5 Tips for Alleviating Financial Stress
Currently, 73% of Americans say that finances are the number one stressor in their lives, beating out other important life factors such as family and work. With the coronavirus crisis continuing to disrupt daily life and the economy, it’s easy to see why so many people are stressed about money at the moment.
And, you don’t have to be experiencing financial hardship at the moment to feel stressed about your finances. Uncertainty regarding job security, the future of the economy, a recession, and even that raise you were slated to get this year can all cause you to feel stressed about finances and the future of your family’s financial health.
If you’re part of the nearly three-quarters of the population that’s experiencing financial stress right now, here are five actionable tips that can help you alleviate that stress.
How to Alleviate Financial Stress
1. Make a Budget
If you’re having trouble making ends meet, it’s going to help financially to develop a budget. But, sitting down to draft up a comprehensive budget goes further than just helping you allocate your finances. On top of forcing you to get serious about saving and expenses, it’s going to force you to take a look at the bigger picture. This is something that most people don’t do.
Sure, it’s daunting to have to face reality. But, it’s even scarier not to know where you stand financially. Create a comfortable, relaxing space and sit down to shine a light on your entire financial life. Figure out what you make, what you spend, and where you can make cuts. Knowing is half the battle, and it’ll help you feel prepared in the future.
2. Prepare for the Unexpected
After you have a good idea of how much you make each month and where you’ll be allocating those funds, start to prepare for unexpected expenses. 83% of employed Americans faced an unexpected expense in the last 12 months. That’s always stressful, especially if you’re not financially prepared to cover that expense.
So, start to find unique ways to save money so that you can build your emergency fund. If you’re paying off debt, try to aim for having at least $1,000 in savings to cover an unexpected expense. Then, over time, make it your goal to have at least three to six months’ worth of expenses tucked away in a rainy day fund. This will help alleviate financial stress because, when the unexpected occurs, you’ll know you’re prepared for it.
3. Stick to a Savings Strategy
Not everybody is good at saving money, and that’s okay! We all have different spending and saving styles and it’s important to find one that works for you and to stick with it. So, figure out whether or not it’s easier for you to cut costs on subscription services and your grocery bill, for example, and put that saved money in a high-interest savings account.
Or, maybe it’s easier for you to save extra money through cashback and other credit card rewards. If that’s the case, be sure to weigh any fees you might incur from using the credit card and factor that into your budget and savings strategy.
4. Speak with a Professional
You’ve got a lot of things going on in life, especially right now. On top of coronavirus closures and health-related concerns, you still have to worry about all of the usual life issues such as relationships, work, family, children, and your own physical, mental, and emotional health. So, don’t feel bad if you find it hard to focus on your finances and make sense of them.
To alleviate financial stress, try speaking with a professional financial advisor, a financial planner, or think about taking a financial course. Coursera offers free financial skills courses that can help you understand the ins and outs of the way money moves to better help you control your own financial future.
5. Develop a Strategy for Success
Think about what you can and cannot change. If you know that you cannot pay off your student loans and your auto loan because you don’t currently make enough money, think about your options. You can either enhance your professional skill set to eventually apply for a raise or a better job. Or, you can reduce your spending in other areas or contact your lenders to talk about lowering your monthly payments.
Whatever your situation is, there is a way to receive aid or assistance while managing what you are able to manage. Incorporate this all into your strategy for success and be sure to monitor your progress. Celebrating small wins will help you avoid becoming too stressed about what you cannot control.
Optimize Your Savings to Alleviate Financial Stress
While you can’t control everything, such as your current pay rate or an unexpected expense, there are some things you can control, such as your savings. Whether you’re dedicated to saving $10, $100, or $1,000 a month, any little bit helps as you work towards reaching your financial goals.
Make sure you’re optimizing your own finances by using a savings-optimized debit card to make payments and finance your lifestyle. We believe that our Cheese Debit Card is still one of the best options when it comes to optimizing your savings. With zero banking fees plus cashback and saving bonus whenever you spend and save, it’s a no-brainer.
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