How to Keep a Side Hustle and a Day Job Simultaneously

While it seems as if everyone is turning a side hustle into a full-time gig, the reality is not everyone wants to do that. Heck, not everyone even should do that!

Contrary to how you may be feeling, it doesn’t make you any less of a business owner to keep your day job. That being said, you do need to find ways to stay sane during all of this. After all, you’ll be working quite a bit.

Tip #1: Prioritize self-care.

If you want to keep a side hustle and a day job, you will need to prioritize self-care. If you don’t, you will likely lose your mind with all the work you have to do.

Back in the day, I had a regular job, a side hustle and I was taking classes for a certification simultaneously. I had almost zero time for anything outside of that and the time that I did have was spent exercising.

Whether it was yoga or kickboxing, I was at the gym twice a week no matter what. This gave me the energy I needed to keep hustling and helped me deal with the stress related to the pressure I was under.

Tip #2: Know how much money you want to make on the side (and why)

I recently interviewed someone who has three businesses on the side of his day job. His success has a lot to do with the fact that he knew exactly what he wanted – to be financially independent by the age of 35.

Because he was so clear on what he wanted, he knew how much he wanted to earn and how. This allowed him to maximize the time he had outside of his job so that he could create three profitable businesses.

Tip #3: Take your side hustle seriously anyway.

Just because your side hustle isn’t your full-time gig doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. In fact, you should see it as a business like any other.

The problem many people run into is they don’t see their side hustles seriously. They just think it’s a hobby or a way of making some extra money – not necessarily a business.

This leads to problems in a few ways. First, you lose motivation to work on it. Second, because you don’t take it seriously then you allow other things to easily get in the way of growing your business.

Before you know it, you no longer have a side hustle that is providing you with extra income and you’ve reverted back to just having a day job.

Tip #4: Build a team.

While all business owners need to think about building a team, I would argue that it’s especially important with a side hustle. The reason is that you have limited time to create an extra source of income.

While I was recently interviewing people who successfully kept a side hustle on the side of their day jobs, I noticed they all focused on having team members. They wanted to remove themselves from certain tasks so they could focus their limited time on making more money.

Final Thoughts

It’s more than acceptable to choose to keep your side hustle as a side hustle. After all, not everyone needs to be self-employed full-time. Just make sure that you still take it seriously so you can create another source of income.


6 Affordable Ways to Become Your Healthiest Self

You may have cheated on your diet too many times this year or paid for a gym membership that you only used twice. Sound familiar?

Indeed, I’ve been there. Two years ago, I was working at a job I didn’t like and my harmful habits were not what I would call mentally, physically, and financially healthy. I sat all day, snacked on junk food and candy, and was too overwhelmed to manage my money properly.

I turned things around and so can you. With 2018 right around the corner, this is the perfect opportunity to make positive changes and improve your health. To get started, check out these  6 easy and affordable tips.

1. Get More Sleep

Getting enough sleep at night is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health and restore your energy each day. Plus, it’s absolutely free!

With this said, 40% of adults state they get less than the recommended amount of sleep each night, according to a Gallup poll. This isn’t good news because you should be getting at least eight hours of sleep each night in order to fully rest and restore.

If you aren’t getting sufficient sleep, make a commitment to go to bed earlier or wake up a little later if possible. This may involve cutting some tasks out of your schedule and having a more productive morning and nightly routine, but it will be well worth it.

2. Drink Enough Water

It’s ideal to drink about two liters (eight 8-ounce glasses) of water per day. Most of us, however, fall short of this goal and may become dehydrated without realizing it.

To increase your water intake, start tracking it daily. You can also infuse your water with fresh fruit if you think it will improve the taste. Last year, I bought a 22-ounce water bottle and it was an easy way to train myself to drink more water on the go. I knew that once I filled up my water bottle for a third time during the day, I was getting closer reaching my daily water intake goal.

3. Find Out Exactly Where Your Money is Going

Financial health can also contribute to your physical and mental health. If you’re stressed about money, it’s a good idea to keep an updated budget and this way you’ll know exactly where your money is going.

For starters, clarify how much you’re earning each month and make a list of all your expenses. See if there’s any money leftover to make extra debt payments. And, make sure you’re not racking up unnecessary bank charges, as this can put a strain on your finances. If this is the case, consider switching banks.

