If you’re one of the many millions of people in the United States with money issues, you’re probably feeling stressed out.
Financial difficulties are a leading cause of mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. They can seem to have no solution and plenty of negative consequences. But when you learn how to manage your stress, it’s amazing how quickly your perspective shifts.
Even money woes can be addressed in healthy manners. These seven tips will help you manage your financial stress and find peace, no matter how drastic things appear right now!
1. Get Real With Your Mindset
Switching your mindset is the most important step in finding peace in any situation. The first thing to do is to recognize and accept that you are stressed and that your feelings are valid.
Most people react to financial stress in very common ways. They blame themselves, or someone they love, for the situation they’re in. And then they get angry at themselves for feeling weak and helpless.
Neither of these are helpful reactions. Instead of focusing on emotional responses, try to take your mind to a neutral stance.
Blaming anyone, including yourself, for past actions has absolutely no effect. Getting upset with yourself for having valid feelings about your money troubles only makes you feel worse.
Switch your mindset to one where you accept the situation as it is and try to focus on solutions instead of the problem.
2. Look for Ways to Cut Your Spending
You may have already started this step, but it’s time to dig deeper.
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll be where you’ve always been. When you are completely serious about getting rid of the money stress you’re in, you will actively make a change.
This may mean making some dreaded phone calls to creditors and asking for help, or looking around for discounts and better deals. However, every little bit of money you save each month is gradually digging yourself out of debt.
Some of the easiest ways to cut spending include:
- Finding balance transfers for high-interest credit cards
- Comparing car insurance rates for better coverage and lower premiums
- Refinancing your home if your credit has improved since your loan originated
- Cancelling subscription services that you don’t use or can live without
- Cancelling unused gym memberships
- Reducing your entertainment and dining out budget
As you are cutting your costs, remind yourself that it’s temporary. Once you’re out of this financial bind, you can slowly start reinstating the things you miss. You do, however, need to be cautious about not repeating money mistakes.
3. Laser Focus on Your Debt
If you are constantly struggling just to make minimum payments, eventually that stress is going to catch up to you. All it takes is one accidental late fee to topple the whole precarious budget you have set up.
It’s time to straighten your spine and get laser focused on your debt. Look at your lowest balances and highest interest rates. How can you pay them off quickly?
Financial expert Dave Ramsey has a method he calls the “debt snowball.” With this strategy, you make the minimum payments on everything but your smallest bill.
Give every extra penny you have to pay that one little debt off, and then take that monthly payment and tack it on the next smallest. Repeat this method until all your debt is gone.
With a laser focus and willpower, you’re taking control. Sometimes that feeling of having a plan is all you need to find peace in a stressful circumstance.
4. Find Things to Be Thankful For
In times of stress, it can be difficult to see your blessings. But that’s when you need to do this the most.
What you pay attention to is what you see. Start to look for silver linings where you can. There are good things in your life that are probably being put on the back burner as you continue to worry about money.
Grab a piece of paper or a journal and list ten things you are grateful for. Do this every time you start to feel yourself becoming depressed or anxious.
Force yourself to come up with at least ten things about your life that are blessings. By thinking about your blessings, you forget about your stress until it’s more manageable.
5. Set Boundaries
You’ve heard of boundary setting for emotions and time management. Now it’s time to put those skills into practice for your money habits.
Where is your biggest weakness when it comes to spending? Are you an impulse buyer? Do those little dollar items here and there add up to a bill you could have paid?
Pinpoint your weak areas and reinforce them with strong boundaries. For instance, set a rule that you can’t buy anything non-essential until you’ve sat on the idea for 24 hours. If you still want it then, and you can afford it without using a credit card, get it.
Use boundaries for every purchase you make. Make sure everyone in your family understands and adheres to the same rules, too.
6. Ask for Help
Recognizing that you have a financial and stress problem is an important step to solving it. Asking for help is another one.
You’ll need two types of guidance to get out of the situation you’re in. One is the help of a financial advisor. It doesn’t have to be a professional. Maybe one of your family members is great with finances and can guide you.
Get past the inevitable feelings of pride and shame if you trust them enough to be able to give you good advice. You can’t do it all alone.
The other is someone to confide in when you’re feeling emotional. A close friend is perfect, but if you don’t have one, a mental health counselor is a good choice. They can see things from an outside perspective and give you the tools to manage your stress and find peace.
7. Don’t Pay Attention to Others
There are a few things that will quickly damage your finances and your peace when you’re already stressed. While you’re picking up the pieces and working hard on fixing your problems, avoid these stressors at all costs:
- The upgrades your friends and family are making (buying new cars, going on vacation, etc.)
- Social media images of perfect people living luxury lives
- Worrying about what “they” say when you have to cut corners
The only opinions that matter are yours and those who are affected by your choices. Anyone else’s thoughts on your life are not necessary.
This mindset is going to be the key you can take with you into the rest of your daily life. It will bring you more peace than paying off your debt could alone.
Today’s society is full of people in financial debt. Even those who look like they are making it big usually have a lot of creditors waiting in the background.
You can get through your money difficulties and find peace in your current situation. These seven steps will guide you along the way!