Financial stress keeping you up at night?
Ways to deal with money anxiety so you can sleep better
May 18, 2022 6 min read
If you’re losing sleep over money, maybe it’s time for a wake-up call. Tossing and turning won’t help you get a handle on your finances.
But some simple strategies for managing your money—and easing into a better night’s sleep—may help you get the peace you need.
Somewhere along the way, budgets got a bad rap. But they can be used as a framework to help keep your financial life in order and avoid financial stress. You can follow the steps below to help create your budget.1
- Start by calculating all of the money coming into your checking and savings accounts—and any other place you keep income—each month. This includes your take-home pay, side gigs and any government benefits you may receive. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has an income and benefits tracker that may be helpful.
- Next, calculate what you’re spending. Rent, groceries, bills, movie tickets, dining out, try to document every purchase and expense. It can be helpful to categorize this list (shopping, food, bills, etc.) to help you get a better picture of where your money is going. The CFPB’s spending tracker may help.
- See where you net out. You can use this budget worksheet from the CFPB to compare your income and expenses. Are you spending more than you’re bringing in? If so, cutting unnecessary expenses might be a good place to start. A bill calendar may also help you stay organized and plan your spending.
Sleep tip: While a budget is bringing structure to your finances, a sleep schedule can bring structure to your shut-eye routine, which may help you fall asleep more easily. Try going to bed and waking up at around the same time each day to help train your brain and body to relax when it’s time to catch some zzz’s.2
Dealing with financial stress? There’s a strategy for that
Paying off debt is no fun. But there are plenty of debt payoff strategies out there to help. Two popular methods are the debt snowball method (paying off your lowest balances first) and the debt avalanche method (paying off your highest interest debts first).3 Just find what motivates you best.
The CFPB has more information about these debt reduction methods.
Sleep tip: Blue light emitted from screens like your phone or tablet can keep your brain from relaxing. So, try to make your bedroom a screen-free zone. If you use your phone to wake up, consider getting an old-fashioned alarm clock and charge your phone elsewhere. Powering down can help power you into a deep sleep.4
Debt-busting thought starters
There are plenty of ways to make money on the side, otherwise known as side hustles. Think dog-walking services, tutoring or other odd jobs. You can even make money just for sharing your opinion by taking surveys. Making extra money could help you ease some financial stress. But be sure to consider how extra work could create extra stress.
You could also consider other ways to earn or save money. If you’re paying someone to do a job you can take on (like cleaning your house), do the work yourself. Maybe find seasonal jobs or have a garage sale? These are just a couple ideas. And you might even end up with a clutter-free garage.
Sleep tip: Exercise can actually boost sleep quality, so all that running around may help in more ways than one. Getting physical activity in your schedule helps you feel tired when it’s time for bed. By the time you close your eyes, your body is ready to rest. However, you may want to avoid exercise late in the day as too much activity right before bed has the opposite effect for some.5
Letting your money work for you is one of the easiest ways to earn more, so you can pay down debt faster. Enter the savings account that earns interest. It’s like a side hustle without the hustle. An interest-earning savings account allows you to earn money on the money you save—simply by putting it in the bank.6 When you get into the habit of saving instead of spending, debt might be easier to take care of.
Sleep tip: When you’re stressed, a nap can sound like total bliss, but it can also sabotage your ability to sleep soundly through the night. Stay awake if you can (or limit naps to 20 or 30 minutes) and save the shut-eye for a full night’s sleep.5
Hopefully, the idea of earning some free money just by keeping money in the bank is easing your stress already. With a debt-reducing plan in place, and a pillowcase full of relaxation tips, coping with financial stress and getting a good night’s sleep may no longer be a thing of dreams.