The next steps to getting your finances in order include building up a rainy day fund and automating your savings. Lastly, it’s now time to focus on going after your long-term goals.

4. Reduce Your Sugar Intake

Consuming sugary foods and beverages can be a hard habit to get rid of because sugar can be addicting. Yet, you don’t have to go cold turkey right away.

To start cutting down on sugars, read the labels whenever you buy something. Some code words for sugar include lactose, malt syrup, cane crystals, crystalline, and fructose (i.e. high fructose corn syrup). Once you see these words on the ingredient label, try to swap them out for healthier options. For example, perhaps you can switch to a less-sugary breakfast cereal, or replace your fruity yogurt with plain Greek yogurt and then add fresh fruit on your own.

Passing on sugary foods and better yet – cooking at home – will also help you save money and perhaps even make more money.

5. Make Time to Exercise

When your schedule gets busy, exercise is one of the first things to go. But, you can make changes to fit exercise into your life.

First, you need to make a real commitment based on your own needs and goals. For example, while you may not be able to do a hardcore gym session daily, you can try working out at least three days a week to start.

You also don’t need a gym membership if it’s not in your budget. You can go for walks or run around the neighborhood, rent exercise DVDs from the library, watch videos online, or download an app. To find time to exercise, I’d recommend bumping it up in your schedule so you can get it out of the way early in the morning before work. You can also find a friend who wants to exercise with you.

6. Prioritize Self Care

If you’re overwhelmed, worn out, and just plain exhausted, make it a point to prioritize self-care. Self-care involves making your health and well-being a priority by listening to and attending to what your body needs long-term.

To start practicing self-care, I recommend creating a list of things that energize and inspire you, as well as things that deplete you. This way you’ll know exactly what brings you joy and motivation, and what drains your energy and happiness. Use this list as a guide to make long-lasting lifestyle changes.

Commit to YOU

As you can see, there are plenty of ways to improve your health without spending tons of money. It all starts with your commitment to a better lifestyle that will reward you physically, mentally, and financially.

Are you ready to become healthier in 2018?


How I Came Clean About My Debt Without Feeling Shame

Being in debt can feel like the worst thing in the world, especially if most of your debt is high-interest consumer debt that you brought upon yourself for spending more than you earn.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

When I first realized the extent of my debt, I felt shame and embarrassment. For these reasons, I kept my money issues to myself. But, I needed to deal with it somehow, so I started an anonymous blog to talk about my debt. I also did this to stay accountable to myself as I worked toward improving my finances. I kept my debt secret for a long time and didn’t disclose my financial state to anyone I knew personally, including my friends and family.

Why We Feel Shame About Debt

Looking back, I simply felt too much shame about the hole I had dug myself into. I now realize that the way I felt is not uncommon among those who find themselves mired in debt.

A report from WalletHub showed that the average credit card debt per household in mid-2017 was $7,996. And, even though debt is common, most people still feel a lot of shame when they can’t seem to pay off their mounting bills. Some of your shame may come from feeling incompetent when it comes to handling finances. Or, perhaps you’re embarrassed because you now recognize that you were blinded by the allure of spending using your credit card. But, there’s one thing that we can probably agree on: it’s not smart to get yourself into debt.

Another thing leading to feelings of shame and embarrassment: you may not feel comfortable talking about money. Thus, you don’t seek help. This can often result in a vicious cycle. You hide your money matters because you feel shame, plus you don’t talk about it. Instead, you put on a show and continue spending like nothing is wrong. All the while, you’re secretly stressing because you’re getting deeper and deeper into debt.

How I Got Over the Shame of Being in Debt

So, if you find yourself in this boat, what can you do to turn your money sitch around for the better?

Well, taking a page from my book, I recommend coming clean with yourself and your family about the extent of your debt. Trust me, I know it’s hard but if I can do it, you can too. Although I was nervous to share my financial problems, I can tell you this for sure: I no longer feel shame about my past financial situation. I stopped the cycle in its tracks. Plus, because I had been using my blog to tell Internet strangers about my finances for a year, revealing my debt had become more “normal” to me and this helped pave the way for me to talk about money with those I care about most.

Another big perk about my blog that I can share with you: many of my blog readers revealed stories about their own debt. This made me truly appreciate that I’m not alone, and neither are you.

