If there’s one thing millions of Americans have in common right this minute, it’s financial insecurity and stress related to finances. According to the American Psychological Association, as of 2015 money was still the top reasons for stress.
Whether you’re currently living paycheck to paycheck or are worried about having enough money in your retirement fund, there’s no reason to be ashamed of financial stress. The reality is that the shame you feel as a result of your financial situation is a big reason you feel as stressed as you do.
The best thing you can do moving forward is to let go of your shame and start focusing on what you can do, starting today, to improve your situation.
This next step may be the most intimidating of them all, but it’s easily the most important. In order to tackle your financial woes, you need to have a thorough understanding of all your finances. That includes your income, your current savings, your investments, and your retirement fund(s).
As stated in a personal finance article for Forbes, a shocking number of people don’t even know how much their 401(k) can yield for how long. You need to have a thorough understanding of how much money you have and how much money you’ll need for the future.
This is another step that may be hard for a lot of people, but if relieving financial stress and improving your financial situation is important to you, it’s a vital one. Once you’ve taken a closer look at your numbers, you can better narrow down where you’re going wrong with your money. According to finance expert Laura Adams, “Money Girl,” there are usually four reasons people worry about money:
1. Spending more than they make
2. Living paycheck to paycheck
3. Overwhelmed with debt
4. A lack of understanding about how to manage finances
So what seems to hit home with you? Don’t be afraid to admit your faults. It’s incredibly important if you want to move forward and relieve yourself of stress.
Now for the tips you’re really looking for: how to save more money in order to relieve stress and feel better. The best way to save more money and make smarter decisions with your money is through the creation of a budget. I get it, you’re all too familiar with that not-so-fun “B word” but it can truly work wonders for your finances. How about we use the word “plan” instead of budget? Will that make it seem less intimidating? Alright, now onto creating a plan.
What do you spend your money on? What can you stop spending money on? If you eat out more than necessary, pay for extra cable packages, or add new additions to your closet every week, there’s a good chance you can reduce your debt and your spending by spending less on things that are more “wants” than “needs.”
You’ll also want to try to set aside money each month for saving. Even if it’s just $20, that’s more than what you had before, right? A little bit goes a long way, and you have to start somewhere. Once you start to get an idea of how to save more money, you can begin to learn more about ways to shop smarter and maybe even make some extra money along the way.
You’ll want to start shopping smart, but it will take a little practice. Try clipping coupons, paying more attention to sales, and cooking more meals at home. You may also find that it helps to stop using your credit cards as much, and start spending with cash instead. That way you have a better idea of just how much money you’re spending.
Take advantage of discount codes when shopping online, no matter what you’re shopping for. A great tip is to always do your research before purchasing anything. A quick online search for the product you want and the term “coupon code” can warrant dozens of results in seconds. There are also reward programs you can sign up for.
You’ll want to be careful, however, and make sure your email inbox isn’t being flooded with offers from retailers trying to entice you into spending more money. As tempting as those super sale emails may be, you’re much better off unsubscribing. To unsubscribe from an email, you can usually scroll down to the bottom of the email and find a link that allows you to unsubscribe from all future emails. That way you will no longer be bombarded with messages hoping to trick you into spending more money
If you find yourself in need of just a little more money each month, there’s a wide variety of ways you can bring in extra dough. It helps to think first about your personal talents or abilities. Perhaps you have a knack for DIY. You can sell items online or even at a yard sale. Or maybe you like to write. You can actually take advantage of bluehost.com promotions to create your website at little cost. These days there’s too many ways to make money online not to give it a good shot.
Other ways to make extra money include selling items you already own or picking up a part-time job. It doesn’t have to be a long-term situation. If working as a delivery driver for a few months meant getting of debt, you’d sign up in a heartbeat, right?
Any time finances are involved it can be both stressful and scary. The most important thing to remember, in order to help remain calm, is that your situation doesn’t have to be permanent. If you’re willing to put in a little work, you can find relief in no time. The key is to stay patient, keep your goals in mind, and work toward what you want to accomplish.
Originally published at medium.com