10 Tips for Dealing with Financial Stress
This too shall pass-just make sure money doesn’t fall to the wayside during tougher times
Stress doesn’t stem only from trials and tribulations. Exciting things like moving, getting married, or the birth of a child can put our minds and bodies through stress. These big life changes can be emotional roller coasters, which can ultimately impact our spending or saving.
Keep finances on track as you move from one milestone to the next with these ten tips.
1. Talk with friends and family members about your future
Just as dieters tell friends and family when they’re starting a new regimen, let the people closest to you know your financial situation and how you’d like it to change or improve. Talk about your goals for the future and how you see your finances supporting them.
2. Practice self-awareness when it comes to emotional spending
They call it impulse shopping for a reason. Emotions, whether we realize it or not, are behind a lot of our discretionary spending. You might find you tend to shop when you’re in a good mood, or as a quick pick-me-up on a rough day. Note your spending triggers; they might be amplified during trying times.
3. Keep track of your money with a budget
It doesn’t have to be perfect or carved in stone, but a budget is an excellent way to see exactly where your money’s going.
Look at your monthly adjusted income, subtract housing and other scheduled expenses, and see what you’re working with. Having that loose figure in mind can help keep you accountable. After a month, see how closely you stuck to it. If you’re going way over in certain areas, you’ll know where you need to adjust.
4. Connect with money-savvy peers
Picking the brain of someone who’s got his or her finances dialed in can be a great way to look at money through a new perspective. Maybe they have tricks or tips, or a fresh philosophy about money that resonates with you.
5. Research helpful apps and tools online
There are plenty of online budgeting, investing, and money management tools designed to help everyone from millennials to retirees take better control of their finances. Your bank or credit card company might even have complementary resources available to you.
6. Learn from your money mistakes
We’ve all had a few unpleasant experiences, whether it was the time we didn’t have enough socked away for an emergency, or we let a due date slip by and our card was declined. Face down those mistakes and what caused them. You might get some valuable insight into your habits and overall money mentality.
7. Create a money management plan that matches your personal goals
Budgets and money management plans aren’t one-size-fits-all—they’re general guidelines that should be tailored to your own goals and standards for quality of life.
8. Keep learning new ways to make positive money choices
If one thing in life stays the same, it’s that everything changes—and your budget should, too. Be sure to periodically reassess what you know about budget best practices, especially if your income or personal situation changes.
9. When tough money situations arise, ask for help
You don’t have to ask for a loan, but don’t be afraid to reach out when you’re in a tough spot. Financial difficulty can feel isolating, but talking to someone you trust can be the first step toward turning things around.
10. Set money goals that are important to you
Just because your best friend thinks home ownership is the best investment doesn’t mean real estate should be your primary financial focus as well. You know what is important to you for your quality of life and future. Set goals accordingly.
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