Coming Clean to My Family

I remember it like it was yesterday. It was Christmas day when I came clean about my debt. Although it was a tough conversation to have, I felt good knowing that my family had a clear picture of what was going on. Plus, since I had already been working on improving my finances for about a year, I had a plan to get out of debt. To boot, I could show progress up to that point.

My family was supportive and made sure to tell me they were proud of me for taking charge of my finances and working to improve them.

Benefits of Being Honest About Your Finances

After the big debt reveal to my family, I realized that admitting your financial problems to your inner circle can have several benefits.

For instance, my friends and family now open up to me about their finances as well. Plus, we all work together to stay accountable and avoid overspending on impulse purchases and guilty pleasures. It’s no longer “weird” for us to talk about money, and we all benefit from the honest conversations.

Turn Your Guilt Around

Keep in mind that although it’s no fun to feel guilty about your debt, this can be a turning point for you. As you can see from my own experience, you can use your guilt and shame to propel you to change your behavior and work up the courage to come clean. You may be surprised by how supportive your friends and family are. They may even personally help you get your finances in shape. Take it from me, this is a better alternative than digging a deeper debt ditch.


Struggling With Money? Here’s Why You Need to Speak Up

It’s not easy to talk about money, especially when you’re not managing it well. In a society where appearances are sometimes more important than the truth, it’s easier to put on a good face — and maybe buy a shiny new car — than to admit that you’ve got money issues.

It doesn’t help that money is a taboo topic. According to a 2014 survey by the American Psychological Association, 32% of Americans feel uncomfortable talking about money with family. But even if you grew up thinking that talking about money is a no-no, here are 5 reasons why discussing your struggles is crucial to your financial future.

1. Vulnerability is empowering

The main reason it’s hard to talk about money problems is the fear of judgment. In some families or circles of friends, that fear is more than a mere possibility. But if you continue to act like nothing’s wrong, nothing will change.

Even if you don’t expect your family or friends to be super helpful, talk about it anyway. The act of sharing something you’re grappling with can give you the emotional strength to face it.

This process also forces you to be honest with yourself about your situation. Once you reach this point of self-honesty, it’s easier to take the next step and address it.

2. They might have some good advice

There may not be a financial advisor or money coach in your family or circle of friends, but that doesn’t mean your friends and family can’t offer guidance. Since they all deal with their personal finances on a daily basis just like you, they may have experiential knowledge that may be useful.

And, since money can be a tough topic to talk about, it’s likely that you don’t know what their experiences are until you ask. For example, if you’re considering bankruptcy, a family member or friend may be able to talk about a similar experience and how they got through it financially and emotionally.

Even if they don’t have experiences that they can draw upon, your family and friends may still know about some options that you haven’t considered yet. But again, you won’t know until you ask.

Along these lines, your inner circle may know of some good resources you can tap into. They may know a financial advisor or money coach that can help you out. Or perhaps they recently read a great book on managing finances, or know about some good websites that offer helpful advice on various personal finance topics.

3. They’re not perfect either

We’ve all made money mistakes.

Even if your family members or friends are in a good place financially, they may still be able to empathize with your situation based on past experiences. In some cases, that empathy can help you feel as if you’re not alone. It may also give you the confidence to get back on the right track.

4. They can keep you accountable

By reaching out for help, you may get more than you expect. For example, maybe someone in your inner circle will even volunteer to be your sounding board, aka accountability partner.

As you’re working toward improving your financial situation, having this partner can help you stay on track. For example, you can set up a time to chat with this person once a week to talk about how you’re doing. Or, if she has experience managing money, you can even ask her to take a look at your budget and help you see your blind spots.

5. They care about you

Above all, it’s important to understand that your family and friends care about you and want you to succeed.

This doesn’t mean that discussing money will be an easy conversation. It also doesn’t mean that your family and friends will have all the right answers. But it does mean that your loved ones will do anything they can to help you figure things out.

Next steps

Some of the best financial advice you can get comes from the people closest to you.

As you consider your situation, think about family members or friends that you feel most comfortable approaching to talk about your finances. And, if you don’t feel comfortable at all, push yourself a little. Once you get over that first conversation, your path forward will become a lot easier.


How to Avoid Falling Into the Money Comparison Trap

Everyone has one of those relatives. You know who I’m talking about—the ones who seem to be wildly successful in every area. Maybe your cousin just bought a house, or your sister just landed a high-paying job and just returned from an amazing vacation.

