3 of the Best Ways to Reduce Financial Stress

by Tracy · 4 comments

If you’re experiencing financial stress right now, you know how it spills over into all areas of your life. This domino effect makes it hard to find the motivation and energy to get anything done and you can find your life spiraling downward and feeling powerless to stop it.

Unfortunately, too many of us are in this position today because of the lack of jobs, under-employment and the rising cost of everything from gas to groceries. The good news is that you can feel more in control again by following these steps. Remember, the hardest part is getting started! Once you’ve made a bit of effort towards reducing financial stress, you’ll find that the subsequent steps are easier.

One thing to keep in mind: there is no sense in feeling guilty or ashamed. Whatever you might or might not have done to get you in this mess is over now and there is nothing to be gained by beating yourself up. Learn your lessons and move on. If you have a partner, be careful not to play the blame game. Again, it’s not productive and the important thing is to learn from mistakes as a family.

Your Journey Begins with a Plan

You have to know exactly where you are right now and where you want to be. For many people this is the most painful part. We think that if we don’t see our full financial picture spelled out in black and white then it’s not really so bad. We dread knowing the truth.

The thing is, how many sleepless nights are you causing yourself by avoiding the problem? Not knowing your situation causes far more anxiety than facing things head on. Worse, you can’t begin to solve your problems until you know exactly what they are.

Open all of those envelopes and log into all of your accounts and create a simple spreadsheet that shows you in no uncertain terms how much you owe and what your assets are. Once you know where you are, then you can start setting reasonable goals and making a plan to work towards them.

You Need a Budget

Writing a budget will help you know where every dollar should go and keep you accountable. Although many people bristle at the idea of having a budget, think about how much better you will feel knowing that all of your needs are accounted for and that you are working productively towards your goals?

You can read more about creating a budget here, but here are a few key points to remember:

  • Pay yourself first
  • Factor in a bit of “blow money”
  • Be realistic and don’t forget periodic expenses like vehicle maintenance and gifts.

Extra Income Can Help You Reduce Financial Strain

The faster that you can get out of the hole, the sooner you’ll start feeling relief and start saving aggressively towards your big goals. Here are a few ways that you can supplement your income and get on the right track in less time.

  • Do some spring cleaning and de-cluttering! Not only will you feel better, but you can sell or donate what you no longer want or need.
  • Yard sales are a great way to earn some extra money, but sometimes you’ll do better on Craigslist or Ebay.
  • If you are talented and crafty, you could arts and crafts or jewelry on Etsy or eBay. Be sure to factor in the price of materials and read up on how to effectively market your store.
  • Start an online business using skills you already have. Many people have found that being a virtual assistant can be a very lucrative side job.
  • Tutoring or teaching classes is a good way to put your skills to work to earn extra money.
  • Look for a second job or odd jobs. Craigslist and your local papers run ads for people seeking workers for a few hours of work a week or to do one-time projects.

Having a plan, sticking to a budget, and increasing your income are the best ways reduce the amount of financial stress in your life. Remember that facing the problem head on is ultimately less stressful than years of denial and avoiding the issue.

Bonus Tip:

You can seriously cut your Internet and TV costs. Find a Verizon FiOS promotion code here and you might be able to spend less every month.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie May 2, 2011 at 10:21 am

While I do have a budget, etc, I make all my major financial decisions with a single question in mind: “Will I lose sleep over this?”
Everything is so much more gratifying if you know you can afford it when you buy it. I just hate being stressed over money and do everything I can to avoid that terrible feeling!

Jeremiah Kabocha Makanja April 18, 2012 at 9:17 am

I have been earning and spending without a strict budget and this is surely the reason am where am. Underemployment is taking toll on me. I need to urgently develop myself.

Gerard April 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Move to a dwelling fitting your budget, do away with all subscriptions , wear “home clothing”at home so to spare your real clothing, put off your shoes, so they last aaaages,put your thermostat at 19C ,and enjoy a fleece blanket (4euros) ,don’t eat meat (saves you likely from medical costs), avoid restaurants(or what these call themselves), eat in right proportions, ride a bike to work out,enjoy some genuine chat with your neighbours (very rewarding, 0,0 Euro), try single car drive for multi-tasks,have a satelite dish(I watch the world for free!!!), share utensils you rarely need, aspire to possess quality instead of quantity(I have a Rolf Benz sofa 8000Euro but made to last a lifetime), buy quality stuff only if on sale , lasts lllongerrr), etc etc
Living in high tax Holland made Eur 1200 000! in savings, and live in a pretty villa as well, and enjoy Europe-or oversea travel to my liking….and I feel freeeeeeeee……

Gerard April 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Oh I forgot to say, first thing to trash is such a gazzguzzling “thing”called car, and buy a hybrid…you realllly get at your uncle with that car too, you will find out! Donot compare with your friends, they will have to compare themselves with you sooner or later, teach your child these dynamics of money, and regularly invest in a widely spread investment portfolio even at small amounts, donot trust any bank but try to get rid of their “service”all together, think for yourself, the internet being an endless treasure trove with info….I can go on and on but maybe you think I am euro-trash, I fear not though……

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: