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Tax season has come and gone (phew!), and while many Americans find themselves rolling in a refund, others will owe money. Whether you have a “windfall of funds”—extra money—or are reluctantly reaching into some savings to pay your taxes, these actions can create an attitude of “What am I going to do?” Save or spend?
According to a survey from the American Psychological Association, more than 60 percent of Americans stress about money. Yep, you read that right. 60 percent! It’s important to remember that your health includes your wealth. If your finances are out of whack, so are you. And if you’re constantly worried about how you’re going to pay bills, this can take a toll on your emotional, mental and physical health.
Looking to push the reset button on your cash flow? Follow these three tips to find balance in your financial life and get your overall wellness in check!
Getting money back? It can be easy to spend it on something big, but maybe it’s time to rethink your refund. Take your tax return and apply the majority of what you get back from the government to any credit card debt you have. Start with the ones with the highest interest rate. Next, add some money—even if it’s not a huge amount!—to an emergency savings fund. Finally, don’t forget to spend a little on you! You worked hard, and you deserve to treat yo’ self.
The first step to finding financial balance is through creating a personal financial statement at least twice a year. The simple way to accomplish this is to take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center. On the left side, list all your assets—funds in checking/savings, value of cars, home, and any property or investments that you may have. On the right, list the balances of all the debt (liabilities) that you have—what you owe on credit cards, loans, home loan, car loans, etc. At the bottom of the page, subtract the difference between your assets and liabilities—that’s your net worth. This practice will help you see your big financial picture.
Now it’s time to establish a monthly financial statement. Again, the easiest way is to get a sheet of paper and list your total monthly income (take-home pay) at the top. Under this list, write down your monthly payments of all bills including house, car, credit cards, etc. Don’t forget to include things like daycare, cell phone bills, utilities, insurance, gym memberships, manicures—all monthly expenses. Need a little extra help? Consumer.gov has a few handy worksheets to use. Lastly, take a long, hard look at your monthly expenses and see if there are any items that you can live without. Are you spending $5 per day at Starbucks? Going out to too many work lunches? Can you make that $9 smoothie at home? It adds up! Trade dinners and drinks out for hitting the gym or going for a run. Slash those expenses and try to pay down some of the debt you owe.
Breaking down your finances so you can see where you are and where you are going is a real eye-opening experience. Bestselling author and finance guru, Jean Chatzky, says her money philosophy is to “spend less than you earn.” It sounds easy, but dealing with your dollars can be a challenge. Just like eating clean or exercising, be mindful of your spending and work on practicing financial balance daily to get ahead. It’s never too late to start!
That’s something I never expected to hear. Think about it: we join gyms and studios because of their equipment, instructors, space, community (and AC, of course). But who’s to say we can’t get all that—or at least most of it—with virtual and online classes, too? In this new wave of wellness, we’re all switching up our fitness routines as we switch up our everyday schedules and habits. It’s not just in-studio or at-home anymore. It’s in-studio, at-home, at the park, beach, parking lot, rooftop...virtual, hybrid, Instagram Live, online, on-demand, and so much more. As we’re adapting, adjusting, finding our groove, etc., online gym memberships enter the fray. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
There are tons of benefits to an online gym membership, especially right now.
Let’s break this down:
1. Scheduling convenience
A virtual/online gym fitness membership is a monthly subscription that gives you access to tons of live stream fitness classes you can take anywhere, from studios across the globe. These fitness studios offer tons of at-home workouts, group exercise, and one-on-one training sessions to choose from, no matter your exercise program or fitness level. With so many options, it’s easy to find one that fits your schedule. Whether you want to fit in a morning flow before work, combat that afternoon slump with some cardio, squeeze in some strength training before dinner, or wind down with an evening barre class, you can pick and choose classes to fit your fitness routine.
2. Minimizing exposure to COVID-19
And because they’re online, you can take these classes from the comfort of your home (or wherever you are), thus minimizing your exposure to COVID-19 and eliminating your commute to the gym or studio. By now, many of us have our designated “workout spot,” whether it’s an actual weight room, a quick scooch of the coffee table, or a grassy area in the backyard. Maybe you’re comfortable here... maybe you’ve even learned to love it.
With an online gym membership, you can stay in your safe space/comfy workout spot. Or, you can go somewhere new (local park, beach spot, a different area of the house, you know). You can access these virtual, live stream fitness classes from any device, so you can prop up your phone, laptop, or tablet wherever you want to go, or roll out your mat in front of the big screen TV in your living room.
We all have our favorite, go-to workouts. But sometimes, it feels good to switch it up (especially right now). Working from home all day, many of us are craving some variety and excitement, and an online gym membership can definitely help with that. According to our recent poll about COVID’s effect on our fitness routines, 64% of you have tried new online workouts since the start of the pandemic—I know I have. Maybe it’s because trying new things is easier in the comfort of our homes, maybe we’re finally able to try some classes we normally can’t find locally, or maybe we’re all just bored out of our minds...I don’t know. But I’m excited about it.
With an online gym membership, you can get that spice you’re looking for easily. Start out your Monday by hitting some HIIT, ease your sore muscles with some Restorative Yoga, and end the week with some dance cardio to pretend you’re at the club. The world is yours.
4. Working out without a commute
My favorite part? No commute. There are literally no more excuses when it comes to skipping workouts. No traffic, no schedule conflicts, no fear of returning to the studio. You don’t even have to worry about packing a gym bag with a change of clothes and shower supplies or prepping a snack or protein shake to bring to work. Just shut your computer, throw on some leggings, and get to work.
Community—the element of online fitness memberships we don’t often think of. When we go into studios, we understand the beauty of a fitness community. We’re greeted by our instructors, we chat with others in the class, and we all sweat together and encourage each other throughout. But working out at home is different... or is it?
We can do workouts on our own at home all we want, but we’re definitely going to miss out on the community aspect we all know and love. But, with live stream classes, we can create a different kind of community. The beauty of it? It’s not just your neighbors anymore. Anyone with an online fitness membership can join these classes, regardless of where they’re located in relation to the studio, so you can be working out alongside people from all over the world—now that’s something I can get behind.