What’s even worse: these relatives aren’t afraid to talk about the latest and greatest around the holiday dinner table – as you quietly sit and listen. And then, as the conversation lulls, Uncle Bob turns to you and says, “so, what’s going on in your life now?”

It can be tough to resist comparing yourself to your more-successful relatives in these situations. Thankfully, there are a lot of ways you can get over this trap. Read on to learn more.

Luck is a bigger player than most people realize

Sure, your successful relative worked hard to get where she is. But, what people often don’t acknowledge is the role luck plays when it comes to getting ahead.

Your relative may have simply got lucky because she works in a well-paying field or lives in an area where real estate isn’t as expensive as the Northeast city you call home. Or, maybe your cousin Tom has never dealt with hardcore student loans because his parents paid for his college education. There are thousands of other ways your relatives may have ended up where they are today.

But, there’s good news too: you can also be lucky, maybe even in ways that your more-successful relatives aren’t. Maybe you have talents that they don’t have. Just think: you can use your talents to create a side hustle to earn extra money and improve your situation.

Move ahead financially

Good news! You’re not stuck where you are today. You can always improve your financial state.  

Remember when you graduated from the kids’ table to the adults’ table at holiday family gatherings? You can do the same thing and graduate to a better personal finance situation.

I’m not gonna lie and say it’ll happen overnight or it won’t take a lot of work. It’ll probably be quite the opposite, in fact. You’ll need to make sacrifices, get out of your comfort zone, and become more disciplined. Maybe it’ll even be harder for you than for others. But, you can do it.

Practice gratitude

You might have noticed a theme here. By being thankful for the things you do have, you can directly counteract the negativity surrounding your supposed “failures.” In fact, it’s been proven that showing gratitude can actually help your finances improve.

But how do you actually do this and make it stick?

For starters, it’s important to focus on rewiring your brain so you can instead see a more balanced side with the positive aspects of any given situation. This isn’t so easy because, as humans, we’re biologically hardwired to always recognize the negative side of things. To get around this, try keeping a daily gratitude journal and each day, write down three things that you’re grateful for and why.

It doesn’t have to be anything earth-shattering like “I was promoted to a director position.” It can literally be as simple as “I am grateful for the heat in my apartment” or “I am grateful I don’t have a serious health condition.” These are good things after all, right?

You can also practice gratitude rituals before regular daily occurrences. Saying a quick mental thanks every time you eat a meal or arrive home from work can go a long ways towards shifting your perspective from the negative to the positive.

Boast about your wins

Okay, so we aren’t advocating to actively compete with your relatives and rub your successes in their faces…but, a little boasting can help motivate you to continue to improve your situation.

Think about how great it will feel to show up at a family holiday gathering and say, “you know what? I’m debt-free now,” or “guess who just got a fantastic new job?”

Just remember, don’t become that person who won’t stop talking obsessively about his achievements. Let your relatives know how you’re faring financially, briefly bask in the glory, answer any of their questions, and move on to celebrate everyone else’s successes.

Wrapping up

Family holiday gatherings can be tough at this time of year, especially if you’re struggling to make ends meet and save money. But we also know that falling into the money comparison trap with your relatives can only serve to make this time of year more difficult.

To that end, if you remember these tips and stop comparing yourself to others, you can instead focus on more productive things—like moving ahead financially!


Being Frugal Doesn’t Mean You Have to Hate Life

When it comes to saving money, you’ve most likely heard stories about cheapskates who go to extremes to save a buck. You know, the couple who sold their worldly possessions to live in a van to save rent. The guy who, in an effort to crush his debt in record time, dumpster dives for his meals. Or the miserly couple who never go out and have fun because they don’t want to spend money on parking.

They all seem miserable, living deprived existences, quibbling over saving a few cents and denying themselves of the joys of life.

These extremists give the rest of us frugal types a bad rap. Yet, as someone who has been somewhat obsessed with saving money, I’ve learned that being frugal doesn’t mean missing out. Quite the opposite. It actually can be a lot of fun.

Here’s how you can approach frugality so it doesn’t mean hating life:

Cultivate an abundant mindset

This is probably the first and most important step. If you try to save money without adopting a mindset of abundance, you will feel deprived. You may, in turn, lapse back into your old ways, or go on a damaging spending spree. On the other hand, a new positive mindset may make you feel happy – without the need to purchase material things.

