Financial stress and anxiety affect 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.
The 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 stressful financial position 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 believe 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.
HOW TO DEAL WITH FINANCIAL AND ANXIETY
Talk about it
The number one mistake people make in these situations is they 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 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 its own.
2. Review your budget
If you have a budget, look at what you can change. Is there a category you can eliminate? Maybe you can reduce your spending on another item until you address the situation.
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
I know, it sounds ridiculous, but it may work. It might mean that it is time to change careers or jobs. You may 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
Debt 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 easy to get in over your head.
Taking steps to get out of debt can vastly improve your financial stress. It will not be easy. I know, 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 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, would you? Of course not, that would be foolish. You would 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.
Then, make small steps to achieve your goals. There is no way you can make everything happen in a few days. Celebrate your victories along the way to getting where you want to be.
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 watch the balance drop and monitor our progress.
8. Be honest with yourself
If your financial issues are due to something you have done, own it. The sooner you can come to term with what happened, the quicker you will alleviate the stress you feel. You will be able to hold yourself accountable for your actions and ensure you do not end up making the same mistakes again.
No matter what causes you financial stress and anxiety, there are things you can do to overcome it. First take ownership and then, take the necessary steps to move forward.