We all feel financial pressures at some point during our lives. I’ve been there a few times and still have financial worries from time-to-time now. Being stressed, no matter what the cause, inevitably impacts on all other areas of your life. It may cause arguments within your relationship, make it difficult to concentrate at work, or result in countless sleepless nights. Everybody’s situation is unique to them but there are some things we can all do to help us to deal with financial stress.
Know exactly what you’re dealing with.
There are loads of reasons why you might be feeling under pressure financially. Debt, low-income, unexpected expenses, struggling to make ends meet, the list goes on! As tempting as it is, there is no point in burying your head in the sand when it comes to your finances. Financial stress can put a serious drain on your mental health. If you feel you need to get help for your anxiety, check out ThriveTalk.com.
If you’re in debt, you need to know exactly how much debt you’re in, how much interest you’re paying and how long it’s going to take to pay the debt off in full. Write all of your debts down, along with your interest rates and minimum monthly payments. If you can, switch debts over to a 0% interest card and get them cleared! I know this isn’t an option for lots of people though so don’t be too disheartened if you can’t switch.
You need to figure out how long it’s going to take you to clear your debts and figure out how much more you can afford to throw at your debt each month. You can use this handy snowball calculator to help you. If you’re unsure how snowballing works, I wrote a post a little while ago that might help – https://mymoneycottage.com/debt-pay-first/.
It goes without saying that in order to know how much extra you can afford to pay off, you need to know how much free money you have available in the first place. This is why you REALLY, REALLY NEED A BUDGET! When both myself and my husband were both made redundant (from separate companies), I remember being scared stiff about actually sitting down and calculating how much money we had. I knew I had to face it though and amazingly, once you actually know the facts, it can seem as though a weight is lifted off. You cannot move forward with your finances if you don’t work out how much you have going out each month. FACT!
As the old saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. There is a lot of truth in that. Once you open up about your situation, you may feel as though part of the weight has been lifted. Talking about problems helps you to make sense of them.
I’d definitely recommend speaking to a family member or a friend. You might find that they have practical solutions to help you. As well as that though, friends and family are the ones who are there for you no matter what. They’re the ones who know you and understand you. Sit down with a cup of tea and get it all off your chest!
As well as friends and family, there are other people you can turn to for help. If you’re struggling with debt, there are fantastic debt charities set up specifically to help. Don’t be afraid to approach them. Stepchange is an amazing charity and you can fill out their online debt remedy tool if you’re reluctant to speak to them over the phone. This is a fab way to get all of your finances detailed so that you can work out the best plan of action. There is also Citizens Advice who offer all kinds of support and can help to point you in the right direction.
Build an Emergency Fund
If a sudden, unexpected expense has wobbled your financial world, then you may want to think about protecting yourself for something similar happening in the future. If you can afford to, then think about building up an emergency fund. When big things break unexpectedly, it can send our finances spiralling out of control if we aren’t prepared. Go through your budget and figure out how much you can squirrel away into an emergency fund. Then, watch the fund build and DON’T TOUCH IT unless you really do need to. Protect yourself!
Focus on things you CAN change
If everything seems all doom and gloom, then thinking about the positive changes you’re able to make can make all the difference. Every little positive change has an impact. Meal plan to cut back your weekly food bill, sell your unwanted stuff, make some extra cash online. Focus your mind on these positive things you’re doing to help to improve your situation. Being proactive and taking positive steps is key to maintaining a healthy state of mind.
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