I let go of the notion that I need a fancy car, or expensive designer clothes to be happy. Instead, I try to make the most of what I already have. By doing this, I recognize that I have more than I need.

Go on a purge

When I went on a massive purge last year, I saw just how much stuff I can do without. That, coupled with the fact that going minimalist can be more expensive than you think, made me think twice about all the stuff I accumulate. In particular, purging is tedious and I certainly don’t want to deal with getting rid of stuff all over again.

Get creative

For me, frugality is enjoyable because it is all about getting creative with your resources. How many uses can you come up with an empty spaghetti jar? And what are some hacks to save money on cable, or groceries, or everyday expenses?

Gamifying saving makes things even more enjoyable. For instance, during a staycation I’ll try to find the best breakfast burrito for under six dollars – turning frugality into a game. And, I enjoy participating in my local Time Bank, which is a collective of people who barter services and goods for time.

Enlist the participation of your friends

Clothing swaps, using discount codes at restaurants, and convos about free and fun events around town are all things you can do to extend your frugal ways – while also help your pals save money. However, there is a fine line between forcing your ways on your friends and politely making suggestions. I always aim to do the latter and express that my frugal lifestyle works for me. With that, I typically only offer up suggestions when asked.

Celebrate your frugal wins

Sure, we all have frugal fails — think of the botched discounted dental work that ended up costing more in the long run, or trying to go without internet for a few weeks to save some money (true story.) But, hopefully, you’ll have plenty of frugal wins to celebrate.

For instance, I love talking about how I snagged shoes for a dollar at a yard sale (yes, you read that correctly,) or how I managed to cook a week’s worth of healthy meals for under $30. When you’re proud, others will notice and maybe they’ll want to jump on your frugal bandwagon.

Plan for “safe and frivolous” spending

Not too long ago I was on a call with financial therapist Amanda Clayman to help her with some research. I learned that while I am extremely prudent with my savings, I’m also wary of my financial outlook.

As you might’ve guessed, I have trouble spending money. Clayman recommended I plan for “safe fun” with my money, which means saving up for some frivolous spending. This can mean a weekend getaway, or splurging on a fancy road bike I’ve had my eye on. By planning ahead for “guilt-free” spending, I won’t jeopardize my savings goals.

As you can see, being frugal can be a lot of fun. Instead of feeling deprived, it’s a way to infuse creativity and resourcefulness into your daily life. It’s also a great way to feel good about what you have. To me, this is what being frugal is all about.


How to Avoid Burnout When You’re Trying to Get Ahead

If you find it challenging to pay bills while saving for your goals, you’re not alone. You may even be burning the midnight oil to start your own business.

While working long hours may help you save money faster, it can also lead to burnout. This stress-induced mental and physical exhaustion can result in a lack of motivation and affect job performance, according to a 2016 study by the Academy of Management.

Indeed, when you’re trying to get ahead, the last thing you want to do is sabotage your financial health – not to mention your physical and mental health. “Burned out people will continue making the wrong decisions,” said The Huffington Post and Thrive Global founder Arianna Huffington at a 2016 NYC event hosted by The KIND Foundation and Venture for America.

So, what can you do to avoid burnout while still getting ahead financially? Take a look at our 8 top tips.

1. Rise and shine

Sleeping in is something many of us wish we could do daily. However, waking up with the roosters will pave the way for a more productive and stress-free day. For starters, early risers are more proactive and better positioned for career success than their night-owl counterparts, according to one study. Not only that but many people, including myself, concentrate better earlier in the day.

You can use your extra morning time to answer emails, set appointments, check your Twitter feed and do other busy work that will free up time in your day for other tasks. You can also use your morning time to have a relaxing cup of coffee or even go for a brisk walk – energizing you for the day ahead.

2. Disconnect from technology before bed

For some of us, it’s hard to unplug at night. But, if you’re checking your emails late into the night, this can prevent you from getting enough sleep.

Daytime exhaustion means you won’t function at the top of your game – affecting your productivity and earnings potential.

Thrive Global’s Huffington recommends starting a nighttime ritual by putting your phone to bed at night and then going to sleep yourself. Sounds a bit corny, but Thrive believes in this premise so strongly that it even sells a Phone Bed Charging Station that is designed to look like a bed. The goal: To infuse a bedtime ritual that promotes unplugging, quality sleep and increased productivity.

