Heading into a new year, and a new month, one thing is clear. Financial stress can keep you up at night, distracted during the day, and unable to focus on your bigger goals. While it’s easy to say, “Don’t Worry!”, it makes more sense to do more than hoping for a miracle or relying on your folks to bail you out.
If you’re noticing that stress is taking a toll on you, your relationships, and your work, it’s time to tackle the bear of financial stress. Big issues like financial stress can cause people to take desperate measures. As you probably already know from your own life, acting without a plan can lead you to make poor decisions. Since it’s a brand new year, or a brand new day—it’s time for a new approach.
Use these 3 tips to slash the stress you’ve been feeling about finances.
Evaluate Your Debt
Are you buried in debt? Do you lose track of which credit card to pay first? If you haven’t been taking a clear-headed view of your debt load, now is the time. It starts with opening up all the bills, checking all the balances, and making a chart of interest percentages. If you can’t face this alone, ask a good friend who is good at this sort of stuff. It may not be as bad as you think, especially if you have a friend on hand to help you evaluate your current situation.
Set a Target for Credit Repair
With the debt issue out in the open, you may notice a glaring fact that had eluded you. Your credit is in the pits. You may have a score that does not allow you to qualify for a car loan, a home loan, rent an apartment, or get a credit card with reasonable rates. If you find this is the case, don’t give up hope.
A lot of institutions have initiated credit-building. These credit building programs can help you rebuild your credit, boost your credit score, and improve your financial picture. It may not be something that you’ve thought of before. If you’ve been struggling with credit issues, have poor credit, are recovering from bankruptcy, or are mending credit after a nasty divorce, be sure to check out your options. Once you have a plan, you’ll notice the anxiety, stress, and worry seem to fall away.
Start Saving Money
Saving money may have seemed in the ‘impossible’ column for some time. If you’ve been struggling to pay for necessities, drowning in debt, and forking over large chunks of cash to repay loans, saving money could have just fallen off the screen of your awareness.
However, saving money can become a fun sport. You can set up specific challenges and make them part of your way of life. Here are a few tips for saving money that will help you regain a sense of control and freedom.
- Track your current spending. It may sound like something your mom or dad taught you. But the amazing thing about tracking is that you’ll become more aware of where your money is going. Even without trying, you’ll notice ways to save money. For instance, you might cut your coffee habit and easily save $300 or more a month. You could shop at a discount grocery, and cut your bill in half without restricting your nutrition. Start with tracking and watch what happens.
- Cook meals at home. With saving as a top priority, head to the kitchen. Look for meals that you can easily cook within your current culinary skill. Start with soups, salads, sandwiches if you feel challenged in the kitchen. Once you get going, expand your skills and build your repertoire.
- Plan your weekly menu. Maybe your mom or grandmom told you this one. Health experts encourage people to plan a weekly menu. It’s a great way to eat healthier, save money, and reduce stress. There’s something very rewarding about knowing what you’re making each week. It can help you plan your time, shop with precision, and best of all, save a boatload of cash.
As you look for ways to reduce stress about finances, be sure to talk with your family, roommates, partner, or spouse. Share your thoughts about ways to save money, slash stress, and have more quality time together. You may find that with a little attention in this area, you’ll enjoy less conflict and more delight in your home.