Today we have a guest post from Norma Spencer over at Coupon Chief.
One of the leading causes of stress in the United States is worry related to finances. Money literally plays a huge role in many aspects of your life such as your health and even relationships.
Anxiety and stress are closely related to one another so it’s no secret that worrying about money cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Like a vicious cycle, stress would go on to aggravate anxiety which would, in turn, increase your stressors.
Anxiety often stems from fear of the unknown or the anticipation of something bad happening. Financial anxiety may occur on different levels whether that involves financial worries keeping you up at night or you having a silent panic attack each day because you know that you can’t afford an emergency expense.
Editor’s note: My most embarrassing bout of financial anxiety occurred when my boyfriend (now husband) and I took a vacation and I was stressed out the entire time about money. I worried a lot about our spending because I knew we couldn’t really afford all the extra costs that came with the trip which made me frustrated and irritable.
The key to overcoming financial anxiety is to get a grip on your finances and start to manage your money efficiently. By standing up to your fears and getting control over your finances – instead of having it control you – you can start to feel less anxious and more confident about your situation.
Similarly, teenagers are not left out and this is why an important part of their overall development is their financial education.
However, this could take quite a bit of work to accomplish so you grab roll up your sleeves, grab a seat and come along on this short trip to overcome financial anxiety.
Here are some tips that would definitely help:
1. Take a Good Look At Your Finances
This is about the most courageous step that you need to take. It involves taking a good look at those figures that cause your sleepless nights. If you begin to feel tense, remind yourself that you are doing it so that you can stop feeling that way. You would need to review your finances.
This basically implies taking a look at all aspects of your finances including the following:
- The exact figure that comes into your accounts such as your paychecks or extra earnings
- The portion of your money that goes to paying debts such as loans and credit card debt
- How much you spend on the basic necessities such as housing, utilities, and groceries
- Your miscellaneous spending including entertainment and other expenses
- The exact figure that goes into your savings or investment
After doing this religiously for about a month, take a look at your balance (if there is any left), this would help you understand what your finances actually look like apart from the picture that you have painted in your head.
When this is done, there is no assurance that it would be better than you thought, it could even be worse. However, it is one of the most essential steps to taking control of your finances.
Keep that in mind. Also, it pretty much gets easier from there, you would have taken the most difficult step successfully.
2. Focus On the Positives and What You Can Control
You might feel a bit down after taking a critical look at your finances, so you would need to consciously uplift yourself. How? By focusing on the positive aspects.
While positive thinking isn’t going to take away our financial problems, it would help you stay calm mentally. Also, it would help you identify and appreciate the areas of your finances that you are actually doing well.
This would then inadvertently give you the push you need to tackle the negatives.
A great way to do this is to grab a pen and a piece of paper and list out all the positives. For instance, you could be taking in a good salary and putting a portion of it into an IRA or a 401k.
You could have made provision for putting aside an emergency fund. These are aspects of your financial management that you need to appreciate.
If you are not doing any of this, the fact that you pay certain bills on time should be sufficient motivation. This would help you to stay completely calm and keep your head clear as well.
3. Start Planning
Now that your head is probably clear, it’s time to get to work. The first thing to do is to create a scale of preference for your financial goals. In order words, you need to prioritize.
The first problem to tackle should be the one that bothers you the most. And you should take your time dealing with these issues, one at a time is advised.
Taking on many goals at once could lead to a buildup of stress or even a panic attack. When you begin to feel like you have got it under control, you can then take on multiple goals at once.
In the way of goals, for instance, if you do not have any money saved up, the first thing to do is to set up an emergency fund as soon as you can. In order to do this, you would need to take into account all the details involved. Details such as the total amount you intend to get saved, how much you plan on taking out of your paycheck as it comes in, and how long it would take to attain your goal.
Related: How to Achieve Goals You Set This Year
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You need to realize that in order to save, you should have some money left over after allocating cash from your paycheck to other bills. If you don’t, then you would need to focus your efforts on ensuring that you free up that sum.
After achieving this, you can pat yourself on the back and move on to the next goal.
The fact that you are actively working on your finances would keep you motivated and reduce your stress and anxiety.
4. Stay Honest and Consistent
The key to maintaining long-term financial freedom is, to be honest to yourself and consistent. Leveraging your relationships to help you along is a great idea.
This way, you can stay accountable and recall that you are doing this for your own good and for the good of your loved ones as well. In addition, this would keep you motivated and focused on your goals. Consistency demands that you continuously review your finances and pay close attention to where your money is going.
This would give you a semblance of control and help you keep tabs on your daily and weekly spending.
Also, this would imply no high credit card bills and overdrafts since you would know exactly how much you’ve spent. If you feel like you need help, meeting a financial professional is another way to go and they would help you keep tabs as well.
Finally, remember that you’re not perfect yet but you are putting in an effort. So, if you slip up once in a while, don’t go too hard on yourself.
It may take a while to adjust but recall that consistency is how to change. Provided you still have your goals in mind and you are striving towards achieving them, you deserve accolades.
5. Give Yourself a Break Consciously
The truth about life is that we always wish we could change something, we’re almost never satisfied—more money in the bank, a bigger house, a nicer car, on and on.
However, you are allowed to commend yourself once in a while. Give yourself a pat on the back for all the things that you have accomplished. Take a break, buy yourself a present, go on a vacation if you can afford it. Why?? Simply because you deserve it.
Also, consciously find ways to relax. Visiting a spa once in a while isn’t bad, you could take meditation or listen to very calming music.
Related: Why I Took a Debt Payoff Break
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All of these would help you in your fight against anxiety. At a point, you suddenly realize that you are no longer as bothered as you used to be.
And when you get to this point, you can congratulate yourself because you have successfully ridden yourself of the one problem that bugged you the most.
Now, you are well on your way to controlling your financial anxiety and becoming free.
Stop Worrying About Money and Regain Control
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