9 Tips to Overcome Financial Anxiety
Easy ways to feel more in control of your finances
If the mention of finances increases your heart rate, rest assured the feeling is normal. And you’re not alone. According to a recent survey, 73% of respondents said finances are a source of stress in their lives.
But that’s not to say there isn’t still optimism. The survey from Capital One® also found 42% of people expected to be better off financially within a year.
The good news is that you can take immediate steps to avoid losing sleep over bills or sweating through payments. Here are nine strategies to help you develop good habits around money and overcome your financial anxiety.
1. Track Your Financial Activity
Keep track of your income and expenses. Figure out what works best for you, whether you use an app, a spreadsheet or old-fashioned pen and paper. As you track your financial activity, categorize spending into two categories: essential and nonessential.
Put things like groceries, utility bills and transportation costs under essential. Nonessential spending could include eating out, nights at the movies or new shoes. As you evaluate where your money is going, you can ensure that your spending aligns with your financial goals.
2. Plan Ahead
Once you start tracking and budgeting, be sure to keep up with it. Sit down once a week to review and plan. Go over your schedule for the week. Consider how things like a night out with friends or a family outing could affect your budget.
You can also look at long-term plans. How will you handle school breaks if you need someone to watch the kids while you’re at work? Will a birthday celebration require you to set aside more money? You may not be able to decide when things happen, but looking ahead gives you control over how you prepare.
3. Prepare an Emergency Fund
As long as you’re planning ahead, consider setting aside money in case of unexpected expenses. That way, you’ll be better prepared for things like car repairs, medical emergencies or job disruptions. To get started, you might put aside a small amount at a time. Over time, you’ll start to build a financial cushion. And knowing you’re prepared for the unexpected can offer peace of mind.
4. Avoid Carrying Cash
If you have money stashed in a bunch of random places—your car, your wallet, your winter coat—you risk losing track of it. You could forget where you put it. It could get stolen. It could wind up staying in that winter coat until next year.
According to a 2018 survey by Pew Research Center, there’s a reason 29% of Americans say they don’t use cash during a typical week. Take more control with credit cards, debit cards or mobile wallets. They offer additional convenience and security. And monthly statements offer you a record of all your purchases—a useful tool if you follow the first tip in this list.
5. Monitor Prices
If you’re shopping online, you’ll want to spot a good deal when it surfaces, especially on major purchases like smartphones or tires. Before you pay full price, find the best coupons and deals on the items you need with Wikibuy® from Capital One®.
Wikibuy is a free online shopping tool that makes saving time and money easy. It automatically locates valid coupons and applies them at checkout. And when you shop on Amazon®, Wikibuy instantly checks thousands of other sellers for a better price. Ease your anxiety by knowing you haven’t overpaid.
6. Talk to a Financial Guru
Sitting down with a professional to have a financial heart-to-heart can be liberating. They might help you evaluate where your finances stand. Or remind you of how far you’ve already come on your financial journey. Taking time to reflect on the past or think of the future can help ease financial anxiety.
7. Set Goals
Part of thinking about the future involves setting goals. It can be rewarding to envision paying off a loan or paying down a credit card. Like saving for an emergency fund, start small. Create minor milestones on the way to your ultimate goal. The stepping-stones can serve as a guide and give you reasons to celebrate along the way.
8. Look for Ways to Save More
Saving money doesn’t stop once you’ve made a purchase. And if you’re shopping online, a free service like Paribus from Capital One could help you feel more in control. Paribus uses your inbox to watch your purchases and deliveries from the merchants it monitors. It then looks for opportunities to save you money on things like price drops, late deliveries and returns.
9. Stay Informed
There are many ways to learn more about personal finance. You might read a book about money management, sign up for a free personal finance class, or research savings options online. Understanding more about finances could lower stress levels and help you feel in control.
Evaluating your financial situation can help you decide which strategies to start with. You can then work on additional steps as your momentum builds. As you put these strategies into practice, you may find your financial anxiety is a thing of the past.
We hope that you found this helpful. Our content is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the Capital One product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.