Smart, happy finances: February’s Happiness Project theme

So I’ve said goodbye to January, and am waving in February along with its new batch of Happiness Project resolutions. I love that I get to make a new index card for each month (organisational nerd right here), and that I have a whole new topic to research and focus on. I was going to focus on my relationship this month, what with February being the month of love and all. But I realised I have a much more pressing relationship to figure out: my fling with my finances.

Finances, boring? Think again!

I’m actually really excited to get to grips with my finances, not least because we absolutely do not talk about money enough in our society. We all know the old adage ‘money can’t buy you happiness’, but I think we also know that our relationship with money can profoundly affect our happiness levels.

It’s definitely not as simple as how much money you have but, as Gretchen Rubin says in her chapter on money in The Happiness Project, “money satisfies basic material needs. It’s a means and an end”. I’m definitely aware I’m coming from a somewhat privileged financial position, and I’m going to go deeper into this in another post.

Smart, happy finances

My finances and I, it’s complicated

We have an up and down relationship. I’ve dabbled with budgeting, flirted with savings, and made the odd suggestive look in the way of changing my bank account. Mostly, though, my relationship with my finances has been categorised by a kind of puritanical guilt at spending with a treat yo’self streak appearing a few times a year. It’s complicated.

The dream happy finances relationship

As with any relationship I’d like to be comfortable. Understand what’s going on with them, feel able to be myself and fulfil my needs whilst also being invested in a future together.

I want to have a budget I update regularly to keep an eye on my incomings and outgoings. To have a savings goal for the year, and feel I have my savings in a place that’s working well. Also, I want to change my relationship with money so I’m not wracked with guilt each time I buy something I want more than need (not a regular occurrence). I want to stop feeling I have to be stingy even if I know I’m okay for money. I need to know that it’s okay to invest in myself, and feel confident in my ability to make wise choices.

February’s financial resolutions

I tried so hard to make that whole title alliterative, I really did. Here are my Happiness Project resolutions for the month:

Wise up

I want to learn about savings, budgeting, financial goals. So I can make choices and feel confident in these. One of the first things I’d like to do with this is switch my bank account, to one that pays me to do so!

Create a financial system

I need a way to keep track of my yearly financial goals, and my monthly incomings and outgoings. This is especially important to me now I’m a freelancer and finances are less stable.

Have a goal

I’ve never had a savings goal or anything like that. Surely if I want to manifest a certain amount of financial stability I need to have a goal?!

Change my relationship with money; “invest in you”

As mentioned above, I want to have a healthier relationship with my finances so they aren’t causing me unnecessary worry and guilt.

So that’s February, happy finances for the win!

I’d love to hear of any tips you have for me. How do you manage your finances? Do you have a yearly goal, or a monthly one? Let me know in the comments below.

Also, in case you’re wondering about January’s resolutions I will still be working to uphold these this month too. The idea is that each month’s resolutions get added to the next month’s throughout the year.

About ecarr

Ellen is a writer and theatre maker who has just taken the freelance plunge after too many years of 9-5 office life. She is a yoga teacher in training and passionate about pursuing your dreams.

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