How to Feel Empowered About Your Financial Future

Tips to help you reduce your stress and feel more in control of your spending.

Subscribe to Arianna Huffington's "On My Mind" monthly newsletter.

Feeling uncertain about your finances is an incredibly common concern, but if we ignore that concern without taking steps to address it, it can escalate and lead to more stress down the line. And when stress becomes overwhelming, it can be difficult to focus on anything else, like performing well at work, connecting with loved ones, or finding time for ourselves. “Not having to spend mental bandwidth every single day stressing about money is huge,” Erin Lowry, a personal finance expert and the founder of, tells Thrive Global. “Our brain only has the capacity to handle so much in a given day, and if there are a lot of different factors that are stressing us out, including money, that’s going to keep us from living up to our full potential.”

The good news is, we can take small steps today to feel more in control and less stressed, even during uncertain times. If you need some help getting started, here are five Microsteps that you can put into practice right away to feel more empowered around your finances: 

Today, take one small step toward achieving your biggest financial goal. 

According to the American Psychological Association, 72% of Americans are stressed about money — but many of us avoid the subject altogether instead of seeing small ways we can take action. Taking small steps toward our goals can help us conquer financial fears by switching us out of an avoidance mindset and into an action mindset. So today, put 5 dollars away toward a retirement fund, or cut back on one purchase that you might not need to make. Small steps can add up and help you feel more in control. 

This week, say no to one expense that’s not in your budget. 

Keeping your budget on track can mean saying no to unnecessary expenses. If you’re debating a night out or an additional purchase, pick one thing to say no to. You’ll feel more empowered to make responsible financial decisions over time. 

Audit your monthly expenses and think about where you can cut back. 

Looking at what you’re spending on can be a great step when it comes to seeing where you can save. So pick one thing that you spent money on last month that you could cut out going forward. Whether that's canceling a subscription or switching to a less expensive cell phone plan, those little decisions can make a difference.

Think of a go-to response for saying no to unnecessary purchases. 

If you’ve ever been invited to spend money on something and felt guilty declining, you’re not alone. Saying no can be difficult, but you can make the experience easier by preparing a go-to response that’s courteous, but clear. One phrase that could work for you might be, “Thank you for inviting me, but I have a tighter budget this month so I’ll have to decline,” or something like, “I’m going to skip this event since I’m saving up for something at the moment, but I appreciate the invitation.” 

Celebrate a financial win. 

Celebration is habit fertilizer! When you tie positive emotions to a behavior, like adding money to your savings, it makes you more likely to do that behavior again. So the next time you have a financial win, whether it’s sticking to your budget for the month, meal prepping for the week ahead, or cutting back on an unnecessary expense, take a moment to acknowledge the progress you’re making. You’ll feel less stressed about your money and more empowered to make changes going forward.

Published on
September 22, 2023
Share this post

Stay in touch with Thrive

Be sure to follow & connect with us on social, keep an eye on open roles, and subscribe to Arianna Huffington's "On My Mind" monthly newsletter.