To celebrate Financial Wellness month, we created a month-long challenge. If you are willing to spend a few minutes every day working toward your goals, the challenge can help you reset your budget, improve your relationship with money, save on everyday expenses, and more.
Finish one thing from this list every day to complete the challenge. You can go in order or skip around! The important thing is to be consistent.
31 Days of Financial Wellness Challenge
- Update Your Budget Spreadsheet
Start the new year off right by updating your budget spreadsheet to reflect your current income and expenses. Don’t have a budget? Start one with our free downloadable budget spreadsheet.
- Make a Financial Vision Board
What would you do if money was no object? By visualizing what you wish to do with your money, you’ll learn about your financial priorities. To create a vision board, make a list of financial goals and find images that symbolize each goal. Keep the board somewhere you can see it regularly to help you stay motivated.
- Cancel Subscriptions You Don’t Need or Use
Review all your subscriptions for the new year and keep the ones you need and use regularly. It’s easy to lose track of automated payments, so this is a great way to avoid late fees and save time managing your finances.
- Automate Your Bills
Are you still paying your bills manually? Set up automatic payments so you don’t have to worry about missing due dates and accruing late fees.
- Check Your Credit Score and Report
You can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You may also be able to see your credit score for free as a service provided by your credit card company.
- Have a “No Spend” Day
Have you ever tried a no-spend challenge? If you’re not ready to commit to a full month or week of non-essential spending, start small with a single day. Level up your game by putting the money you saved towards your savings or debt repayment.
- Make a List of Your Financial Strengths and Weaknesses
Take a few minutes to list and compare your financial strengths with your weaknesses. This self-assessment can help you see how you may have grown over the past year and where you can continue to improve.
- Unsubscribe From Promotional Emails
Marketing emails are incredibly tricky: they always seem to sneak into your inbox at just the right time with a sale or coupon code, encouraging you to make impulsive purchases on things you don’t really need. Reduce the temptation by putting those offers out of sight and out of mind! Scroll through your emails and hit “unsubscribe” on those unnecessary promotions. If you’re having trouble getting off a particular list, you can always flag the sender as “spam.”
- Listen to a Personal Finance Podcast
Listening to podcasts is a great way to increase your personal finance knowledge. Consider listening while you drive or do chores around the house. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Check the Balance on Old Gift Cards
Do you have a drawer filled with old gift cards that still have a balance? Sites like Gift Card Granny let you easily check for leftover or unused balances. Then you can either use the card, sell it for cash, or trade for other gift cards.
- Try a Side Hustle
Need to increase your cash flow? Consider picking up a side job or freelancing to increase your monthly income.
- Make a Money Date with Your Partner
If you’re in a relationship, it’s important that you and your partner have open communication about your finances and goals. Even if you’re already having money talks, it never hurts to check in! Schedule a time to chat about your finances.
- Revisit Your Primary Job
Take some time to evaluate your current work situation and salary. If you’re overdue for a raise, start preparing for that conversation with your boss. Is it time to resign and start a new job search? Start updating your resume, write a new cover letter and prepare for future job interviews.
- Organize Your Financial Documents
Gather your important financial papers in one place and organize them by type. If you feel ambitious, consider scanning the documents to create digital versions. This work will give you a headstart the next time you need to access your documents, like when it’s time to file your taxes!
- Negotiate Lower Bills
Did you know that a couple of strategic phone calls can reduce your monthly bills by hundreds of dollars? Your cable, internet, cellphone, and car insurance bills can all be negotiated for lower rates. Call your service provider armed with their competitors’ prices, a friendly but assertive tone, and a firm request for a better rate and you might be surprised what sort of deals are available to you.
- Pay Yourself First
Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account to take the challenge out of saving money and practice better spending habits.
- Create a Weekly Money Routine
Set aside one day per week to review your spending, check bank and credit account balances, and make sure you’re on track to pay your bills and handle any other monthly financial commitments. Checking in on your finances regularly can help you combat financial dread and regain control of your money.
- See a Professional
Setting up an appointment with a Chartered Financial Consultant or Certified Financial Planner can help you make sense of your finances and build a solid and manageable financial plan you can follow.
