Financial stress is a big challenge for many Americans. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened it. Before the pandemic, 78% of Americans were already living paycheck to paycheck. And 60% felt stressed about money, according to the American Psychology Association report. Experts warn that stressed or anxious adults are more likely to make costly financial mistakes, like taking on more debt and withdrawing money from their retirement savings. We don't want you to end up there. So, in today's post, we share five ways that can help you deal with money stress.
Talk to Someone About Your Financial Stress
When having money issues, it can be very easy to bottle up everything and try to face it alone. Some of us are not even brave enough to open up about our situation because we consider money a taboo subject. However, feeling shame, embarrassed or awkward about discussing your finances will only make things worse. During these tough economic times, you're likely to find many people who understand what you're going through because they are also going through the same.
Talking to someone about your financial situation has been proven to relieve stress. It can also help you see things more clearly. People who keep money issues to themselves risk amplifying them until they seem unbeatable. So, talk to someone like a trusted friend, family member, or a professional.
Take Inventory of Your Finances
When struggling to make ends meet, many of us think we can ease the stress by not monitoring our bank statements, avoiding phone calls, and leaving bills unpaid. We prefer to live in denial. The reality is that refusing to accept you're in a tight spot will only add salt to injury. Financial experts say the first step to recovery involves being bold enough to take a closer look at your finances.
Here you want to detail your income, spending, and debt to have a clear picture of where you stand. The good news is that you don't have to do it the manual way. A number of apps and websites can help you stay on top of your finances.
While at it, please remember to:
- Include all your sources of income
- Track all your spending, including small expenses like a cup of coffee
- Identify your spending patterns and triggers
- Strive to make small changes
- Eradicate impulse buying
Develop a Plan and Stick to It to Deal With Financial Stress
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to financial stress. What works for someone else may not necessarily work for you. To turn your finances around, you must come up with a plan. That might include living on a tighter budget, cutting your online spending, finding a new job, or seeking government benefits. So, after taking inventory of your finances, it's time to set goals, plan and strive to stick to them.
To help you do that, here are a few tips:
- Identify specific financial problems
- Devise a solution with a trusted friend, family member, or a financial advisor
- Put your plan into action
- Regularly monitor your progress
- Don't let setbacks destroy you along the way
Don't Compare Yourself With Others
Many of us create more financial stress by spending more time looking at what others are doing or thinking. We forget that everyone is dealing with their own financial situations. For example, while you may have a spending problem, someone else may be dealing with an income. Or even worse, they may be worsening their financial situation. So, instead of wasting time and energy looking at your neighbor's lawn, why don't you focus on yours? Start by accepting that your financial situation is different from other people's and that's fine.
Don't Be So Hard on Yourself
Money affects every aspect of our lives and many of us are uncomfortable talking about it. And sadly, a big part of our financial stress comes from the fact that we tend to assume we are the only ones going through it. But that's not true.
Overcome Financial Stress
You're not alone. Many people have overcome financial challenges and you can beat them too. We hope these tips help you take back control of your financial life. Good luck!