Personal Finance Daily: It’s time to initiate a money challenge you’ve been avoiding. Join us for week 2 of our money challenge!

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It’s time to blow up the shame we feel about money. Haven’t started saving for retirement and not sure where to start? Feel intense regret after you buy anything slightly expensive? We’ve been there and we want to help. Instead of worrying that you’re “bad with money,” let’s try to shift this mindset to “I’m learning more about money.”

That brings us to our first task of the week: 

Read one or two short articles that explain the relationship between our behavior and finances. 

If you’re anxious, it’s not just you: Millennials say anxiety about money is literally making them sick. But we’re going to tackle that in this challenge, and this story helps: Here are 5 things you can do right now to stop feeling so overwhelmed about money

Think about what makes a guilt-free purchase for you: Is it when you’ve budgeted for the expense? Is it when you’re buying something related to your hobbies that will bring you joy? Is it when you’re shopping for other people, and you like to provide for them? Noticing your patterns and feelings about money will help you understand your habits a bit more.

We pick up a lot of cues about money from our parents, friends and broader communities. 

Take a few minutes this week to think about what your relationship was with money growing up. 

We all have a money story, certified financial planner Christina Empedocles says. Maybe you grew up with financial hardship and now love to spend money but realize you need to rein it in. Maybe now you’re living far below your means and terrified to spend anything. Realizing your money story will help you make a plan, and financial therapists are great resources too.

Once you get a gauge of where you’re coming from, let’s take some action. 

Try to initiate that money conversation that you’ve been avoiding.

Have you wanted to open a joint savings account with your significant other? Get a parent’s opinion on a monthly budget? Want to research how to start saving for retirement? Get a date on the calendar and sit down for 30 minutes just looking at options. Don’t pressure yourself to commit to a decision yet, but picking a calm time to talk on the phone or in person with someone important will help open the conversation.

After you initiate that conversation, take a break! We’re almost halfway through our money challenge.

Sometimes it can be hard to know what we spend the most money on. 

Try to cut out non-essential spending for a few days. 

See what you miss when you pare it down to only essentials like groceries, utilities, bills, etc. That will be a good indicator to know what you value and what you can cut. Even delaying non-essential purchases like home decor or wardrobe updates can help you shore up your savings account!

Our goal with this money challenge is not to shame you into never buying a latte again or convincing you that avocado toast is holding you back from retirement. Instead, we want to think about how we use our money, how we feel about that and remove the shame.

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