Research shows that 90% of individuals say that money has an impact on their stress levels — and these stressors can especially spike during tax season. With Tax Day approaching this coming Monday, let’s take a moment to consider some small ways to cope with money anxiety. Financial well-being is a critical component of our overall well-being, and yet for most Americans, money remains a primary source of frustration, anxiety, and stress.
We asked our Thrive community to share with us the small tips that help them reduce financial stress and stay organized. Which of these tips will you try?
Pause before you make a purchase
“Before I make a purchase, I mentally ‘convert’ any amount of money I’m looking to spend into the number of hours I would have to work to earn that money back. This helps me get a feeling for whether the service or product warrants that number of hours of my time and energy. If it doesn’t, I won’t make the purchase. This mindset has helped me walk away from impulse purchases that I might later have regretted.”
—Bianca Riemer, leadership coach, London, UK
Invite friends over to cook together
“One tip that helps me reduce stress during tough financial times is cooking more. Going out is great but not cost effective. I signed up for a few cooking websites and blogs and started trying out new recipes. I’ve started inviting my friends to do a cookout together, so instead of going out to dinner on a Saturday, we’ve started a cooking get together at one of our homes each week. Trying out new recipes each week has allowed all of us to still have a great time and socialize without spending a fortune.”
—Elena Lisago, financial controller, Atlanta, GA
Keep a monthly budgeting spreadsheet
“My husband and I have a monthly budget that we set up together in a spreadsheet. We are quite diligent with this spreadsheet and ensure that all expenses are logged so that we can keep tabs on our spending. This also allows us to save for upcoming trips, events and occasions that we have planned. We find that by having a steady eye on our finances we feel more in control and we are able to pick up needless spending quickly. It also allows us to fathom better ways of investing our money.”
—Candice Tomlinson, coach and hypnotherapist, Sydney, Australia.
Schedule a financial planning day
“One thing I do to reduce stress is book a day with myself and my money. The act of doing this instantly makes me feel more in control, and sets my mind to wondering instead of panic. There are some excellent resources online to help you check through all of your outgoing and incoming money, and make a plan of quick wins and longer term goals. My own discoveries were: I halved my phone contract, I applied for a government eco grant, I charged my adult daughters a little more ‘rent’ and I took on a little overtime at work. If you discover the problem runs deeper, there are agencies that can help.”
—Melanie Yates, studio manager, Brighton, UK
Check in with yourself
“Reducing my financial stress comes down to my mindset towards money. I am used to budgeting and setting aside money every month, but it’s easy for me to start feeling anxious that I never have enough, even though, in the moment, I don’t define what enough is. So I remind myself what enough means in the way of survival: Do I have a roof over my head? Do I have enough food? Do I have clothes? If the answer is yes to all those questions, then I am surviving. And if I am also able to save some extra every month, I have more than I need and I’m doing well. When I come back to that basic truth, I am instantly calm and peaceful.I know I am surviving and doing the best I can for myself.”
—Jenna Tidd, health and wellness writer, Cheyenne, WY
“Investing in the stock market has helped me utilize my money in a calculative way. It has reduced the constant worry of finding ways to invest and use my money wisely. I now feel more secured and in control of my finances. I’ve also found that I have learned a lot about financial security and trading, which has improved my knowledge on money management.”
—Aakriti Agarwal, psychologist and coach, Hyderabad, India
Keep a money journal
“I find it helpful to start by removing your money myths and blocks. Most ‘money advice’ is focused on things like cutting out that $5 latte, keeping great records, and doing quarterly or monthly planning. But the key to reducing financial stress starts with changing your thoughts and relationship with money. I have gotten into a wonderful abundance mindset by learning to actually believe that money is abundant and is everywhere, not scarce and hard to come by. Start by journaling your beliefs every day for at least 30 days in a row. By rewiring your thoughts and beliefs about money in your mind, you will open yourself up to more opportunities and stress less.”
—Annie Bauer, coach and strategist, Asheville, NC
Make little spending swaps
“Spending less is great, but just cutting without anything new felt like I was really depriving myself. I found that if I added one free or significantly cheaper item every time I cut something out, I felt completely different. Cutting out weekday lattes but buying the best organic coffee I could find from a socially responsible company made it feel like a fantastic choice that just happened to be a cheaper one too. When cutting out a trip to the movies, I added a trip to the local museum on the one free day a week!”
—Elena Lisago, financial controller, Atlanta, GA
Identify limiting beliefs you’ve had around money
“I learned that I had to confront some of the truths and myths I had around money when I wanted to get serious about my financial situation. Once I did, I was able to combat beliefs in scarcity and negative connotations surrounding money. Slowly I found myself respecting money in a way that helped me change spending and budgeting habits. This ultimately led me to become credit card debt free.”
—Maryrose Solis, solopreneur, San Diego, CA
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