By Ana Gonzalez
Stress about your finances can be all-consuming. You might feel it when discovering you’ve lost your wallet out in public, or when receiving an unexpected bill, or upon realizing there is not enough money in your savings account to deal with an emergency.
Often, this stress comes from upcoming financial situations or other financial hardships, and it can cause many problems, such as anxiety, trouble sleeping, depression, feelings of guilt and a sense of loss of personal control. Financial stress has the power to overwhelm you until all you think about are bills and unresolved debt.
However, there are healthy ways to cope with and avoid financial stress, and to get you thinking positively about your financial future.
Change starts with you. You will be unable to navigate through your finances if you are not realistic about your income, your limitations, and your goals. To avoid or combat financial stress, you must take inventory of and understand and organize your income, your spending habits and your debts. You should also feel proud about starting this step and of taking control of your financial wellness.
Manage your money
It is best to face your fears head-on and assess where you are. Collect and organize your bills and expenses by the date due and/or amount owed. You could use a pen and paper to keep track of your bills. There are apps that can help you keep track as well. Choose the method that best fits your lifestyle.
Take control of your finances. Write down your income, track your expenses and decide where your money is meant to go. Creating a budget will help determine whether you are spending more money than you are making. If that is the case, a budget can help you prioritize and deal with your finances in a healthy manner.
Focus on saving
Life happens; this is the truth. We could easily run into unexpected debt and be unsure of how to deal with it. An emergency fund helps you cover unexpected costs. Planning ahead and starting to focus on saving little by little for an emergency fund can help you avoid the stress that is felt in situations where money is needed but is scarce.
Seek practical help
If you find it difficult to manage your finances on your own, find practical help elsewhere. You could enroll in money management courses, ask trusted friends advice on their methods of money management or seek help from financial planners to create a budget and a savings strategy.
There is no shame in asking for help, but make sure that the place you seek help from is trustworthy and legitimate and keeps your best interests in mind.
It is important to note that there are additional ways to help you deal with financial stress. Exercising, practicing yoga, meditating and focusing on hobbies, such as cooking or reading, are all ways to refocus your stress when you get overwhelmed. This way, you can take some time off from your worries and allow your mind and body to relax and have a fresh breath of air. It is a good idea when stressed to take the time to regroup, plan an action strategy and then deal with your finances head-on.
Financial stress can be overwhelming and make you feel as though it is the end of the world, but this is not the case. There are healthy ways to cope with financial stress and practical money management strategies to avoid it. The YLAI Network encourages everyone to work to understand their financial stress and the many ways to overcome it on their way to financial wellness.