By Emily Janus
Ah, January… the time of year when everyone is ready to start fresh and tackle their goals. Energy is high and anything seems possible. The most popular New Year’s resolutions tend to gear towards losing weight and getting finances in order. These are also two areas in which success is highly dependent on the other. Many people enter into their commitments for the New Year without a plan. They declare their resolutions, “I’m going to get my finances in order this year!” or “I’m going to start exercising this year!” yet they have no idea how to get started.
How do fitness and finance relate to one another?
- Budgets. With finances, it’s typical to use a monthly budget for expenses. Maintaining a monetary budget includes tracking your spending to ensure that your outflows do not exceed your inflows of cash. If they do, you will incur debt. Make a monthly budget and stick to it. The same goes for a dietary budget, with the exception that it will be a daily budget rather than monthly. Tracking calories is critical to maintaining a dietary budget to ensure that your daily intake does not exceed your daily calorie expenditure. If it does, you will gain weight.
- “If you don’t have it, you can’t ____ it.” With money, if you don’t have it, you can’t spend it. Use cash instead of credit or debit and when you run out, you run out. You won’t be tempted to use cards if you don’t have them with you and using cash will help you stay within your budget. Doing this will also help you decide if something is truly worth the money that is in your pocket. Is it a need or is it a want? This questioning takes practice and discipline, but can be a great tool to help you stay on track. With food, if you don’t have it, you can’t eat it. Remove tempting foods from the house! Make a grocery plan for the week (using your new budget!) and only get what is on the list. Fill it with healthy and nutritious foods that will provide your body with proper fuel, not junk. Drink water instead of soda. It’s free and it’s the best thing that you can drink to improve your body’s functions. Win-win.
- Stress. Stress plays a big role in both our spending and our health. Ironically, many people tend to overspend if they are stressed about debt instead of dealing with the underlying problem. People also spend their time and money devouring high-calorie foods and alcoholic drinks when they are stressed, which is a detriment to both the budget and the diet. Incorporating daily exercise into your life will help relieve stress and improve mental clarity, which will make it easier to deal with your financial woes. Another bonus? It will also help you lose weight and improve your physical health.
By now you may be wondering how to create a budget. I will start with a monetary budget. Begin with your monthly take home pay. This is your inflow for the month. Expenses should be allocated in the following manner:
Housing 35% – This includes rent or mortgage payments, insurance, taxes, utilities, homeowner’s association fees, etc.
Transportation 15% – This includes car payments, car insurance, gas, maintenance, licensing fees, any public transportation costs, etc.
Life 25% – This includes medical insurance, day care, cable, telephone, cell phone, clothing, personal care, pet care, club fees, vacations, entertainment, etc.
Debt 15% – This includes credit card debt, back taxes owed, student loan debt, collection items, etc.
Savings 10% – This includes savings and emergency fund building.
These are merely guidelines of a balanced budget to help get you started.
As for creating a fitness regimen, simply start with a plan. There are a multitude of apps and websites available to help you track calories (as well as spending) and determine your daily caloric needs. Start there and set realistic goals for yourself. Saying that you are going to “work out more” is not specific enough. Instead, say, “I will exercise at a moderate intensity for 45 minutes, 3 days a week.” It must be specific, measurable and attainable within a specified time frame.
Keep in mind what your priorities in life are. Is what you are doing today aligned with what is important to you? Brainstorm your goals and create a to-do list that will help you accomplish them.
Cheers to the New Year and good luck in reaching all of your goals in 2014!
About Emily Janus
Emily has lost a total of 100 pounds herself and knows what is like to struggle with losing weight and getting fit. Having worked in the credit union field for the past 15 years, Emily has an extensive background in the financial services industry.
Her services include
- Motivation, accountability, & support
- Personalized workout programs
- Turbo Kick classes
- Financial counseling and education to get out of debt, create a budget and build a solid financial background