Financial stress oftentimes comes unexpected and quickly put you in a challenging situation. It can come even at the start of the year just when you are trying to get your bearings in place. Early parts of the year are mostly spent putting a plan together for the whole year. Getting hit with an unexpected stress early on can really put you down.
There are a number of things that can bring you money stress early in the year. It can come from work when something goes wrong with a project or a client pulls out. It can even come from home when you go over budget for a particular purchase. Non-payment of credit cards can also give you financial stress early on.
Unexpected financial emergencies can also happen early in the year. From medical emergencies to things breaking down the house. Your car might even need a sudden repair that is not scheduled or included in your budget. These can all give you stress that affects not only your finances but your life in general.
Stress can ripple out not only to your mental state but your physical condition as well. The American Psychological Association even shares that a lot of Americans are stressed about the future of the nation. Too much stress can literally make you sick. This just makes it more important to address stress in your finances early on. Letting it run its course can prove to be a mistake as it wrecks many aspects of your life. Here are a few things to consider as you take on stress early in the year.
Take a breather
There are times when taking a break can help you manage financial stress. Stop for a while and make an honest assessment of your current situation. This is an important step because it gives you a clear picture of what you are facing. Stress can come from many places and identify it early in the game allows you to form a plan.
You can also try and do something that relaxes you. As you calm down, you get a better understanding of your situation and how you can address it. Look for a hobby that you love doing and the more you spend time with it, the more relaxed you become. This helps you think better and have different perspectives on your current financial situation.
Revisit your goals
Financial stress can give you a hard time facing your day to day activities. This will certainly put you in a bad mood. One way to snap out of it is to look at your financial goals you have set early in the year. This can help remind you of what you are working so hard for. It could give you that needed boost to help get out of stress.
You might already be asking yourself why you have to keep a day job and a side gig as well after. It has become too tiring to even wake up and get on your day. However, if you are reminded of your goals in life, you can get past how you feel and be excited to work again. It can be early retirement, paying off the house, or even buying a car.
Put in some rewards along the way
One tip to help you fight financial stress is to assign rewards along the way. This gives you something to look forward to in the coming days. It can also inspire you to accomplish your goals so you get the reward. Also, this helps you break down long-term goals such as mortgage payment and even paying off student loans.
One thing you need to remember when putting rewards is to make sure that you balance it with your budget. The worst thing you can do is to spend more than what you can afford. You might treat yourself to a $195 meal in a fine restaurant because you saved $100 towards your retirement fund. What you have done is cancel out that savings and even set your finances back by $95.
Try to watch the amount of reward you are putting in so you do not undo all the hard work you have put in. Put small rewards along the way such as a nice but inexpensive meal, a day at the beach, or even a day with your favorite book in your favorite corner in the city. The idea is to give you something to look forward to without necessarily having to break the bank.
Be inspired by your progress
One other thing that can help you manage financial stress is to use your progress as a boost to achieve more. If you are already half-way through to your emergency fund, you can look at it as a glass-half-full situation. Imagine that you really did not have anything before you started but you have gone a long way since then.
If you are saving for your retirement fund, you can take inspiration from the fact that you are already planning for your future. It might take you as much as 40 years to save up but be happy that you have already started with it. If you have been saving for more than 30 years now, be inspired that you are almost at your goal.
Learn from successful people
There are people who will always be more successful than you. You can see them everywhere such as in the office, in your neighborhood, and even within your own group of friends. They can be more successful in their business, investments, or even financial standing. Rather than feel jealous, try and learn from their experiences.
You will never have the same set of experiences so you cannot really do every single thing they did. The idea is to try and learn from their experiences and even mistakes to help you make better decisions in life. As you make better and informed decisions, you put yourself in a position where you can reach your goals in life.
Strengthen your emergency fund
Your emergency fund can do wonders in helping you address financial stress. It helps you cover for unexpected expenses that could otherwise put you and your finance in a precarious situation. Losing your job or getting sick for an extended period of time can put a heavy strain on your household budget.
Having more than enough in your reserve fund gives you peace of mind knowing you are prepared. This helps reduce stress because you have some form of assurance that you saved up some funds. Once you need it, you also get to stay away from predatory lending. There are some people who are forced to take out high-interest loans just to tide them through unexpected expenses.
Financial stress can really do a number on your finances especially when it hits you early in the year. If you let it control you, it will be a tough year for you. You can end up spiraling into debt just because you were not able to manage your stress level in the beginning. Addressing the issue and not letting it control you will allow you to be on top of the situation.