Let's have an honest conversation about money
By Takia McClendon
I have a confession to make. I have a love/hate relationship with money. Maybe I should be more clear. I love spending money on experiences like traveling, happy hour, and balling out on Starbucks coffee during the workweek but I hate the way my checking account looks at the end of the month.
Sometimes it interferes with my relationships, my performance at work, and my stress levels (which makes working out and running feel like a chore). Just looking at my monthly student loan statements makes me want to crawl into a box at the end of the month.
A few weeks ago, I picked up the book “You Are A Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth” at the airport and I literally read most of the book on my flight home from vacation. The author, Jen Sincero, put a lot into perspective about our relationships with money.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read plenty of books about personal finances, talked with financial coaches, and watched webinars over the years about saving and investing but there was something about Jen’s approach that helped me decide that once I got off that airplane that things would be different.
I know this is a website about fitness and wellness but I also know that if money stresses me out, then maybe it has the same impact on some of you too. If your money isn’t right, your gym memberships, yoga classes, healthy eating habits, and wellness are put on the back burner.
5 action steps I took to get ahead on my finances (in one week)
So here I am today, being super vulnerable and personal with you all because I know that I’m not alone. If I can be open about overcoming my running injuries, I can also share my experiences (not as an expert or professional) about getting my money right. Last week, I decided to take five steps towards reaching my financial goals and I’m excited to share them with you.
For many of you, these are no-brainers and you're well on your way on your finance journey. For the rest of us who “know what to do but need a little more time and motivation to actually get started", here’s what I did in one week - and you can too:
- Finally set up my 401(k): I’ve been working full-time at my job for almost three years and I just set up my 401(k) **insert face palm emoji**. Like many companies, my employer matches up to a certain percentage of my contribution so that I can get more bang for my retirement buck. If you haven’t set up your 401(k) reach out to your Human Resources Department to learn more about what your company has to offer. (Be sure to ask about fees associated with your accounts)
- Closed a few rogue accounts: In my previous attempts to save money, I opened up accounts in hopes to make saving for trips and experiences easier. Overtime, I realized that these accounts had high fees, were inconvenient, and didn’t offer much for keeping my money with them so it was time to jump ship.
- Opened a new online savings account: In order to make the most of my savings, I opened up an online savings account that has zero monthly fees and will allow me to earn more than my traditional savings account with my bank. (I'm still keeping my traditional account for emergencies.)
- Created a realistic budget: I deleted my old budgets and created a new, realistic one that allows me to pay all my bills, save more money AND ball out on coffee. I realized that my old budgets were too unrealistic to follow and made saving and limiting spending feel like something I couldn’t sustain over the long run.
- Automated bill payments and savings: Fixed payments like student loans, rent, etc. and savings to my emergency and long-term accounts are now automated so I don’t have to physically say bye-bye to my money.
Personal finance resources that I’ve been reading and referencing:
In addition to "You Are A Badass At Making Money", there are other books and resources that have been inspiring me along this journey. Some of these offer conflicting advice so be sure to do additional research before making decisions. They include but are not limited to:
- Nerd Wallet - My go-to for comparing credit cards, loan options, accounts and more.
- MONEY Master the Game: 7 Steps To Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins - If you have time and patience for 600+ pages, read this. I've been reading/referencing this book for a year now.
- Investing in Your 20s and 30s for Dummies by Eric Tyson - If you're reclaiming your time, start with this one.
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi - Terrible title, great book. I listened to the Audible version everyday on my way to work and before bed.
- My Fab Finance - One of my favorite $$$$ blogs.
- Mint - My favorite budgeting and spending tracking app.
The big take away: It's all about the Benjamins, baby.
Did this eliminate my love/hate relationship with money? Not yet. Will methods that work for me work for you? Maybe not and that's okay. Money is a touchy subject - which is why so many people struggle with it.
Although these five steps aren't going to solve all of my problems, I’m excited that I took action towards improving my longterm finances. Those lattes and yoga classes aren't going to pay for themselves.
My next steps? To learn more about investing and fine tune my budget.
Don’t be shy. If you enjoyed this post, please let me know in the comments below and we will continue to share more content like this. I believe our financial health has a huge impact on our physical and mental health so I’m excited to share what I’m learning along the way. If you have any specific finance topics or questions that you’d like City Fit Girls to explore, let us know!
Takia McClendon is the co-founder of City Fit Girls. She's a shoe expert and manager at a running store in Philadelphia and a Certified Level 1 USATF Coach. Follow her online at @takiamcclendon.
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