving your overall quality of life.”
There are plenty of ways to think about financial wellness and plenty of money “advice” floating around, it can be hard to know what part of financial wellness is best for you to tackle. Here are five common areas of finances to consider.
1. Create and stick to a budget.
A budget is a plan for what’s coming in (your income) and what’s going out (your expenses). It helps you gain momentum in every area of your finances. If you already have a budget – Way to Go! If not, find a budgeting tool that works for you and start today.
2. Build up an emergency fund.
When you have an emergency fund, you are ready for the moments when “life happens” like car trouble, medical expenses, or a drippy faucet. Start with a goal of having $1000 in savings, then work on paying off debt, then build a fully funded emergency fund with 3-6 months of expenses. Knowing you have some money set aside lets you have confidence instead of worry.
3. Get out of debt.
Paying off debt may seem like a daunting task especially if you are dealing with some big numbers. Getting serious about paying off debt will help you move ahead with your money instead of it always going to payments. There are a lot of resources on how to pay off debt like the debt snowball from Ramsey solutions check it out:
4. Save up for retirement.
What’s your ideal retirement? You can make those dreams a reality with good retirement investments. Once you are debt-free and have a fully funded emergency fund in place start investing 15% of your household income for retirement and invest in your future.
5. Spend less and save more.
With some planning and intention with your money habits you can do just that – spend less and save more. A few tips: create and stick to a budget every month, find deals, use coupons, pay with cash, be able to say no, and a big one – plan your meals. Food is the category that is the easiest to overspend, meal planning helps to keep it in check. Spend Smart Eat Smart https://spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu/ – is a great resource from Iowa State Extension to help save money on food and eat well.
Being more conscious and in control of your finances is another step in your overall wellness goals. As always, you don’t have to do it all – start small and go from there.
WRITTEN BY YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BOOTCAMP INSTRUCTOR
Michelle Segar recently wrote a book, “No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Success.” 3 things struck me about her book. First, “We make most of our fitness decisions in what is called the motivation bubble.” This is that high motivation state at the beginning of the year after the holidays are over and we have stepped back on the scale. We panic and devise our exercise goals at that moment. The problem with the motivational bubble is that it doesn’t factor in reality. The business of life eventually wears us down and overtakes our fitness goals.
Secondly Michelle says that we need to, “Make exercise work by giving it a new meaning.” Recently I looked over my Bootcamp class and noticed two members doing the workout that I created all the while having a leisurely conversation. I realized was they were coming for the workout and the socialization. They redefined exercise as a social opportunity. That seems like a stronger motivation than just doing a workout.
Thirdly, Michelle Segar suggested we should, “Exercise for positive experiences in the moment rather than long term goals.” Your assignment is to write down how you feel during the day after you sleep in and compare that to how you feel during the day after you get up and do something active.
Now get out there and be active!
JUST FOR FUN…
Because laughter is good for the soul!!
“What do you do when an important supplement knocks on your door?
Linda is our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist that uses a balanced approach to health and wellness, focusing on nutrition, movement, sleep, and connecting you with other appropriate health resources.
Linda understands and recognizes the courage needed to take the first step in caring for yourself and starting your own health and wellness journey. Learn more about Linda’s services like individual wellness and nutrition consultations, ministry and church wellness consultations, and group presentations here!