Financial stress and anxiety affects millions of people. The reasons why differ for all of them, but the way to overcome it is the same.
No matter how much or little you make, you have probably felt financial stress at some point in your life. It doesn’t matter how well you think you’ve planned (or haven’t), things can happen that cause you stress or anxiety.
As yourself if you have dealt with any of these situations:
- Your income dropped and now you can’t pay your bills.
- There was an unexpected expense that drained your savings.
- The debts keep building up and you can’t pay it down.
- You have had a medical issue and insurance did not cover it.
Chances are that many of you were able to answer yes to at least one of these statements. The truth is that you aren’t alone. Thousands of Americans are in the same situation as you. They move from one financial stressful situation to the other – or juggle many of them at the same time.
The main reason that we feel this is because of our lack of control. Or, what we feel we have no control over.
Believe it or not, there are things you can do to gain control and, in turn reduce the financial stress or anxiety you are experiencing.
ELIMINATING FINANCIAL STRESS AND ANXIETY
1. Talk about it. The number one mistake people make when they are stressed about anything is to avoid it. There is this belief that if I don’t talk about or address it, then it is not true. If you don’t, the situation will continue to get worse.
You need to look directly at the financial situation which is causing you great stress and anxiety. It can help to write it down, along with ideas which might make it better. If you are in a relationship, talk to your spouse or partner about it.
Whatever you do, don’t ignore it. It won’t go away on it’s own.
2. Review your budget. If you have a budget, refer to it to see what can be changed. Is there a category you can eliminate completely? Maybe you can reduce your spending on another item until this situation is addressed.
Of course, if you do not have a budget, then you must start there. Even if you are completely broke, you need a budget. Your budget is your financial roadmap. It guides you to make the right spending choices and to see where your money goes.
Reviewing your budget helps you identify what works and what doesn’t. You should visit your budget at least once a month so you always know where you are going, and where you’ve been.
3. Make more money. This may seem ridiculous, but it is actually an idea that might work. It may mean that it is time to change careers or jobs. You might need to find a way to bring in more money to your household. There are many ways you can work from home and make more money, you just have to find the right niche.
4. Comparison shop. If you need to make a major purchase, don’t run down the street to the closest store and make your purchase. Take time to do your research on the item you want. Make sure you read the customer reviews and also check prices.
Once you know which item you want, visit your store to buy it. You might be able to price match to get the best deal or even negotiate the price (hint: cash helps with this).
5. Get rid of your debt. This is one of the main reasons people have financial stress. Debt can be a result of overspending or even life tossing obstacles your way. It does not always mean you were irresponsible with your spending. If you had a medical situation, lost your job or had another unforeseen emergency come your way, it is very easy to get in over your head.
Taking the steps to get out of debt can vastly improve your financial stress. It will not be easy. I know this, because I’ve been in your shoes. However, if you can put together a plan and begin making progress towards your goals, you will find your stress is reduced, or possibly even eliminated.
6. Seek professional help. It might be time to seek professional help. If you are in debt and struggling, you can call 866-948-5666 and they will help. You may want to consult a financial planner if you stress over saving for college and/or retirement.
Asking for help does not make you weak, it shows you are smart. If you needed surgery, you would not perform it on yourself. Of course not, that would be foolish. You would go find a surgeon. The same is true with your finances.
7. Set goals. Decide what you want from your finances. Make a vision board, or post an image of that goal where you will see it every single day. When you can visualize your goals and see them in front of you, they become real. They are no longer a thought in the back of your mind. Seeing that in front of you keeps you focused.
For example, when my husband and I were working on paying off our debt, I had a paper on the refrigerator with a total amount owed on it. As we made payments, I would update it. It was in front of my face every day. I could see how much we owed, but more than that, I was able to actually see our progress as I watched the balance drop.
No matter what causes you financial stress and anxiety, there are things you can do to overcome it. You need to first take ownership and then, take the necessary steps to move forward.