“When you have the world weighing on you, taking the time to care for yourself can seem like an impossible luxury, but keeping calm and being as objective as possible can pay off when it comes to your financial future,” said Margarita Guerra, Senior Vice President and CFO at USE Credit Union.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (PRWEB) August 09, 2022
Losing sleep over money or feeling a sense of panic when opening a bill is all too common, and USE Credit Union wants to help. Shifting one’s outlook to a more mindful approach on money can relieve stress and lead to a healthier relationship with family finances.
“When you have the world weighing on you, taking the time to care for yourself can seem like an impossible luxury,” said Margarita Guerra, Senior Vice President and CFO at USE Credit Union. “But keeping calm and being as objective as possible can pay off when it comes to your financial future.”
What Is Mindfulness, Anyway?
Mindfulness is a big topic these days, and mindfulness practices have found their way into many areas of life, from eating to working. In the context of financial well-being, let’s think of mindfulness as a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings and circumstances—with an attitude that is nurturing, not judgmental.
This concept applies to your finances by shifting your mindset. The goal is to bring greater clarity to one’s financial decision-making and reduce stress and anxiety over money. Here’s what to do:
1. Stay Aware
When life gets busy, it’s easy to lose track of finances. Surprise expenses (or a surprisingly low account balance) can turn a little confusion into a lot of stress. Be aware of spending habits — where, why and how much — money is being spent. Using a budget is often key. USECU’s online money management tools were designed to help.
The goal of budgeting is to align money with priorities. It can shed light into what expenses to avoid, like some subscription services or a daily coffee run.
For an eye-opening reality check, try the “no-spend challenge.” Avoid spending money on non-necessities for a specific time frame, like a day or a week. Not only will this save more money, but it will illuminate what expenses really matter when it comes to one’s goals and happiness.
2. Practice Acceptance
For many, self-worth is connected to a feeling of financial success. If it seems like a member of one’s social circle earns more money and lives in a bigger house, it’s easy to feel pressured to “catch up” with peers. But financial well-being isn’t a competition, and everybody’s life is different.
Try to look at finances without judgment. We’re all human, and financial mistakes happen. If big-picture goals are still in the distance, being able to acknowledge that today’s needs are met can help build satisfaction and resilience moving forward.
Don’t forget to acknowledge successes, no matter how small.
3. Find Balance
Through mindful budgeting, strive to create a healthy balance between wants and needs. If one has to work multiple jobs or is struggling to manage high housing costs or student loan payments, this can feel difficult—but it isn’t impossible.
Be clear-eyed about what is and isn’t a necessity while acknowledging that feelings are real and the desire to buy or do fun things is valid, even if postponing these activities or purchases is necessary.
Understanding the motivation behind a purchase helps you tell whether it’s worthwhile. For instance, many people choose to spend money on experiences rather than material possessions, feeling that their memories of a great trip or concert are worth more than stuff.
4. Set Intentions
Are financial decisions made purposefully, or out of habit? Practicing mindful finance can help to set clear goals, as long as you follow them up with action.
For instance, unforeseen expenses are causes for concern — commit to building an emergency savings fund. Identify meaningful steps to take, such as “paying yourself first” by putting money in savings every payday. Remember that it’s okay to start small simply starting to save is a big confidence booster.
Being intentional can also mean making financial choices that reflect values. For example, many people are careful to support companies that have an ethical business model, or they may shop at local businesses and bank at their local credit union because these organizations invest in their community and support causes they believe in.
When there are a lot of responsibilities, time can feel even more scarce than money. One of the best ways to reduce financial stress is to simplify money management. Here are a few ways to save time:
- Use online and mobile banking to handle many banking needs.
- Switch from paper account statements to e-statements (this also helps you cut down on clutter!).
- Get paid by direct deposit instead of paper paychecks.
6. Pick Up a Meditation Practice
Feeling present in the moment and putting life’s stresses on pause can be powerful. Adopting a meditation practice has helped many people become calmer and more focused. Examples include daily journaling, beginning each day by sitting in silence for a few minutes and practicing mindful breathing, or doing a walking meditation.
There are plenty of practices out there for different personalities, so try some out and see what helps you reach financial peace of mind. The only thing to lose is stress.
“Life doesn’t stop or slow down during fraught financial times,” said Guerra. “The first step in weathering current and future storms is to keep a level head and objectively look at your situation.”
About USE Credit Union
Founded in 1936, University & State Employees Credit Union (USECU) empowers nearly 60,000 members to achieve financial wellness through a full range of financial products and services, including checking and savings options, credit cards, loans, mortgages and more. USECU now has more than $1.3 billion in assets and offers accessibility to its members through eight branches in California, nearly 30,000 surcharge-free ATMs across the nation and 24/7 online and mobile Banking access.
USECU membership is open to all California university employees and students as well as California state employees, along with others who live, work or worship in Alameda County, Sacramento County, San Diego County, Santa Clara County and Yolo County. As a not-for-profit community leader, USECU partners with causes, events and organizations that reflect a commitment to health, wellness and inclusiveness. Learn more at usecu.org.