How to deal with money stress | Practical strategies

How to deal with money stress | Practical strategies

I am not a financial adviser nor an accountant, however, I am a professional counselor and one who focuses on reducing and managing stress. Or as I like to say kicking stress right in the behind.

Money for most people is a trigger in life. Money may trigger people to feel anxious, frustrated, happy, excited, depressed, sad, angry and many more feelings.

We are going to focus on helping you create control over yourself which in turn will help you manage your emotions when triggered by money.

In a very simple way we are going to follow the 3 steps below to help reduce stress triggered by money.

  • Step 1: Awareness of the origin of the

  • Step 2: Awareness of how the stress impacts you and those around

  • Step 3: Creating awareness and control over your

Step 1: Awareness of stress

You are experiencing stress because of money.

I want you to grab a sheet of paper and something to write with. Next find all your bills and payments that you or your family are responsible for. Make sure to document your information by monthly expenses. Somewhere on the page write down your yearly and monthly income after taxes (if applicable add your partners). As mentioned earlier, the focus is on alleviating financial stress. This means that I am going to show you how to take the control away from money and to you. Having control over your finances gives you control over your stress.

Below is an example to follow:

Mortgage

$1500.00

Car payment

$300.00

Electricity

$100.00

Water

$30.00

Cell phone

$120.00

  1. Total expenses per month:__________.

  1. Your monthly earned amount after taxes (rough estimate is okay):__________.

  1. Total in the difference between A and B:__________.

Step 2: The impact of stress

Now that you have the information written and out in front of you, how do you feel?

Try answering the questions below:

  • Before writing down my financial information I felt about my money situation?

  • After seeing what I have written down I felt about my money situation?

  • My money situation is impacting my personal life by?

  • My money situation is impacting those I care about by?

  • My money situation is impacting my stress by?

Step 3: Creating awareness and control over stress

Time to prioritize and make executive changes that are focused on improving your overall life. This is not an easy process and it may not be one that you are going to be on board for right away. I encourage you to focus on your responses on step 2.

Making a change in your finances can help reduce stress and provide you with relief. I am not going to ask you to cut your expenses and completely change your lifestyle as that would create stress of its own.

Instead, review your expenses from step 1 and the information in step 2.

Below are strategies to implement when reviewing your expenses from step 1. You can pick and choose the ones that best support you.

  • If you are eating out more days then you should be, reduce the amount by one day per week or four days per month. This should save you roughly $10.00 per month or $120.00 per year consider that your meal is worth that amount. Once you have reduced the days keep moving forward in a gradual and comfortable rate.

  • If you decide to act on the first recommendation of not eating out, great. I want you to put the money that you would have spent on food in an envelope labeled “extra money”. At the end of the month see how much money you have.

    • How do you feel from seeing the money you have saved?

    • How does the money save support your financial situation?

    • How does the money saved help reduce your financial stress?

  • Analyze your phone, internet or cable plan. While reviewing your plans really consider what you need versus what you want. In addition, think about the time that you actually spend using your services. I bet that once you review the information, you’ll find a few places to chop down dollars. Consider the following questions as you analyze your plans:

    • Are you using everything that you are paying for?

    • Are you using all your data? If not, change your plan to a lower data plan and save the difference.

    • Will cancelling a plan and paying the early cancellation fee save you money in the long haul once you switch over to a less expensive plan?

  • Are you shopping for extras? These can include clothes, shoes, or things that you may not necessarily need. If so, try to give yourself a monthly cash budget. You could allocate $50.00 per month or a number that is lower then what you are currently spending. You could also utilize the money saved from eating out for. In addition, consider reviewing your expenses when it comes to extras. Consider the following to gain a stronger understanding on spending habits:

    • Do you spend more money during specific times of the year? If so, why?

    • Are you able to sell any of the items you no longer use?

    • Can you wait for 17 days? It’s really simple. First of instead of 20 or 30 days, I like 17 days because it’s odd and really sticks out. For 17 days you are going to wait and really consider if you want that extra item. During the 17 days you can try to save extra money by not going out to eat as regular.

  • Use automatic payments. As we grow older, things really become more hectic. We start taking on more and more responsibilities. Remembering payments is often last on our priority list. I think most people once they receive their bills in the mail place them at a certain trusted location that they often do not remember to go to. I obviously know through practical experience.

    Utilize automatic payments in two formats. First, try to set up each bill atomically. Second, add a reminder on your phone and home calendar of when the bills are due. The important aspect of the second part mentioned is that you have control over your bills versus not having control. Not having control can be experienced by forgetting what bills you have, not remembering if you paid a bill or not, or being late on payments. As mentioned throughout the book, when you have control over your stress life will be awesome!

  • Create a day each week or month that you set aside to review to your finances. Add this as a reminder on your calendar to help prioritize its importance. When you allocate time to review your finances make it a goal to enter the process with empowerment and control. Common things to review during this process include:

    • Are you happy with your financial situation?

    • What changes need to take place to make you happier?

    • What changes need to take place to lower your financial stress?

    • Are you doing a good job managing your finances?

    • Have the changes you made in financial management supported your stress?

  • Reward yourself with a savings account. The money you save from reductions on food or random splurges can be added to your savings

Once you have begun to utilize the strategies and recommendations discussed above, process and reflect on the positive changes in your life. Revisit the following questions below after a month of actively practicing the recommendations discussed earlier.

  • My money situation is impacting my personal life by_______________________.

  • My money situation is impacting my stress by  ___________________________.

  • My money situation is impacting those I care about by______________________.

  • My money situation is impacting my mood by ____________________________.

The goal of step 3 is to help you create control and empowerment over your finances. You have already achieved awareness in steps 1 and 2. Step 3 kicked things into high gear by giving you the wheel and allowing you to control your finances. If you have followed each step and made an effort towards change you should be reaping the rewards.

Gaining control over your finances is often a step that most people over look or place on the back burner. Financial problems continue to cause stress to individuals and couples. Consider if you stress out over paying your bills, earning enough money or having the lifestyle you want. I want to encourage you to invest a little bit of time into this article and on your stress.

Below is a video created on my youtube channel. The video goes into stress management and awareness while providing strategies that you can implement in less then five minutes. I created the video in order to support you in managing your day to day stress and anxiety. The strategies discussed are deep breathing and “I” statements which focus to decrease stress symptoms during anxiety driven experiences.

cover images by: didier weemaels, benjamin combs

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