One major source of stress for migrant domestic workers (and a lot of people) is their finances. But thinking about your finances does not have to stress you out or make you feel anxious.
Before you continue reading, breathe in deeply. Now, breathe out. Say out loud to yourself:
Finances are part of my health too.
What does that mean? Let’s think about food, for a minute. Food is vital to good health. Eating too much or too little, not eating on time, and even eating junk food all the time can make you unhealthy.
You can think about your finances in the same way. Spending too much or spending too little can affect your financial health. For example, spending too much could cause debt, while spending too little on important things (like medicine or other essentials) can cause you problems in the future, such as sickness.
Not adding to your savings “on time” (when you have some money to save) will also affect your financial health in the long run. And if you spend money on things that may be fun but you don’t really need and aren’t good for you (the financial version of “junk food”) your finances will suffer.
Fortunately, you can begin your financial health journey by taking small steps when it comes to saving, spending, and budgeting. Here are some practical tips to get you started!
1. Make a list.
Before shopping, make sure you check your shelves and list down what you need before buying new supplies. This way, you can avoid buying things you don't really need or won’t use yet.
2. Look for affordable alternatives.
Remember to compare the prices of different brands before buying. While you should never make cutbacks when it comes to essentials (like medicines and masks), you can find good quality items — like shampoo, clothes, and so on — at cheaper prices.
3. Set realistic financial goals.
Have you ever told yourself, “I will save £XXX by the end of the month!” only to reach the end of the month not being able to save that much? While doing your best to save is a good thing, setting a financial goal that is too high or difficult can be discouraging. It is more helpful to set a conservative but realistic goal when it comes to your finances and savings. That way, you can feel happy and accomplished at the end of a month for meeting your goal.
4. Try a different budgeting plan.
How do you budget your money? There are many ways to budget, so if you feel like the method you are using now isn’t working for you, feel free to try something else, like the envelope system, or zero based budgeting. Also, check out the TAYO basic budget calculator.
5. Before making a big financial decision — PAUSE.
There will be times when you are asked to spend on something unplanned, like a gift, or someone borrowing money. As much as possible, take some time to think about this and talk to the people involved. If the request is not an emergency, wait for a few hours, or a day, before giving a response. Taking some time to think before you spend could help you come up with other solutions that won’t affect your savings or your budget drastically.
Financial self-care is vital to your health, since it is connected to your physical and mental health too. When you are financially healthy, you are in a better position to make sure you are physically fit. Also, you won’t be as stressed or anxious about your finances, which is good for your mental health. So take care of yourself by taking care of your finances!
This post is part of TAYO’s 2021 #LoveYourself campaign and celebration for International Domestic Workers Day.
This special day takes place on 16 June each year.