Stressed about money? You’re not the only one.
I always found it strange that there wasn’t a mandatory Money 101 class in school. Instead, what you understand about finances is often passed down through family, friends and media. This however, can be limiting, especially when many people still find the subject of money taboo. How can you learn how to handle your finances when you’re not even allowed to talk about them?
It’s no surprise that this lack of communication leaves many struggling with financial anxiety.
Fear of funds can be paralyzing. So before you find yourself drowning in bills or dreaming of debt, face your fears and learn how to manage your financial stress. What can you do to alleviate this stress? Is it coming from something else? Time to step back, take a deeper look and understand the signs and solutions to money anxiety.
How to Tell if You’re Dealing with Financial Anxiety
If you’re unsure whether money is stressing you out, consider the following.
Do you find yourself:
- Fearing unexpected expenses
- Unsure of where your money is coming from
- Feeling guilty after spending any amount of money
- Always choosing the least expensive option (no matter the quality)
- Feeling afraid to spend money
- Unsure of where all of your money went
- Avoiding checking your bank account
- Avoiding paying bills
- Not saving money
One or more of these factors can add to your daily stress if you don’t deal with them. In the case of financial management, ignorance is not bliss. Avoiding all things related to personal finances can ultimately lead to mismanagement of your money. It’s important to stay in tune and check in with your feelings about money during the times in between when rent is due.
4 Ways to Take Control of Your Financial Stress
When it comes to your finances, you need to be in the driver’s seat. So how can you get there? Here are a few methods to alleviate stress and get in control of your money.
1. Create or Rework your Budget
If you’re new to creating a budget now is your chance to spend some time getting to know your finances. If you’re prone to avoiding all things money related, creating a budget will take you right out of that bad habit. The first step of building a monthly budget is gathering all of your financial documents – from the utility bills that are hiding in the back of your junk drawer to the paychecks stubs you’ve saved every month. To make an accurate budget for yourself, you must analyze your spending and expenses, so in short, you know exactly how much money is coming in and how much money you are spending. This will help you visualize where your money is going so that you can cut costs when needed and set your sights on saving.
If you already have a budget, you’re on your way. Now is the time to review and adjust. You should evaluate your budget monthly to reflect changes in your spending habits.
2. Start an Emergency Fund
One of the major causes of financial stress comes from not having a savings account. Without a plan b, you may be dreading the day when your car breaks down or you have to take time off work. When creating or evaluating your budget, you should make a category for an emergency fund. This fund can differ from your savings account, as it should remain untouched, unless it is needed for expenses related to an emergency.
You can easily start an emergency fund by allocating a small percentage of your income each month. As time passes, your fund will grow and you’ll be prepared for anything.
3. Ask for Help
Money can be a taboo subject when it comes to friends and family. Because of this it can be difficult to communicate your stress. If you find that there is no one you can talk with, try making an appointment with a financial advisor to quell your stress.
Financial services like those provided by the Foundation for Financial Planning provide pro-bono resources, including advice from volunteer financial planners to help you gain a basic understanding of money management.
If your money stress is rooted in something other than the reality of your finances, a therapist may be a better option. Voicing your fears and concerns will reduce their burden and allow you to speak more freely about any problems that arise in the future.
Learn Learn Learn
Let me just throw a few financial terms out there and you can see how you feel: 401K, capital gains, asset, net worth. If those don’t make you scratch your head, then you may be able to skip this step. However if you’re like me, then you’ll benefit from a little bit of research.
Broadening your understanding of money basics will help them seem less intimidating. There are numerous books, online courses, blogs, and resources out there for you to explore. Knowing the terminology will help you apply it to the real-life scenarios you face when spending each day.
Manage Your Money Stress on a Personal Level
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for handling stress. What works for you may not work for someone else. The first step to alleviating any stress is facing it head on. That means checking in with yourself throughout the week, staying informed of your current financial situation, and continuing to educate yourself on money management.
If you’re overwhelmed with this new to-do list, then look no further than the RebateKey blog! It’s the perfect starting place to find tips on saving money and to keep up with the newest financial trends. Sign up or sign in to start shopping hundreds of new products at discounted rates.