3. Schedule breaks throughout your day

Regardless of what type of work you do, it’s important to remain focused so that you don’t waste your time on distractions.

To help you get going, pour your energy into a block of work and then take a 15-minute break. Continue this throughout your day. These breaks will energize you and help prevent burnout, according to the Harvard Business Review.

4. Take vacations

In order to truly unplug, it’s a good idea to get away from work and take a vacation at least once a year. Time away from work helps you recharge and return with renewed focus and passion for your job or side hustle.

In fact, according to a study published in the Harvard Business Review in 2015, vacations can result in greater productivity at work. Among other things, spending less time at your desk forces you to work more efficiently, according to the article.

To help you prepare to go on vacation, organize your work ahead of time by creating a master list of tasks with deadlines. Then, set up an out-of-office auto responder message on your email and allocate tasks to someone else in your absence.

Once on vacation, consider only using your phone for emergencies. In fact, while at your destination, you can leave your phone in a hotel room or a safe, or perhaps turn it to airplane mode so you can only use it as a camera. If you’re worried that you may have a difficult time ignoring work emails, try installing the Thrive Away app. The app does the dirty work for you and deletes new emails while you’re away, letting senders know when you’ll return to the office.

5. Automate your savings

Every little boost in your savings will help you reach your money goals faster. So why not get a little-added help that won’t stress you out or cost you a penny?

To get started, check out Chime Bank’s “Save When I Spend” feature. This automatically rounds up your Chime debit card transactions to the nearest dollar and transfers the round-up amounts into your savings account.

Don’t think this will make much of a difference for you? You may want to think again. According to Chime data, those enrolled in the bank account’s automatic savings programs saved over three times more per month than those not enrolled in an automatic savings program. Now, that’s a good way to stress less!

6. Exercise

When do you have time to exercise? Here’s the truth: You probably don’t have time. You’ve got to make the time.

It’s important to add physical fitness into your schedule because a lack of exercise can make you feel run down. Increased exercise, on the other hand, helps reduce anxiety and depression, according to the American Psychological Association. Better physical health can also lead to improved financial health.

7. Set boundaries

We get it. Earning and saving money is important. At the same time, your health and sanity depend on declaring an end to your work day and a start to your personal time. This takes discipline and requires setting boundaries.

This is easier said than done, especially if you work for a company that expects you to always be “on” and reply to emails late at night. If you find yourself in this situation with your employer, you may want to discuss your boundaries with your boss. For example, you can talk about times when you won’t be available to answer emails. These days, most employers recognize the importance of work-life balance and will respect you for coming forward.

When it comes to your side gig, setting boundaries may be a bit easier as you make your own rules. On the flipside, time is money and you may feel it’s imperative to respond immediately to a client or manager – even late at night or on a Sunday morning. If this sounds like you, you can choose to inform your clients that you’ll respond to their requests during regular business hours and then put your phone in another room so you can enjoy your downtime.

8. Stay balanced

There are indeed other steps you can take to reduce your stress and maintain balance, like getting more sleep, eating healthy, and starting a meditation practice. Regardless of what you do, remember not to let your work life consume your entire life. You worked hard to get to where you are today. You certainly don’t want to lose this momentum by burning out.

Banking Services provided by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.


You May Be Ignoring This Important Aspect of Your Health

Do you ever feel kind of down and stressed about your money sitch? If you nodded along, you’re not alone. In fact, the American Psychological Association stated in its recent report that 61 percent of people consider money a significant source of stress in their life.

While it’s normal to have some money stress from time to time, those who experience significant stress from money may be putting their mental health at risk.

A look at financial wellness

When it comes to health, many of you probably think about your physical health. For instance, if you’re sick, you go see a doctor. To a lesser extent, you might also think that your overall health means your mental health as well, especially if stress is taking a toll on your daily life.

But one area you may not consider or talk about when it comes to health is your financial health — also called financial wellness. Financial wellness is all about having your money in balance. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines financial well-being as:

  • Being in control of your day-to-day and monthly expenses
  • Being able to handle unexpected financial situations (such as your car breaking down)
  • Being on a path to meet your financial goals
  • Being able to use money as a tool in order to make choices and get the most out of life

As it turns out, many people aren’t doing too hot in the financial wellness department. According to the Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2016, three out of 10 adults are struggling just to get by financially. And, only 29 percent of adults surveyed stated that they are living comfortably.

