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Monday, September 25, 2023

Financial self-care: What it is & how I practice it

Financial self-care: What it is & how I practice it

Financial Self-Care: What It Is & How I Practice It

“Self-care” has become an overused buzzword that conjures images of spa days and bubble baths, chocolate bars and endless glasses of champagne. While all these things, if practiced healthily, can fall under the category of self-care, we often forget to look at the true meaning of the word, or at least what I like to interpret it as. 

The truth is, sometimes self-care requires hard work. 

I love bubble baths as much as the next person, but self-care is often the things we avoid doing — things like therapy, going to the gym, having hard conversations and looking at your money. Yes, there is such a thing as financial self-care, and this article is going to cover exactly how I practice it.

Just like moisturizer becomes an everyday skincare routine or yoga becomes part of your morning routine, you can train yourself to also practice financial self-care. Let me show you how.

The money date

The best and easiest way to practice financial self-care and implement it into your routine is by scheduling what I like to call a money date. The first part is the hardest — choose one day a month and commit to it by plugging it into your calendar. If you share finances with a partner, involve them in the money date as well! My money date is usually on a Sunday night but choose the day that works the best for your lifestyle and schedule. 

To make this more of a treat than a task, put on your comfortable clothes, pour yourself a glass of wine, grab your favorite blanket and set the mood with an inspiring playlist. Make it something you look forward to — actually have a date, either with yourself or your partner.

Here are five tasks to complete in your financial self-care routine.

1. Make a note of any mindless purchases.

When looking through what you spent your money on in the past month, are there any purchases that you can be more mindful about avoiding? These can include purchases made out of habit rather than enjoyment, emotional purchases or purchases that you can easily cut back on to stay on track to reach financial goals. This will help you refine your purchases in the future and stick to spending money on things you truly value.

2. List out your subscriptions and see if there are any you want to cancel and/or forgot to cancel.

Are you still paying for that gym membership even though you haven’t stepped on a treadmill in months? It might be time to cancel. Didn’t realize that you completed all your Babbel French lessons? Make sure to unsubscribe and put that money to use elsewhere.

3. Report any fraud on your account.

Did a company overcharge you, double charge you or not refund you money that you’re owed? You can actually dispute a charge directly with your credit card company, which is what I recommend. If you are disputing with a debit card purchase, I would go to customer service of the company to try to negotiate first. 

4. Look at your account balances in full.

For this step, I love using Empower’s free financial dashboard. It’s the tool that I recommend for progress towards your goals because you can see all your accounts in one place, so it makes your money date go faster. Millions of people use these financial tools to get a complete view of their financial picture. With all your accounts aggregated in one place, you can:

  • Plan for retirement given a wide range of scenarios.
  • Budget and save for your short-term and long-term goals.
  • Analyze your investments and uncover hidden fees.

It’s easier to do all those things once you know where you stand.

5. Check your progress toward goals.

Now that you have a good idea of your financial situation, it’s time to take a look at both your monthly and yearly money goals. Ask yourself, “How much did I spend on credit cards? Can I cut back on some spending to get me to that goal faster?”

Again, I recommend using Empower’s free financial dashboard for this step. With their intuitive Savings Planner tool, you can see how much you are saving and how much you need to save in order to reach your goals. Use it to plan your annual retirement savings, your emergency fund and progress towards paying down debt.

Once you feel more aligned with where you’re at financially and understand what changes you need to make this coming month, congrats! You’ve officially finished your money date.

Money dates allow you to both make sure you are, in fact, progressing toward your goals and — more importantly — allow you to reflect to see all the progress you’ve made so far.

So go ahead — take care of yourself.


Tori Dunlap

Tori Dunlap


Tori Dunlap is a millennial money and career expert. After saving $100,000 at age 25, Tori founded Her First $100K to fight financial inequality by giving women actionable resources to better their money. A Plutus award winner, her work has been featured on Good Morning America, New York Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, and more. An honors graduate of the University of Portland, Tori currently lives in Seattle, where she enjoys eating fried chicken, going to barre classes, and attempting to naturally work John Mulaney bits into conversation.


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