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How to Nurture Your Relationship with Your Money

a young woman doing her finances at home
Grant Gallagher Head of Financial Wellbeing and Brand Communications AffinityFCU
By: Grant Gallagher
Head of Financial Wellbeing and Brand Communications

November 18, 2021

Instead of seeing money as a means to achieve important goals, many people view it as a stressor and approach their finances with the mindset of “there’s never enough.” They may be haunted by regret of big unbudgeted purchases every time they swipe their credit or debit card, causing a negative emotional response when it comes to their next big spend.

At Affinity, we’re dedicated to helping all of our members achieve financial wellbeing, which starts by building a positive relationship with your money. A good money mindset is marked by recognizing what is in your control and taking a long-term view of your finances. Thinking paycheck to paycheck makes it nearly impossible to plan for the next month, much less the next year. With a longer-term plan, you can regain control of your finances and better accommodate upcoming expenses.

Holiday shopping offers a timely example of recognizing what’s in your control. In the spirit of the season, it may be tempting to buy expensive gifts for your family and friends even if you know spending that money could hurt you later on. But holiday spending is controllable. There are plenty of cost-effective gifts you can buy or other gestures you can make for loved ones without depleting your entire savings account.

The best way to change your money mindset is by meeting with a financial professional, who can discuss your expenses, income, lifestyle and goals in order to create a practical plan that sets you on the path toward financial wellbeing. This plan should include:

  1. Establishing an emergency fund: The appropriate amount to save can vary depending on your specific situation, but recommendations often cite having between three and six months’ worth of expenses set aside in case of emergency. An ample emergency fund can help ensure that unforeseen circumstances don’t compromise your ability to pay monthly bills.
  2. Setting your goals and priorities: It’s difficult to make your money work for you if you aren’t sure what you want to accomplish. Maybe your goal is to save for a wedding or vacation, or perhaps you want to prioritize purchasing items for your children or going on weekly date nights. Determining priorities as part of your financial plan may help you view money as the means to achieve these goals, rather than a source of stress.
  3. Building a budget: With your goals, priorities and an emergency fund in mind, look at your income, bills and other regular expenses to build a budget that works for you. This budget should help you pay all of your expenses while still working toward your goals.

To ensure that you stay on track, commit to reviewing your finances regularly. Take advantage of technology to receive notifications about your accounts, as well as automate your bill payments and deposits. If you are in a shared money relationship with a family member or significant other, consider having regular discussions about your budget and make sure your goals are aligned in order to avoid financial-related conflicts. 

At Affinity, we offer members a number of helpful resources, including money management tools on our app and website, the Enrich online learning and money management portal, regular webinars and free credit counseling services. While these resources are powerful for those who can “do it yourself,” the real value is provided by our amazing staff members, who are ready to help you improve your financial situation and relationship with money by creating a sensible plan that works for you. All of these resources are available no matter the balance of your account.

If you would like to learn more about Affinity Federal Credit Union or become a member, please visit our homepage.

This information is for informational purposes only and is intended to provide general guidance and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person’s circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments.