Paying your bills late is the financial equivalent of a daily doughnut habit when you’re trying to lose weight; a recipe for disaster.
It seems as easy to say “eat kale, not doughnuts” as it does to say “pay your bills on time,” but you know the saying… some things are easier said than done.
Ask yourself if you really need or value each product or service you’re paying for. If the answer is yes, ask yourself if you need as much of it as you’re currently getting/using. Think deeply about this with your highest personal values and priorities in mind.
Raise your perfectly-manicured hand if you love having your nails done. *Raises hand.* I love feeling polished and put-together with a good manicure, but I also know all of those salon visits add up quickly.
Let me first soothe any worries about the direction of this post: Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you to quit getting your nails done. I’m going to share a hard-to-believe-more-people-don’t-know-this tip (and a few related suggestions) that will make beautiful hands and feet fit easier into your budget.
Here it is: I avoid getting manicures altogether.
Before you think I just went back on my word about the direction of this post, keep reading!
Instead of a mani/pedi, I get a color change on my hands and feet. The end result looks the exact same but with $5-$10 saved each trip. That doesn’t sound like much but flexing my “saving muscles” on small expenses has helped me build up financial muscle strength for saving on bigger ones. If you’re into the numbers, it’s essentially a “free” color change every third trip.
Some places will charge a couple dollars to cut your nails if you’ve asked for a color change, but filing and buffing is included. Even if you have to pay a few bucks for cutting, it’s still worth it to stick with the color change.
If you’re concerned about cuticles, just run your thumbnail along the cuticles on the opposite hand after you’ve been in the shower for 5 minutes (once a week). The dead skin will fall off and the rest will get pushed back.
To maintain soft feetsies, I use a foot file or pumice stone once a week. I only scrub for about 10 seconds on each foot as too much removal can make calluses come back faster and/or thicker. These two weekly habits make my hands and feet look like they’ve been fully mani’d and pedi’d.
The other way I get the most mileage out of these color changes is by my polish choices. I like brands that stay on well (but that aren’t gel or acrylics). My faves are OPI Shine and CND Vinylux. As for the color, I use a neutral color on my hands, and go for the more vibrant, bold choices on my toes. This is for fashion as much as it is about not blowing my nail budget. Polish tends to stay on toes much longer than fingers, and having a neutral color on my hands means those inevitable chips are much less noticeable. I definitely skip the jewels and other trendy touches. Call me boring, but I prefer “classic” and financially savvy J
And finally, I go to the salon on a schedule rather than when my nails look like they need it. I never go more often than every two weeks. If my nails don’t look great before the two weeks are up, I take the polish off and wait it out.
One last tip: Don’t skimp out on a generous tip. Being financially fit doesn’t mean being cheap. Reward good work where you find it. Plus, it’s good financial karma.
It’s been awhile since I’ve popped up in your inbox. It certainly isn’t for lack of things to share. I actually have so much to say, but I need to be careful. You see, as a nonprofit organization, the Financially Fit Foundation is a non-political entity. Personally though, I’m pretty politically active. In fact, I’m headed to DC in a few hours.
What you’re about to read is my best attempt to be non-political while sharing my thoughts on your financial well-being under this new administration. I’ve also included suggestions for you going forward.
To begin, I really don’t want to add to the climate of fear. Fear, I believe, is a big reason why we’re in our current situation. While I don’t want you to be afraid, I do think you should be concerned.
Now I know I don’t have a crystal ball that tells me what this administration will do and what the future holds. I can only take I have the information I have, combine it with my education, knowledge and experience, and tell you what I think we’re in for. Based on it all, I think there is reasonable cause for major alarm. I’ll say this as gently as I can: the next four years will not be kind to consumers (that’s you and me).
Instead of explaining all the reasons why, the focus should be on what we can do about it. Here’s what I suggest:
First, I beg you to get (or stay) politically engaged. Less damage is done when everyone knows they’re being watched.
Next, and this is always the case but is especially true now: become financially fit.
You can’t afford to be ignorant about money. Understand that we are up against forces whose success depends on our lack of knowledge and mistakes with money.
You have got to know how it works and how to manage it. It’s not hard, it’s not complicated but you need to overcome the reasons you think that it’s something you can put off until later (or just overcome by making more money).
If you don’t know where all your money is going every month or that your spending is on track with your goals, you’re not financially fit. There’s a little more to it but at the core, that’s what it means to be financially fit.
I realize that I’m being super direct. This might be too straightforward. I’m sorry if this comes off as rude. I just desperately want you to not only survive, but to thrive financially, now and forever.
It brings me no satisfaction to live well and be financially secure while I watch people suffer over money, especially when I know that with a little education, they wouldn’t suffer any longer. I guess there’s a selfish reason that I want you to be financially fit – I don’t want to see you are struggling with money when I can show you a way out.
Also, I know that if more of us are financially fit, we will all be better off. As the saying goes “A rising tide lifts all the boats.” So for your sake, for the sake of your family, community, society-at-large (or whatever level of belonging that inspires you to action), become financially fit.
We of course have workshops that teach you what you need to know (the next ones are coming up February 11th and 12th) but you’re also welcome to get financially fit by reading ~10 books on money, talking to dozens of experts (after figuring out who’s an expert and who’s actually a fraud), and/or experiencing firsthand the most common costly mistakes people make with money. Totally your choice but I encourage you to sign up for the workshops. More info and registration here.
In the meantime, stay vigilant. Review your bank statements and credit card statements carefully – watching for fees, unauthorized charges or overcharges. Check your credit score and report. Spend mindfully; avoid wasting money. Be prepared for unexpected expenses/financial emergencies (I’m sorry, but they’re coming, no matter who is in power). Don’t take out a loan just because you qualify for it. Cancel (or lower) repeat charges on products and services that are not useful or important. Use your money to take good care of yourself.
Wishing you all the financial peace and prosperity in the world.