The link between financial wellness and mental health

As noted above, many people already experience significant stress from money. Long-term stress, in turn, can have a big impact on your mental health (and of course, your physical health too).

In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health notes that long-term stress can lead to depression, anxiety, anger, and irritability. What’s more concerning is the effect of debt on mental health – even leading some to commit suicide. Studies show that people who commit suicide are more likely to be in debt — eight times more likely, actually. 

As you can see, a lack of financial wellness can directly affect your mental health. While many suffer in silence. all is not lost. If you’re not financially fit at the moment, there are ways to work toward financial wellness. There are also places to go for help.

Pursuing financial wellness

If you’re unsure where to start and need some help pursuing financial wellness, consider contacting a National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) accredited counselor. They have free resources to help you get back on track financially.

You can also help yourself by first recognizing what areas of your financial life are out of balance and causing you stress. Is it a debt issue? An income issue? Or are there underlying spending issues?

Once you identify what areas of your financial life are causing you stress, you can take steps toward financial wellness. The keys to financial wellness are:

  • Living within your means (not spending more than you make)
  • Having a savings plan in place (pro tip: you can save automatically with Chime’s Automatic Savings program)
  • Working toward debt payoff
  • Setting realistic short-term and long-term financial goals and working toward them
  • Using credit responsibly (paying off credit cards, making payments on time, keeping balances low)
  • Having a healthy relationship with money

Financial wellness is all about getting your financial life in order and taking a balanced approach with your money. After all, you want to control your money. You don’t want your money to control you.

Financial wellness = less stress

Pursuing financial wellness can improve other areas of your life, too. Just think about the weight that will be lifted off your shoulders when you get a handle on your finances. Although money technically can’t buy happiness — it comes pretty close when you change your spending habits, pay all your bills and live the life you want.


This Is How Your Money Mindset Can Affect Your Long Term Health

Are you worried about your money? Do you fear you’ll never get ahead or reach your goals?

You may have what’s known as a scarcity mindset. A scarcity mindset is when you never think you’ll have enough money. This can wreak havoc on your financial state as well as your mental and physical health.

When you constantly think about not having enough money, you only focus on the immediate future. In other words, you make decisions that benefit you right now but may not help you in the long-run.

Read on to find out just how damaging a scarcity mindset can be.

Your Physical Health May Suffer

Thinking only about the immediate future can affect your long-term health.

For example, buying ten packs of ramen, for instance, seems more enticing than purchasing a pint of blueberries. The ramen can last you for a few meals, whereas a pint of blueberries might be a snack or breakfast at best. I’m not going to argue with you about what tastes better, but we can all agree that ramen doesn’t have as many beneficial nutrients as blueberries or other fresh fruits and vegetables.

Using this example, think about how you shop when you feel like you don’t have enough money in the bank. You grab what you can afford. And this isn’t always the healthiest option. In fact, eating nutrient deficient meals can increase your chances of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. According to an article by Dr. Mercola, eating highly processed food can also affect your mental health while leading to an increase in insulin and leptin levels. This, in turn, can result in insulin resistance – one of the main causes of chronic diseases.

Thinking About Scarcity Causes Stress

If you’re constantly worried about never having enough, the resultant stress alone can stymie your ability to focus on improving your financial situation and earning more money.

Harvard University economics professor Sendhil Mullainathan and Princeton University psychology and public-policy professor Eldar Shafir asked two groups (one “rich” and one “poor”) questions about hypothetical situations regarding their finances. When asked how they would cover a $3,000 car repair bill, the IQ scores of those in the “poor” group dropped 14 points, whereas there was no difference in the “rich” group.

The professors came to the conclusion that thinking about scarcity can affect cognitive performance. In fact, it was actually worse than being sleep deprived. Why? If your brain is overloaded with worry, it’s easier to make poor decisions. Not only that but constantly feeling like you’re struggling to make wise decisions can cause you to feel less confident about your ability to succeed.

If you feel like this all the time, it’s no surprise that you can’t get ahead. This can become a vicious cycle of self-loathing and low self-esteem.

