- Beth Ann Tabak
Four tips to handling financial stress
Any way you slice it, we all have stress in our lives. It can be big-picture stuff like raising a family or it can be as simple as trying to get to work on time every morning. However, nothing takes the cake quite like financial stress. In fact, the American Psychological Association states money is the number two stressor in America; it only recently fell to the number two spot after a nearly 10-year reign as number one. With that in mind, let’s look at a few tips on eliminating that stress.
Get real and create a budget
Is it possible that some of your stress comes from not having a clear picture of where your money goes every month? Sometimes you can think that you know exactly where it goes, but without a spending plan in place, it can become all too easy to spend your money on non-essentials before the rent is even paid. By sitting down and creating a budget, you can see exactly how much income you have each month and how it’s spent. It makes it easier to figure out where and how you can cut back and what extra cash you might have to start paying off debts.
Simplify your life and change what you can
Having a budget in place makes this step much easier. Even after making a budget there could be things that you can tweak to lighten the financial burden and simplify spending. For example, you obviously need a place to live, but is there a way to lower your rent or mortgage payment? Maybe a smaller apartment for the time-being or a refinancing of your mortgage could be the key. If that seems overwhelming, start smaller by eliminating some “luxuries.” Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to make your own coffee every morning like a million other people have told you. What about cutting the regular manicure or pedicure that you splurge on, or reducing the number of streaming services you carry? And hey, maybe you could even cancel that gym membership you haven’t used in six months. If the mood strikes to join it again, then seize it, but don’t put hundreds of dollars a year down the drain on something you’re not using.
Talk about it
It’s no secret that money and finances are touchy subjects that people aren’t generally fond of opening up about. However, it can help tremendously to share your situation with a trusted friend or family member. It can reassure you that you’re not alone, and it could help you see the bigger picture. Have you ever heard the phrase “can’t see the forest through the trees”? It means that a person is often so mired within his or her situation that they can’t see beyond the small details to the big picture. As an outsider to your situation, a friend or family member might help you do that.
If you’re really having a hard time getting a handle on your spending or reeling in your debt, you might want to take it one step further and get outside help from a financial planner or a credit counseling service. You could also take a financial class that offers sound budgeting and other financial advice.
This might seem like the furthest thing from your mind when you’re panicking about finances. However, studies have proven that exercise can have a significant positive impact on stress and anxiety. If you haven’t cancelled that gym membership we talked about earlier, then take advantage of it now for some stress-busting cardio. If you have cancelled it, try a walk, run or bike ride outside. It can go miles (no pun intended) in improving your outlook, helping you clear your head, and making you feel like you’re ready to take on your financial situation.
For a more in-depth look at Coping with Financial Stress, please visit: www.717cu.com/KOFE. Once you proceed to the KOFE site, select financial publications from the KOFE Table drop-down menu. 7 17 has partnered with KOFE (Knowledge of Financial Education) to provide free financial education tools to help support members’ long-term financial health. Resources include publications, videos and more. Plus, you have free access to financial coaches, seven days a week!