Most people have experienced some form of financial stress, either because they don’t make enough to pay for all their expenses, or they don’t make the right financial decisions. Whatever the case might be, here are some ideas on how to reduce financial stress:
1. Spend less than you make.
This should essentially be the first step towards avoiding financial stress. Lead a lifestyle that is within or below your means. In other words, your total monthly expenses should not be more than your total income. If you spend less than your total income, you will not feel the stress when bills come in because you know you have enough to cover them.
If you have some money saved for any eventualities, you will not be stressed if something happens. Emergencies happen any time, without warning and you don’t want to be caught unprepared (this is actually what will cause you the stress). In everything that you do, make saving money a priority, no matter how little you are able to save each time. In the long run, you will have enough to cover emergencies and other unexpected expenses.
3. Create a budget so you know how your money is spent.
If you don’t know where your money is going, you are more than likely to be more stressed about finances, because you just cannot plan right. Write down all your expenses and see where you can make changes so that your total expenditure is not more than your income. If necessary, assign priorities on your items and determine what you can skip when the budget is a little tight.
4. Avoid unnecessary debt if you can.
Paying off debt is among the top causes of financial stress. Sometimes, it is hard to stay out of debt, especially if you have to make larger purchases such as for purchasing a home or a vehicle. Whatever the case may be, only enter such debts if you have to (for instance, you don’t have to buy another car if you have one running fine) or if you are able to pay the note at the end of the month without such a payment exceeding your monthly budget. Don’t try to apply for more credit and personal loans.
5. Automate some of your financial obligations.
If your bank offers online banking with bill pay, take advantage of this. If your creditors or service providers offer electronic statements and e-bill payment services, go for them. Put some payments on automatic withdrawal as long as you will have enough payment in your account by the due date. The less paperwork you have to deal with, the less stressful it seems when it comes to paying bills.
6. Try to earn some extra income.
Think of every possible way you can make some extra money. Even if it means getting a second job, go for it. And if one job’s check pays off all your expenses, save the second paycheck for emergencies or to pay off your debts. Be sure to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of having two jobs before going for this option.
7. Seek financial advice.
Visit your bank and speak to a financial advisor, who can look at your financial situation and advise you accordingly. Sometimes, you might be making financial mistakes that you are not aware of. This is when an expert’s help comes in handy. Another form is advice could be in the form of someone advising you on how to actually cope with the financial stress itself, so give it a try if things are not getting any better.
8. Don’t give up.
Remain hopeful that things will get better. Sometimes, the actions you take to reduce financial stress may not yield immediate results. So be a little patient, knowing that it is just a matter of time before everything returns to normal and you will be happy again.