Financial stress affects a lot of Americans at present. According to Businesswire.com, symptoms that are similar to post-traumatic stress disorder are affecting one in four consumers because of their finances. It even afflicts about 33% of millennials in society nowadays. This can be a big cause of concern especially if do not know how to handle stress.
Debt problems will always be part of life and the difference is how you react to it. You can choose to stay and soak in all the negativity. Or you can take a proactive stance and find ways to manage your problems and stress. If you are currently plagued by financial problems, here are a few ways to handle the stress that comes with it.
Let go of financial shame to manage financial stress
This is probably one of the hardest things to do because people rarely acknowledge that they are ashamed about their finances. This is a trap that will prevent you from moving forward and allowing yourself to find a solution. Because you are ashamed, you cannot acknowledge that there is a problem. With this, you remain in that situation simply hoping for the best.
As you acknowledge and let go of the shame, you will then start to open up to a lot of possibilities. If you are able to accept that you are miserable in your job, you can start looking for a new one. If you accept that you are addicted to shopping, then leave your credit cards behind and simply bring cash. With acceptance comes possibilities.
Create a budget
Your household budget will be an important tool in managing financial stress. This is because it gives you complete overview and control of the activities of your funds. You are able to see how much money is coming in from all your income sources. It also gives you the ability to check how much of it is being used to pay for various debt obligations. As you are able to control this, you can regulate or tweak some portions of it. This can help you get through a rough patch and give you the chance to manage your stress.
Amplify your reserve funds
It is pretty surprising to know that CNBC.com shared that about 66 million Americans would not be able to handle a financial emergency. This is because they have no reserve funds to speak of. This can be one source of financial stress and one that can be remedied. If you do not have any emergency fund, start saving for one. Regardless how much you can put into it on a monthly basis. As long as you keep at it, it will grow over time.
Find the positive thing in your ordeal
This would be a hard task for pessimists. However, if you are a glass half full type of person then this will make a lot of sense. Problems are and will always be a part of life and if you feel that financial stress is already starting to crop up, look at the bright side. There is always a silver lining in dark clouds and you just have to find it.
If you are already having a hard time meeting your credit card payments, this can mean that it is high time to use cash rather than plastic. If you were let go in your current job, it could be a time you can spend with your children. It can also open new doors for you such as starting a business or even being employed in a higher paying job somewhere else. You just have to look at the positive things.
Consider your financial options
Financial stress can be brought about by your inability to manage your debt payments. If this is the case, you might want to consider taking out a debt consolidation loan. This program can help you manage and regain control of your payment details. This is because consolidating your debts allows you to combine most, if not all your debts under one account.
This means you only have to worry about a single payment amount, one interest rate, and more importantly one due date. You will no longer fret about missing payment due dates or mixing one payment amount with another. Combining them all in one convenient account helps you manage your payments better.
Increase your income
Some people says offense is the best defense when it comes to some sports belief. You would quickly find yourself in a debate over this but it can prove useful when talking about your finances. In this context, offense refers to your income and defense would be your expenses. When you are beleaguered by expenses, there are times where the best thing to do is increase your income.
The problem is that this is easier said than done. Most, if not all people would love to increase their income but the problem is execution. There are times where you do not know where to start. You might also find out that you need initial funds to increase your income. Such in the case of putting up a business or investing on your hobbies.
The important thing is to proceed with caution and make informed decisions. If you are going into a business endeavor, look at all the possibilities. If you want to pursue a hobby and invest on it, weigh the pros and cons. This is one way of helping you move forward with your plans and mitigate risk at the same time.
Do something you love
This is one of the best things you can do to help alleviate financial stress. What you have to be wary about is splurging and using it as an excuse to go shopping. There are people who swear by retail therapy. However, there are other more efficient ways to battles stress. Buying expensive items might make you happy for a short while. But the bill coming at the end of the month will only compound your stress.
Look at the hobbies that you love doing and see which one can help you manage your stress. If you love to exercise then try running or swimming to sweat it out. If you love working with wood then put together some stools or tables. You might even be able to earn off of these hobbies. You can either take up teaching private lessons or selling your creation.
Celebrate financial wins
It is important to take advantage of whatever financial wins that come your way. This is a great mood booster and helps you retain a visual picture of your progress. It can be paying off a small credit card debt or even catching up on your other debt payments. These milestones, big or small can give you mental wins.
The more you do this, the better you condition yourself to reach every financial goal you have. The challenging part of this strategy is knowing the limits of your celebration. You might use small financial victories as an excuse to go on expensive vacations or buying designer items. Be sure that your rewards do not negate whatever achievements you have.
Financial stress is becoming a lot more common in people but there are ways of dealing with it. What is important is you do not take it for granted. You need to address this problem the moment it presents itself in your finances.