By Michelle Wilson, wellness program manager
Budgets Based on What We Value
This month we are thinking about financial well-being at La Clinica. For some of us, thinking about finances and budgets can feel challenging. What do we do if we don’t have enough money to pay our bills on time? How can we set aside money for unexpected expenses? What can we do to plan for our later years, making sure we have enough to care for ourselves and those we love?
The first step to taking care of our finances is to create a budget. To do this, we need to write down all of our expenses each month, then add in money to cover expenses that come up occasionally, like taxes, medical bills, and car repairs. We match this to our income, and if our expenses are higher than our income, we need to adjust our expenses.
Some of us may find ourselves creating budgets, then having a hard time sticking to what we’ve planned. One reason this can happen is because we create the budgets based on what we think we should do with our money, but our hearts and values drive us toward spending money in different ways. We may think we need to save $50 a month for unexpected car repairs, but when we are faced with the temptation of buying new clothes for ourselves or taking our children out for a fun activity, we spend the money we had planned to save.
So, what do we do? Start by thinking about what is most important to you, what you value most, and let this help guide your budget.
Here are a few questions to consider.
- Is it important to me to stay out of debt?
- Is it important to me to save enough money to be able to retire when I want?
- Is it more important to me to spend a little money each month for fun, or would I rather have a little more money put into savings for unexpected costs?
- Do I want to be able to have money available each month or year to give to an organization I care about or to help a friend or family member when they need it?
- What are the three most important expenses I have to pay each month? Which expenses do I have that I could let go of and save more money? (Examples: large car loans, cable tv subscriptions, or weekly outings to restaurants)
- How important is it to me to save money to buy a house or a car or be able to pay for more education?
Start with these questions and think about what truly matters to you. Create a budget that matches what matters the most in your life and enjoy the satisfaction you can feel by sticking to it. When we do this, we are better able to create the life we want.
If you want to learn more about ways to stretch your budget or manage your finances, reach out to your bank or credit union and ask if they offer financial education classes or tools. Go to the library or look online for books and sample budgets you can use. Support is available to help you reach your goals.
Tip: Click on the link below and scroll to the short video on financial well-being by one of our team members. Enjoy all of our videos on topics related to the wellness wheel.