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Money-related stress is more common than you might think. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 72% of adults feel stress about their finances.
In this article, we’ll discuss seven ways to manage any financial stress that you may be experiencing.
By reducing financial stress, you may be able to mitigate anxiety, sleep loss, and general emotional tension around your personal finances.
Let’s jump right in.
What is Financial Stress?
Financial stress is emotional tension that you feel related to thinking about your finances. You might feel financial stress when you’re struggling to pay bills or when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
You might experience financial stress when you work a job where you are unhappy but unable to leave for fear of being unable to replace your paycheck with a new job in a timely manner.
According to VeryWellMind.com, severe financial stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and behavioral changes such as withdrawing from social activities.
How to Manage Financial Stress
Managing financial stress is key if it’s causing a negative impact in your life. Here are seven ways to do so.
1. Focus on What You Can Control
There may be many things about your finances that are causing you stress, however, it isn’t helpful to focus on things that you can’t control.
Instead, focus on what you can change. For example, suppose you regularly order takeout or go out to eat. In that case, one action you can take is to start cooking for yourself more frequently, as a home-cooked meal is significantly more affordable than eating out at a restaurant.
If you’re a compulsive online shopper and your credit card balance is causing you stress, consider deleting all your credit card information from every website you shop at and then hiding your credit cards.
Doing this makes it more difficult for you to make an impulsive purchase as you’ve added several steps between when you have the impulse and when you would make the purchase.
2. Sit Down With Your Partner or Family Members
When you sit down with your partner or family members who share finances with you, you can discuss how you’re feeling and devise a plan to improve the household's financial situation.
Some things to go over include:
- How much you’re spending on the credit card
- Short and long-term financial goals
- Financial wins and struggles recently
By talking to your partner or family members, you can get everyone on the same financial page, which helps everyone improve the household finances.
3. Re-Evaluate Your Budget
One effective way to manage financial stress is to get a better picture of your household finances. You can do this by creating a budget and tracking your spending.
Use your credit card and bank statements to categorize your spending habits and then see how much money you have left over each month.
Using a budget, you can identify where you’re spending too much and where you can cut back.
You might see that you’re spending too much on subscriptions that you don’t use or that your cable, internet, or phone bills are too high.
In these cases, you can cancel unused subscriptions or downgrade your cable, internet, and phone plans.
The app Trim can help you do this automatically as it negotiates bills for you and helps you identify unused subscriptions. Trim is “mostly free” as the company only charges you a portion of the money you save.
4. Look for Ways to Make More Money
As you evaluate your budget, you may realize that it would help to make more money, as that way, you can do things such as pay down debt quicker or catch up on bills that you may have fallen behind on.
Here are some ways to increase your earnings:
- Pick up an extra shift at work: If your job allows it, consider working more hours, even if it’s just a few hours a week. The extra money can add up quickly, and this can help alleviate financial stress as you’ll start catching up on anything you’ve fallen behind on.
- Start a side hustle or pick up a part-time job: A side hustle or part-time job may be more hours per week than picking up an extra shift, but doing so could significantly increase the amount of money you make, even if you only do this for a few months.
- Help solve your boss’s work-related problems and ask for a raise or get a promotion: A raise or a promotion means more money without having to work more hours. This method may take time but can be quite effective if you don’t have time to spend many more hours with a part-time job or regular extra shifts.
5. Consider Your Support Systems
When you’re stressed about your financial situation, consider reaching out to friends and loved ones for support. You can also consider a support group if you feel that would be more helpful.
Having support from friends or a group can help alleviate how you’re feeling as you’ll have a safe place to talk about your situation and how it’s making you feel.
6. Reach Out to Your Lenders
If you’re struggling to stay on time with your debts, you’ll want to reach out to your lenders before falling behind. Lenders will often work with you to help you stay current.
They might offer a forbearance, a loan restructure, or temporarily forgive late fees.
Be open with your lenders so that they’re more willing to help you find a solution.
7. Speak to a Professional
Consider talking to financial advisor as they can help you set up a plan to work on your financial situation.
They can help you manage your debt, create savings goals, and identify where you can reduce living expenses and make more money.
Having a financial advisor behind you can help you feel more confident that you’ll get through this period. You don’t need to go through financial stress by yourself.
Wrapping It Up
Many people feel financial stress at one point or another. When it starts to negatively impact your life, it’s time to take steps to alleviate it.
Online resources exist to help you track your finances. One such resource is Personal Capital.
Personal Capital offers free online financial software, a mobile app, retirement investment services, and personal wealth management services. Take control of your finances with Personal Capital's personal finance tools.
Dave is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®) and is passionate about spreading financial literacy. He founded Clean Cut Finance in 2021 and has been featured on websites like Yahoo! Finance, MoneyGeeks, and GoBankingRates. In his spare time, Dave enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, racing simulation, and reading.