Financial stress, whether it’s the result of redundancy, debt, unexpected expenses or savings gaps, is a problem.
Financial wellness is important. It gives you security, enables you to buy the items you need (and other things that you want). What you might not realize, though, is that it’s also crucial for your overall health. Now, we’re not talking about being able to afford organic avocados and a week at a spa (though that would be nice!). But rather, being financially ‘well’ means you feel secure enough in your financial position so that you are not losing sleep or getting acid indigestion when you think about your future!
Here are 3 ways to battle (and overcome) financial stress in your life:
First, talk to someone…
If you’re wondering how to stop worrying about money, talking could really help. Start with your spouse. Money stress is the number reason for divorce. Communicating and SOLVING problems together can help avoid relationship tragedies. Talking finance with the rest of your family should be your next step. It doesn’t necessarily mean asking your family for financial help, although they may offer this if they can. It’s more about making them aware that you’re struggling.
Also, sometimes just talking about your problem with someone out loud can help give some much needed relief. Keeping all your anxiety inside your own head can cause it to become magnified. Never feel ashamed talking about your problems. Your family, or friend, might be able to offer a new perspective on what you could do differently to get your financial issue under control. If you don’t have close ties with immediate family members, seek out time with your closest friend. This is all about getting the emotional SUPPORT you need!
Second, get advice…
There are many groups out there who can give you free advice on how to deal with your stress over money worries. Knowing there’s a problem is one thing, getting the SOLUTION to the problem is the big thing!
Some areas of need may include:
- Managing debt
- Dealing with creditors
- Housing rights
- Debt Reduction/Elimination
Resources for help include:
- National Debtlineand Stepchange are both debt charities offering free expert debt advice
- Money Advice Serviceoffer free and impartial advice on managing your money.
IMPORTANT TO NOTE: Sometimes a financial problem has its roots somewhere else – for example, mental health issues can lead to overspending, and gambling problems often go hand in hand with financial stress, for obvious reasons. If you’re facing a serious problem like this, you need the right kind of professional help.
You can also find support in online forums where you can talk openly while staying anonymous. MoneySavingExpert.com has a wide range of busy forums where you can find support and information on specific financial issues, but remember that advice from strangers on the internet should always be taken with a large pinch of salt. For practical advice rather than just emotional support, you are better off turning to the experts.
Third & Most important, make a plan and stick to it…
Some financial problems are easier to solve than others. Perhaps your household has a reasonable income, yet you’re somehow still struggling to meet priority bills. This could be improved by better budgeting so you can really see where your money is going each month. Take stock of your situation by listing all of your outgoing expenses and evaluate areas where you may be able to reduce, or remove altogether, certain expenses.
Keeping track of all your spending for a month or two can be a real eye opener – maybe something as simple as meal planning could reduce your outgoings enough to let you get on top of your bills. You would be surprised how pre-planning meals and your grocery shopping can drastically influence your bottom line when it comes to keeping dollars in your pockets.
If you’re trying to reduce debt, you could draw up a plan of action using this ‘snowball calculator’. By putting in the size of each debt and its interest rate, it suggests in what order you could tackle each one to get them paid off fastest while paying the least in interest payments. Reducing debt is the number one weapon in your arsenal of financial warfare. If you want a real eye opener, add up all the interest you are paying on your various credit cards or loans in any given month. Now, ask yourself what you could do with ALL that extra cash that is going into someone’s else’s pocket right now. Remember, that interest money is YOUR money!!!
Making a plan to overcome your financial problem can empower you and make you feel more in control. Don’t ignore those red-lettered envelopes, open your statements and find out the real situation, even if it’s hard. The “bury-your-head-in-the-sand” approach just won’t work. Financial problems never go away on their own. But the good news is, they CAN and WILL go away if you will take the steps necessary to make it happen.
Make your plan. Work your plan. Stick to your plan.
And remind yourself often….
… “You Got This!”