What Can You Do to Overcome a Scarcity Mindset

Overcoming a scarcity mindset isn’t necessarily about earning more or spending less. It has to do with shifting your perspective on your finances. Once you feel like you have enough money (whether or not you actually do), you can focus on improving your financial state. Check out the following ways to shift your scarcity mindset:

  • Create an emergency fund. With this type of savings fund, you set aside money to cover any unexpected expenses, such as a significant home repair or unforeseen medical bills. Having money set aside also means you’ll be less likely to take out loans to cover unexpected costs. Ideally, you should have three to six months of your salary saved up in an account that you can access quickly and easily.
  • Automate your finances so you can save money every month. Basically, automating allows you to pay bills, transfer a portion of your paycheck into your savings account, and create other seamless ways to make saving money easier. Chime Bank, for example, makes it easy for you to save with its automatic savings program. Chime rounds up every transaction you make on your debit card and transfers this over to your savings account.
  • Cultivate a gratitude practice. This will help you step away from the scarcity mindset and focus on appreciating what you have.

Developing a gratitude practice is simple. Start by writing down three things you’re grateful for. The more specific you make your list, the more effective it’ll be. From there, focus on being thankful for the things you wrote down. For example, if you are grateful for a fridge full of food, be grateful you can afford to buy groceries instead of freaking out about how little money you have in your bank account.


How Debt Denial Can Really Cost You

One of the most common symptoms of being in debt is denial. You might know you owe money, but it’s easier to sweep the nitty-gritty details under the rug and remain blissfully ignorant.

I should know. When I graduated with my M.A. in 2011, I knew I took out a lot of student loans, but wasn’t really sure how much I owed. I just knew that I made payments for five years and that when I decided to go to NYU for grad school, I took on even more debt.

It wasn’t until after graduation that I knew something had to give. I had to get my financial life together and I started by signing up for a account. Using Mint, a budgeting software and money management app, I linked my financial accounts. Suddenly, everything became clear as day. After making payments for five years, I still owed a whopping $68,000. I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

After realizing I was deep in debt, I deleted my Mint account. I was in complete and total denial. I couldn’t face the reality of my debt and it was easier to go back to ignorance. If you’re feeling the same way, read on to learn why denial is so common, how much it can cost you and how you can reclaim your financial life.

Why denial is so common

More often than not, denial and debt can go hand in hand. When you’re not mindful of your financial situation, this can lead to more debt. The more debt you take on, the less you want to face the reality of your situation.

Denial is a safe, cozy place where you can pretend everything’s okay. Staying in denial means you can keep the status quo, yet this will cost you – big time. Facing debt head-on, however, is tough and requires facing the facts.

How debt denial can cost you

As you saw with my own situation, debt denial can have a big impact on your financial life. On a smaller scale, you might not realize just how much you owe. You may be buried in credit card debt, but opt to just pay the minimum and think it’s sufficient — not realizing that doing so could mean many years of repayment and paying much more than you borrowed.

On a larger scale, debt denial can lead to avoidance. The bills keep coming in and you ignore them. Past due notices arrive and remain unopened. Soon enough, debt collectors call and you find yourself being hounded. If you’re in credit card debt, your credit is shot and your creditors may take action. If you’re ignoring your student loans, your wages could be garnished in order to repay the loans.

The thing about denial is that the truth will always come and find you — even if you don’t want to face it. No matter how much you try to avoid something, there it is. That’s why it’s crucial to face your debt head on, if you want to get your financial life under control.

How to get out of debt denial

I often equate getting out of debt with the “5 stages of grief” — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Having paid off a total of $81,000 in student loan debt, I know about this first-hand as I went through all of these emotional states. Yet, although denial is powerful, you can’t move forward unless you move past it. But how can you get out of denial without losing your mind?

The first step is to face the numbers and have a heavy dose of self-compassion. You can start by logging in to all your loan servicers and creditors’ accounts and writing down each total and the corresponding interest rate. Next up: add up all of your debt. And let it sink in. Take a deep breath and don’t panic. It can be tough to swallow, but the world isn’t going to end.

The next step is to create a plan of action. Look at your minimum payments and see how much more you can put toward your debt each month. Minimum payments are just that — the very minimum, but this won’t get you out of debt quickly. Taking action is the best way to combat denial.

Stick with this as. After a while, you’ll start to see progress. And progress can be addictive and used to your advantage!

Bottom line

Being in denial is often easier than facing the overwhelming burden of debt. But it won’t help you pay off debt and your debt won’t magically go away (we can dream right?). In order to avoid trouble with creditors, protect your credit and reclaim your financial future, it’s crucial to get out of denial and ditch debt – forever. Your freedom is priceless.