Financial wellness is just as important of a branch on the wellness tree as any other, yet it is easy for many to push our personal finances aside. We could put our finances on the backburner because we don’t understand the subject or because we have negative emotions tied to money.
But financial wellness coach and TaskHuman provider Alyse Archer is here to help you. She recently sat down with Provider Jamie Carroll and host of the TaskHuman Talks podcast to outline some of her basic (and critical) financial advice.
The takeaway is that we can control how we spend money, even during uncertain economic times. An awareness of how and why we spend what we spend will help us reach financial freedom for good.
Here’s how she breaks her financial advice down:
When you know exactly how much money you spend and what you spend it on, it clarifies your spending habits. Think about it like information gathering or research. You just need to know what is happening. When you know, you can then detect patterns and make thoughtful and educated decisions about your money.
According to Coach Alyse, tracking spending gives you a better idea of your habits overtime, which puts you in control. It allows you to notice small amounts that add up over time, which you might not have noticed before.
“So many people say, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize I spent that much on that,’” she says.
Once you understand what you typically spend your money on, it gives you the freedom to decide how you actually want to spend it.
The next step after tracking your spending is to create a budget. You need to determine how much monthly income you have, how much in bills you’re paying, and how much you need for various needs.
This is when expense reduction strategies can come in handy, especially if your income has shifted downward recently.
Coach Alyse advocates for working to lower all of your bills. In her experience, most companies are willing to give you a better deal to keep you as customers and to honor the current global challenges during the pandemic.
“Any bill is negotiable,” she says
Even bills most people don’t consider negotiating for, like garbage or gas can be reduced.
“You’d be surprised how many businesses are willing to work with you,” Coach Alyse says.
Coach Alyse cautions that creating a budget doesn’t mean you’re done. You need to make sure the budget works for you, especially if your situation changes. Holding true to a budget you created when you had more (or less!) income doesn’t help you because it doesn’t accurately reflect your current situation.
A budget only works when you stick to it (provided you created and updated it well!). Overspending is easy. Stores are designed to encourage us to part with our money, and it can happen quickly.
She also points out that people spend 12-18% more money when they pay with plastic. When you pay with cash, you force yourself to be more discerning because you don’t want to be short on cash when you’re at the register.
Coach Alyse explains that you need to have a clear understanding of what your needs and wants are. And, again, there’s no judgement here. If you decide you need something, that’s ok, but you should decide before you’re in the store making decisions on the fly.
“Money in and of itself is just a thing,” she says. “It’s the behaviors and people’s attitudes and beliefs that drive how you spend and where you spend money.”
Sticking to your list and using critical judgement for impulse purchases will help you stay closer to your budget.
Holidays and other large events have a way of derailing even some of the most seasoned budgeters. But they don’t have to throw you off track. According to Coach Alyse, it comes down to planning.
“The holiday season isn’t a surprise,” she says. “You know when it’s coming every year.”
To plan ahead for the holidays or a big event, like a wedding or vacation, you need to have a clear idea of who you want to buy for and how much money you can spend overall. Narrow down what you want to spend per person.
Coach Alyse advocates for using cash or debit cards for these purchases because once you spend the money, it’s gone. Using a credit card makes it too easy to go over budget just a little each time you buy, which can add up by the end.
She is also a believer in couponing and thinks it doesn’t have to be daunting. Just do an internet search for the store you’re planning to shop in. You can keep the downloadable coupons on your phone and printed coupons in your car. That way, they’re always with you when you’re out.
“Be prepared,” she says. “If you have your things available with you all the time, then you can take care of it.”
One of the most important things you can do for your financial wellness is work with a professional. Like seeing a personal trainer, clean eating coach, or doctor, a financial wellness provider will help you make sure you’re making decisions that move you toward your goals- whatever they are.
“Everybody is on their own financial journey,” Coach Alyse says.
Society has conditioned many of us to think that talking about our finances has to feel awkward, but the benefits of working with a provider outweigh any initial discomfort. Coach Alyse believes the TaskHuman app is a game-changer for financial wellness.
“The amazing thing about TaskHuman and adding this financial wellness platform is that it doesn’t matter where you are in your journey,” she says. “You have the opportunity to talk to somebody in a safe space 1 -on- 1 that can help you navigate this process.”
To listen to Alyse’s full podcast episode, click here.
Getting financially fit will impact your overall wellness. You will feel more in control of your future when you understand your finances. If you’re ready to explore where you are on your financial wellness journey, connect with a live TaskHuman provider via 1 -on- 1 video call today.