Practicing self-care can drastically improve your mental and physical well-being, but it can do harm to your financial health if you’re not careful.
The self-care movement has become synonymous with unchecked pleasure-seeking behaviors. It validates splurging on that sweet treat, getting a last-minute manicure, or procrastinating on an important financial chore to protect your mental health.
And while there’s no harm in indulging in these luxuries every once in a while, you can easily overspend when you always allow yourself to splurge in the name of self-care.
Using a Budget to Understand Your Financial Priorities
Your budget is key to finding out how to look after yourself without dooming your finances. Sit down with this spending plan to see where your money goes in a typical month.
The cash you spend on essentials (like housing, utilities, loans, and savings) is locked in. They belong to your monthly priorities because you can’t skip these payments. You have to ensure you pay these before moving onto anything else.
Don’t Skip over Savings to Indulge in Self-care
It might be obvious why you have to pay rent every month when the roof over your head relies on it. But what about savings? Aren’t savings yours to play with after you cover your bills?
It depends on what kind of savings you’re talking about. An emergency fund should be hands-off until, well, an emergency — like when your brakes go unexpectedly, and you have to replace them right away.
Without an emergency fund, you might have to borrow money to get the job done. You can visit a website like MoneyKey to see if you qualify for an online loan. If you’re approved, an online loan is a convenient safety net when your fund fails, so you can still make urgent repairs or purchases.
However, it doesn’t replace the need for an emergency fund, according to MoneyKey. These savings are the best way to cover an unexpected expense; an online loan is only backup.
Now, a sinking fund, on the other hand, is just the type of savings that helps you splurge. It’s designed to help you pay for non-urgent, planned items and experiences, like a monthly visit to the spa or a holiday.
Reroute Fun Spending Towards Mindful Self-Care Expenses
How can you fill a self-care sinking fund? Everything that doesn’t fall under “essential” in your budget is fair game for savings. You control the non-essential spending on entertainment and travel completely, so you can choose how much or little cash goes towards these splurges. You can spend less on these categories to put more into self-care purchases.
Non-essential expenses may already overlap with self-care if a weekend getaway helps you de-stress after a long month.
However, it’s important to note that self-care is mindful spending that allows you to focus on items, services, and experiences that improve your long-term physical, mental, and financial health. So, grabbing takeout multiple times a week to avoid the hassle of cooking may not fit the bill if money is tight. Remembering that your finances belong in this equation can help you plan accordingly, saving up until you have what you need.
Striking a Balance with Self-care and Other Health Costs
Self-care looks different to everyone, but here are some ideas that will benefit anyone:
- Fitness classes, league fees, gym memberships, and equipment
- Massages, physiotherapy, counseling, and other health services
- Beauty and grooming appointments, treatments, and items
Add to this list as you see fit, using your budget to afford valuable self-care without overdoing it.