Even in good times, 9 out of 10 Americans deal with financial stress. But good times don’t last forever. During a market downturn or global pandemic, economic woes are sure to get even worse.
In some ways, being stressed about money is a good thing. The sensation urges you to make proactive, intelligent financial decisions. That said, you may need help dealing with financial stress when it dominates your daily life.
Are your financial woes making it difficult to get through the day? It’s time to make a change! Here’s how to deal with financial stress.
- Take Inventory
Thanks to digital features such as automated payments, it’s easy to lose touch with all your bills and expenses. After all, they literally pay for themselves. That’s why you may experience severe financial anxiety as a knee-jerk reaction when your finances take a turn for the worse.
The good news is things may not be as bad as they first appear. Take inventory of every loan and bill you must contend with. How much money are you absolutely required to pay every month?
Ask yourself if you can continue to meet your monthly payments. For some people, it may be as simple as scaling back unnecessary expenditures such as fast food.
For those dealing with a job loss or lost work hours, cutting corners can help but are unlikely to make the difference. Examine your current savings and calculate how long you can continue paying for essential services.
Remember that taking action is an important step to relieving financial stress. That’s because the act of understanding your situation may help ease your anxiety.
You should have a conversation with your household providers even if you aren’t a current contributor. They know all the money matters. Educate yourself and see how you can help.
- Avoid Economic Stressors
Nobody enjoys opening a bill or peeking at a digital monthly statement. Unfortunately, there’s no avoiding your personal finances.
But you can avoid a number of outside stressors. Let’s say you have a large investment in the stock market. Taking a look at the recent figures could be enough to make your heart skip a beat.
When you know a certain action or piece of information will make you feel worse, it’s best to avoid it. This isn’t to say that you should distance yourself from the current news, but you should choose a comfortable source and stick to it.
Social media platforms can be even worse than news outlets. Limit your intake as much as possible and stay away from platforms filled with doomsayers and negative content.
- Seek Outside Assistance
When your finances look grim, you’ve got options. A variety of social and personal safety nets exist across the American landscape.
If you recently lost your job, your first order of business should be filing for unemployment. This stipend can keep you on your feet while you find a permanent source of compensation. Seizing a new revenue stream can take a serious bite out of your financial stress.
Other options are available even when you don’t qualify for unemployment. Food banks offer free groceries for those in need. Although the cost of your groceries alone may not break the bank, it can feel good to put food on the table.
There’s no harm in reaching out to friends and family when things get rough. In fact, this could be a guilt-free time to move back in with your parents and avoid rent payments altogether.
Sometimes your financial stress results from no fault of your own. If you’ve been dealing with a personal injury and can’t handle the bills, that’s a good sign that you deserve compensation.
Need help managing your medical bills and insurance claims? Learn more here.
- Start Saving
Odds are you aren’t in a situation to create an emergency fund. Even if you can’t save money right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t save on every purchase.
The internet has made couponing more accessible. You’re no longer limited to the handouts that appear in your mailbox or at the local supermarket. If there’s a coupon for a product you’re buying, you’ll find it online.
Websites such as Groupon and Slickdeals can point you in the right direction. You could also download a couponing extension such as Honey which automatically applies coupon codes when you purchase online.
This isn’t an excuse to blow your budget on unnecessary expenses, but it can dramatically lower the cost of household essentials like groceries, towels, and clothing.
You may still be stressed about money, but you won’t be as stressed thanks to reduced expenditures.
- Discover Your Personal De-Stress Strategy
Therapy is often the first approach to mental distress. Of course, it’s less than affordable when times get tough.
Instead, look for free strategies that promote good mental health. Physical acts such as yoga and exercise release powerful endorphins that make you feel better, longer.
The effectiveness of these strategies varies from person to person. While your friend may enjoy yoga, you may discover that a warm bath or meditation can put your mind at ease. Try a variety of practices until you find the one that works best for you.
Learning How to Deal With Financial Stress
You can do everything right and still end up worrying about money. No single action will ever fully eliminate financial stress from your life. But by keeping up with your personal finances, saving money, and practicing distress techniques, you’ll taper off the worst of it.
That’s how to deal with financial stress my way. What about yours?
Share some of your favorite strategies and search my blog for more content like this.