Finances and stress, two words that seemingly go together all the time but are often over-feared. Many people fall victim to overthinking about their finances and letting them completely dictate their lives. Others may spend and swipe their credit cards without any plan and end up with problems later on. When it comes to being financially responsible, there’s no reason to stress. Whether you’re a beginner learning to budget or have been on your own financially for a long period and trying to get back on track, our tips can help everyone. Read along to find a few ways you can overcome financial stress and live the good life.
Step 1: Get Organized
When you feel stressed, it’s easy to think about all the ways you’re overwhelmed and let it continue to mount and prey on your mind. Rather than allowing that to take over, take a step back and try looking at your situation from a different view. Odds are you know where you’re slipping up and what it is that’s causing that stress.
What are your biggest monthly expenses? Rent, car payment, student loans? Do you shop online too much? Are you overusing a credit card that you can’t afford to pay off? Worst case scenario, you don’t know where your money is disappearing. If this is the case, download a subscription tracking app like Truebill to help organize where your money is going on a monthly basis.
Keep the list concise, choose three to five areas that trigger your financial stress and solely focus on those for the next month. If you find yourself stressed over a number of things, you may be suffering from decision-fatigue, but the great thing is you can apply this principle to everything in your life. Identifying these triggers is the first step to breaking down the problem and no longer seeing them as financially stressful. Try to start by jotting down a bi-weekly budget to help you take small steps to overcoming these areas.
Step 2: Keep Goals Realistic
So, you know your pain points. And you’ve identified the areas you need to reduce spending. Now, it’s time to save money and be perfectly stress free, right? Not so easy. Just as money is difficult to earn and easy to spend, learning to change your spending habits can bring with it a certain learning curve. Being realistic with your new budget and financial goals is just as much a part of reducing your stress as actually making those changes is.
If your goal is to save $500 to put toward a down payment on a home or a special trip, odds are you won’t make one drastic $500 change in your budget. However, it’s more likely you can find five ways to save $100.
Conversely, your money-saving and finance goals likely won’t be a one week or even one month fix. Steadily taking the right small steps to being fiscally responsible will eventually get you to your goal. Remember, it took you until now to realize that you need help and are financially stressed. Therefore, be realistic with yourself that it’s going to take some time to get over the hump!
Step 3: Practice Self-Care
At the end of the day, stress from your finances can impact every part of your life. There are dozens of symptoms of stress and each one can manifest itself in a different way throughout your day. While you focus on improving your finances, it’s vital you take time to focus on yourself.
Taking time for yourself to relax and step away from the regular hustle and bustle of your everyday life can make leaps and bounds for your mental health. Whether you wake up and workout, go on a walk during lunch, or spend some time on a hobby, doing something that makes you happy can help you refresh and reset your mind.
If you find that overcoming financial stress is too big a problem for you, and it’s impacting other parts of your life such as relationships, you may need to seek help from others. Talking to a counselor through online therapy can serve as a form of self-care and allow you to express yourself in a different way. A therapist may be able to provide you with methods to cope with stress and identify any triggers.
Whatever steps or activities you need to take for your own self-care are useful, no matter how much time they take. The more you do this, the more positive impact you will find they make in your daily life.
Financial stress can be a difficult topic for many people to talk about. Recognizing you are struggling and other aspects of your life are suffering is a great first step. Actually putting these practices to use is another thing. Remember, start small and take baby steps, no one expects you to solve everything right away. No matter what you do, the fact you’re starting to change is great. And over time, you’ll certainly tackle these stresses, we have full faith in you!
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