- Find Out if Budgeting Myths are Holding You Back
Check out these four misconceptions about budgeting. Which ones did you believe and how were they holding you back?
- You Need to Track Everything, All The Time
- A Budget Needs to Be Restrictive To Work
- Budgeting Is Only For People Who Are Struggling With Money
- Budgeting Can Fix All of Your Financial Problems
- Read a Personal Finance Book
Trying to cut back on your TV time? Reading is a great alternative and there are plenty of entertaining and informative personal finance books to choose from. Here are a few of our favorites:
- The One-Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards
- Clever Girl Finance by Bola Sokunbi
- The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins
- Explore a New Debt Repayment Strategy
- Start Investing
Long-term investing should be a part of any solid financial plan, but many people are too intimidated or confused by it to give it a shot. Investing can be as simple as actively contributing to your 401(k) or opening up a brokerage account and growing your savings in a mutual fund. To start investing, decide how much you can contribute to your investment goals and pick a timeline for investment returns, then find the strategy that makes sense for you.
- Try a New Financial App
Mobilize your money management! Download a new financial app to help you tackle a money goal, like budgeting, investing or credit monitoring.
- Do A Financial Check-Up
Things like your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), net worth, financial goals, and retirement savings can be key indicators of your overall financial health. Take our quiz to find out how healthy your finances are.
- Follow Personal Finance Influencers
If you regularly spend time on Instagram, Twitter or Tik Tok consider following personal finance influencers. You’ll mix in exposure to good financial advice with your social entertainment throughout the day.
- Make a “Treat Yourself” Plan
Having a good relationship with money doesn’t mean constantly depriving yourself or de-centering your needs and wants. Make a list of some reliable ways you can treat yourself on a daily or weekly basis without breaking your budget or impulsively wasting money on things that don’t bring you joy.
- Make a Meal Plan
Planning your meals ahead of time and sticking to a grocery list can help trim down your spending while reducing food waste. Knowing what you’ll be cooking in advance can also reduce the temptation to dine out or order delivery. Try planning one week’s worth of meals and making a specific shopping list before your next grocery run. Focus on in-season produce, swap name-brand items for generics, and use coupons when you can.
- Do Some Comparison Shopping
Is your bank or credit union working for you? It’s a good idea to periodically compare your bank’s checking and ATM fees, interest rates, and features with the competitions’. You might find that you can get a better offer from a competitor or other benefits like wider access to ATMs or bank branches.
- Check Your Tire Pressure
When was the last time you checked the tire pressure on your car? Start checking more regularly and you could save around 10 cents a gallon! Not only will maintaining proper tire pressure save you money, but it also reduces emissions – win, win!
- Explore Financial Beliefs You Inherited From Your Family
Attitudes about money are formed at an early age. The way your parents or other family members talked about and handled money likely had an influence on how you view it now. Think about your family’s relationship with money and ask yourself these questions:
- What was money like for your family when you were growing up?
- What is the best thing you were taught about money?
- What is the worst thing you were taught about money?
- What financial habits did you learn that you have continued?
- How do you want your financial life to be similar or different from your family’s?
- Reflect on Your Relationship With Money
Take time to think about how you relate to your finances and how your feelings impact your financial habits. Recognizing the state of your relationship with money and actively working to improve that relationship can help you make more mindful financial decisions and feel more optimistic about your financial future.
Tips To Complete the Challenge
Have you ever looked at someone who made a big change in their life and thought, “how do they stay motivated every day?” The truth is lasting change doesn’t happen because you are always motivated. It occurs when you consistently take action despite the normal ups and downs you may feel. These tips can help stay consistent and complete the challenge on days when you have less energy and motivation:
- Complete the challenge first thing in the morning
- Save more complex tasks for the weekend
- Do the challenge with an accountability buddy
It’s important to remember that you won’t feel like working on your financial wellness every day, and that’s OK. Instead of counting on yourself to be excited and motivated all the time, commit to doing one thing every day that moves you toward your goals, no matter how big or small. Persistence makes change one day at a time.