What is a financial detox?
We’ve all heard of the term ‘detox’ in relation to health and wellness, taking a break from over indulging in the booze, or even for more serious matters like beating a drug addiction. Officially, a 'detox' is a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification.
And, just like in a regular detox, where you need to follow certain steps in order to detox your body from bad toxins and set it back on the path to health and wellbeing, so do you need to for a financial detox.
A financial detox is a process where you need to rid yourself and your life of toxic spending and financial habits in order to put yourself back on a financially beneficial path.
Step One: Resting the organs through fasting
Usually on a health detox you fast for a short period of time in order to give your organs a break from having to filter toxins and harmful chemicals that you ingest. By fasting you give your organs time to heal, and work through any painful inflammation or irritation.
The same goes for a financial detox. Rest your bank account for a while by cutting all your spending. If you can stop your outgoings for even a short period of time, like a few days, then you will get a good grip on what exactly is in your account before you start. It also gives you some breathing room and mental wellness to stop seeing your account balance constantly going down.
Step Two: Avoid your trigger foods
Simple as it sounds in detox terms: don’t tempt yourself with fatty or unhealthy foods that are bad for your body and at odds with your detox attempt.
It’s also simple in terms of your financial detox too. Don’t go anywhere that will make it hard to maintain your detox. i.e. the pub, the mall, or any of your online stores. Even if you have party animal friends, stay away from them! Stay strong. It’s only for a short time after all; you can push through it.
Step Three: Stimulating the liver to drive toxins from the body.
Apparently, when the liver is toxic and stressed it can’t process efficiently. This is not a good thing for you. Therefore, when you go on a detox you’re encouraged to stimulate your liver by eating things like raw vegetable juice (which sounds delightful), potassium-rich foods, and other treats like thistle tea.
Similarly, in a financial detox, strive to drive toxic spending habits from your life. Do this by going through previous bank statements, we recommend going back at least 5 months to be thorough. Look at where your money is going; it could be disappearing in places you didn’t even realise. Maybe you weren’t aware that you drunk spend a lot at the weekends on free shots for the whole pub, or that your parking ticket in the city every Saturday is costing you nearly a tenner a week.
Furthermore, look at hidden costs or charges on your bank balance; anything that you don’t recognise or can’t account for. This could be from ATMs that aren’t free, online shopping that charges you for using a credit card, or small hidden costs on your phone or utility bills.
Look everywhere so that you are aware of all your spending habits and outgoings so that you can drive out negative spending behaviours from your daily life.
Step Four: Improving circulation of the blood
By improving circulation of the blood you improve the overall health of your body. Blood supplies oxygen to the brain and other organs. It can also lead to healthier looking skin and promote new cell growth. You can do this through deep tissue massage, eating more oranges, and exercising regularly (I know, I know).
In the same vein; improve the way that you circulate and save your money. Make a plan to start putting some savings away every month so that you’re not living pay cheque to paycheque. Using helpful apps like Oval Money can help you make small savings on a daily basis without having to think too much about it. It's a great way to start your savings habit.
You can also look to change the way you pay your bills and rent. Instead or always being terrified you won’t be able to make your big payments, change the payment dates to the day after payday. Make sure you cover all your necessary spends before you start to have fun with your money.
Step Five: Refuelling the body with healthy nutrients
Once your body has fasted and been cleansed of all the bad toxins, you can begin to reintroduce nutritious and vitamin rich foods. Eat only those things that are good for you and try to stay away from processed food and refined sugars.
For the final stage of your financial detox; focus on improving the way you spend your money in the long term. Slowly add things back in to your daily or monthly spending routines that you feel you need, or are beneficial and affordable. Do this one thing at a time in order to keep control on your outgoings and not let your old toxic spending habits creep back in. The Demotivator from Money Saving Expert is a great tool to keep spending in perspective. It stops you spending what you can't afford.
Refuel your life again but in a manageable and conscious way.