Money may not buy happiness, but it sure does impact our well-being. Financial stress is one of the leading causes of anxiety and depression in today’s society. Do you feel content with your finances?
It’s essential to learn how to manage money and be content with your current financial situation. The concept of being content with our money may seem unattainable, but it’s not. In this blog post, we will discuss five tips for being content with your finances no matter where you are in your financial journey.
1. Find Something to Be Grateful For
In order to be content with your finances, you need to stop and find something to be grateful for. No matter what your situation is, there’s always something to be grateful for. I started writing in a gratitude journal a few years ago and it was life-changing. It just takes me 1-2 minutes each morning to jot down some things I’m grateful for. This helps shift my perspective from what I don’t have to what I do have.
Stop and consider something that’s going well in regard to your money. Were you able to pay your rent or mortgage on time? Did you recently find a great deal on a piece of furniture? Were you able to go on a coffee date with your spouse? Start expressing gratitude for these things.
Everyone has stuff they wish they could afford or improve, but if your focus remains there, you will be discontent. Instead of worrying about the fact that you haven’t been able to afford to dine out in the past month, you can still express gratitude for the ability to get groceries and prepare warm, home-cooked meals.
2. Set Realistic Goals
The next step to being content with your finances is to set realistic goals. You might be tempted to compare your financial status to friends or family, but everyone’s situation is unique. Take some time to assess your current financial situation and set achievable goals. Make a list of your expenses, debts, and income. With a clear understanding of your financial status, it’ll be easier to set achievable goals.
I personally love the idea of setting microgoals. These are small goals that can usually be achieved in 30 days or less. Consider doing this when it comes to your finances. Here are some examples of realistic micro-goals that will get you motivated and making progress:
- Track your spending for 30 days
- Say no to 5 unplanned purchases
- Transfer $25 to your savings account and keep it there
- Start monitoring your credit
- Collect 3 quotes for cheap car insurance
- Switch to a more affordable prepaid phone plan
Sometimes, we can overwhelm and stress ourselves out by setting big, unrealistic goals. Always break your financial goals down into chunks (the smaller the better) and celebrate your milestones.
3. Find a Winning Budgeting Strategy
Once you have a clear idea of your expenses and income, it’s time to create a budget. Not just any budget, but a budget you can stick to. A budget is just a spending plan that helps you gain a better handle on your money so you can spend it more purposely.
The good news is that there are so many ways to budget. You can do line-item budgeting, where you list out all your expenses and income for the month. Of, you may want to percentage-based budgeting and divide up your needs, wants, and savings goals.
Be honest about what you like and don’t like when it comes to a budgeting strategy. If you prefer cash envelopes, stick with that. Or, if you love spreadsheets and the convenience of a budgeting app, use that.
Just don’t give up on the idea of budgeting your money. Be sure to budget for fun and hobbies, even if it’s just a small amount so you don’t feel deprived. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt gratitude for having a budget when unexpected expenses pop up. If you’re budgeting effectively, you may have a little money left over to save each month.
Saving money is a crucial part of being content with your financial situation. It’s always nice to have a cushion for unexpected expenses or emergencies. Start saving by cutting back on unnecessary expenses. For example, consider reducing your dining out and entertainment costs, or look for lower utility rates and change your insurance plans. The savings may seem small, but it can add up over time.
4. Live Within Your Means and Stop Comparing
Comparison is the thief of joy. If you want to be content with your finances, you need to prioritize living within your means and not comparing yourself to others. When we bought our first home a few years ago, I made sure it was a house we could afford. It was a great starter home and didn’t have a lot of special frills. We had a great deck and fenced backyard as well as a nice fireplace in the family room, but no dishwasher, or master bathroom, and there was very little kitchen counter space.
We also compromised on some of the things we wanted initially, but I was so grateful that we didn’t become house poor. We chose to live within our means and not care about what other people thought. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have, we made small updates to the home, decorated it, and made tons of memories in that house that I’ll always cherish. We learned to be content.
It’s crucial to have realistic expectations of what you can afford. Living beyond your means will only lead to financial stress and unhappiness. Create a budget and stick to it, prioritizing your essential expenses and leaving room for leisure activities. By doing so, you may find that you have more peace of mind and more opportunities to enjoy life.
If you struggle with comparing your life to the next person, realize that everyone else is on a different journey and you are comparing apples to oranges. People also have a lot of struggles that you might not know about. Purpose to spend less time on social media and work to find joy in the different aspects of your life.
5. Acknowledge How Far You’ve Come
Lastly, be grateful for your current financial situation. Don’t focus on what you don’t have and instead appreciate what you do have. Celebrate your small wins, such as paying off a debt or reaching a savings goal. Also, stop and acknowledge how far you’ve come. Don’t just rush on to the next big thing after you’ve hit a financial milestone.
I personally like to take time at the middle and end of the year to slow down and process what I’ve accomplished, even if it was just making it through work and my basic financial responsibilities. Being content with your finances allows you to have a positive outlook on life, and it also impacts your relationships, happiness, and overall well-being.
Being content with your finances is achievable with the right mindset and some compassion for your situation. Be sure to set realistic goals, settle on the right budgeting method for your needs, and practice expressing gratitude for your present situation. These tips can help you navigate through financial stress and lead a happy and fulfilling life. Take control of your finances and practice these tips to be content with your financial situation even when times get tough or money is tighter than usual.