Not only is spring in full swing, but it’s April … and April is Financial Literacy month! Let’s be honest, we could all likely use a little more information regarding financial education and wellness. For many people and across all generations, money is a sticky subject to talk about. Bringing up debt, budgeting, credit scores, and saving is a great way to halt a conversation … and raise the blood pressure in the room. But, it doesn’t have to be that way!
There’s so much information and so many tools and resources out there to help you, you can’t afford to keep ignoring it! (We see those stacks of unopened bills and that dwindling savings account over there.)
Let’s jump in and look at some ideas to grow your financial wellness and help you become more financially literate—we’re here to help you build your best financial self!
We all just spent a year living in a world that didn’t look like any other … and our budgets may have noticed it, too. (Those Uber Eats and InstaCart delivery and service fees add up FAST.) Between stimulus payments, job loss, furloughs, and other effects to our economy and its community, you might be unsure where you sit financially. Now is the time to regroup and evaluate where your finances are, and more importantly, where you want them to be in a month, a year, etc.
Make a list of both short and long-term financial goals for yourself and your family—and be specific! Instead of “Save more money this year,” write down, “To save more money, I’m going to take 10% of my paycheck each month and put it into a separate savings account.” Being direct with yourself about your goals is the best way to succeed.
Still looking for a better budgeting app? Find the perfect one to fit your situation.
Save Without Needing Willpower
Speaking of saving … saving money for the future always seems like SUCH a great idea, until it comes time to putting your money away and not spending it (#retailtherapy). But, it is such an important piece to learning about financial literacy. Avoid overspending and undersaving by setting up an automatic withdrawal each month. Decide what your goal is and how much you can afford to save. By setting up auto-transfer or withdrawal each month (or with each paycheck), you remove the part of the equation that takes effort, and almost immediately you’re able to watch your savings grow. What many people notice with this trick is that they have much more available to save than they initially thought.
Find Your Financial Love Language
By now, most people have at least heard of the “love languages.” Finding your own financial “love language” can help you see where you succeed and where you might need to focus a little more. While there’s no specific description of your financial personality, there are a few basic themes that might help you narrow it down. Take a peek at these broad outlines of financial personalities based on the Myers-Briggs Company and Marcus Marcus by Goldman Sachs.
Confident Money Manager: This group is seen as those who are most likely to follow a financial plan, and they like to plan ahead!
Short-term Strategist: Excited about research and planning, this group tends to be more flexible and likely to change their plan when the situation changes.
Value-Based Planner: This group focuses more on who their money is supporting and what social causes they are backing rather than their own personal finances. These are the helpers of the world!
Laid-Back Balancer: Not everyone’s a planner, and that’s ok! This group errs on the side of intuition to keep track of their finances and lives life based on experience rather than money.
Here’s a fun activity! (And a great way to celebrate Financial Literacy month!) Take this quiz to find out what kind of financial personality you might lean toward.
Piggy Banking—For Grown Ups
As kids we had piggy banks full of extra change we scrounged up from anywhere and everywhere. Life probably looks a little different now, but you can still use this same mentality to save a little extra.
Grab an envelope and every time you have an extra $5 bill (or whatever denomination you want), put it in the envelope. Repeat. After a year, you might be able to splurge on that new dishwasher or make an extra car payment!
No matter what your finances look like, it’s up to you to take the next step forward. Do your own research or take advice from us and try out one of these great financial literacy tips.