In recent years, there has been a big push and concentration around Self Care, and for good reason. Burn out is real! Stress is real! And we've all heard the proverbial saying: You can't pour from an empty cup. But one area that is often neglected, is financial self care. Do right by yourself and consider a few of these financial self care tips.
Check Your Credit Report
Many of us are so hung up on our credit score, but let's not forget about the oh so important credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, Experian) each year. You can check your reports by going directly to the credit bureaus website. You are also entitled to your credit report whenever your credit is pulled (such as when an employer or loan application requires a credit check).
When reviewing your credit report, look for any false information such as
Accounts that you didn't open
Late payments older than 7 years
Bankruptcies older than 10 years
Incorrect personal info such as age, DOB, address, occupancy
If you find information that is incorrect, you can report it directly online to the credit bureau. Staying on top of your credit is not only financial self care, but it helps you keep an eye on identity theft by ensuring everything is accurate.
It's important to note that credit bureaus do not share information so if information is inaccurate on one report, be sure to check all three to see if the fallacy is on multiple reports.
Revisit Your Subscriptions
There is literally a subscription for everything! Don't let me get started on just the tv/entertainment subscriptions (Hulu, HBO Max, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney +, Peacock, etc). Comb through your bank or credit card statements and make a list of all subscriptions and see if they all still bring value to you and cancel the ones you don't want anymore. You'll save money and the guilt of feeling like needing to continue to useless subscriptions just because you're paying for it.
Subscriptions I love and decided to keep:
National Geographic (we also use the magazines in our homeschool curriculum)
Laithwaites - Wines of the World (because who doesn't need a good class of wine after a long day)
Audible (I love to read but I just don't have the time, so I listen while I walk or drive)
Make An Extra Debt Payment
Debt can be a source of stress and anxiety. Making an additional debt payment can cut down on the amount of interest charged over the life of the debt and get you closer to debt payoff. If you don't already have a budget, go here to grab a FREE budget and net worth template. Once you complete the budget, you can determine how much you have left to attribute to your debt. Less debt and less stress and anxiety is a form of financial self care.
Invest on Autopilot
Set it and forget it! Set up your monthly, biweekly or bimonthly automatic payments. If you're already contributing to your employer sponsored retirement plan, then you're a step ahead of the game. If you want to go a step further, open a Roth IRA (contribution limits apply) or a Brokerage account and set up an automatic investing schedule through your Brokerage account. My absolutely fav Brokerage firm is E*Trade. I've had accounts with them for years! Financial self care is preparing for your future by investing.
Shop Insurance Quotes
When was the last time you actively pursued a new quote on home owners insurance, renters insurance, car insurance or even life insurance? Getting a free quote could save you hundreds of dollars each year. I recently sought a new quote on home owners insurance and was shocked to find a cheaper policy with more coverage.
There's a caveat to this one. If you have a bundle discount, keep that in mind before switching policies. For instance, if you have bundled auto and home owners insurance, make sure to see if your new quote includes the same bundled option or make arrangements for a new policy if there is no bundle option. Knowing that you are getting the best deal and saving money on insurance is a form of financial self care.
Self care can look different for everyone because but one thing is for sure, taking the time to care for our financial needs is a form of self care. You don't have to go and do all 5 at once, but start with one and see how you feel.
Another key point here is to involve your kids in the process. Start to teach them about financial self care. For instance, explain to them that we are abundantly blessed but it may not be necessary to keep all 5 streaming subscriptions and how that can save the family money. Or view your credit report with them and just highlight the type of information that appears on a credit report. If you need help teaching your young ones about money, investing, credit etc, sign them up for one of my Live Financial Literacy for Kids class.