How To Take The Stress Out Of Your Finances + Manage Your Money
Money Can Be Stressful, Right?
It certainly has been for me! Debt, not making good decisions, not having any savings… it all contributes. Money and managing your finances can be very overwhelming, especially if it’s not something you normally do. Taking responsibility for something so important can be hard, and you might not know where to start.
In today’s post, I want to share my top tips for taking the stress out of your finances and help you manage your money. These strategies are going to make sure you’re in control of your income.
Being self-sufficient is very important to me – it might be the same for you?
I like to know that I am paying my way in this world and that I am contributing my half of bills and expenses. Especially when it comes to my relationship with my partner, this was something I made clear from the start! I don’t want to rely on anyone else as much as I possibly can.
Let’s look at some of the ways you can reduce stress around your finances and manage your money more effectively. These are both practical and emotional tips because both of these things need to work together to give you the best effects.
Understand Your Current Position
If you are stressing about money, whether this is due to having overwhelming debt or not knowing where it’s all going every month – it’s important to understand your current position.
There are various ways in which you can do this.
The most important and obvious would be to check your banking transactions and review how your money is being spent. Write up a simple budget for the monthly expenses that you always have.
Take stock and understand exactly what you have coming in. If you have a set salary then you can use this, but if you work shifts and it fluctuates then take your last 6 months’ paychecks and take an average.
Check this against your expenses and review what you have left.
Whilst for some this might seem super simple, I know that not everyone does this. If you’re stressing about your finances it might be because you’re not clear on where your money is going each month.
Getting clarity on this can provide a lot of relief, and you’ll likely much feel better about your finances from this simple step.
I like to use Google Sheets to create a little budget tracker because it’s free and so simple to use. It has everything I need (I use GS for so many things it’s ridiculous!).
1. Get your budget set up and monitor it for a couple of months. See whether you are missing any regular expenses and add them in. Edit your monthly averages for food etc if these aren’t quite right. For set bills, write the exact amount. For bills that fluctuate, use an average and always round up, to give yourself space.
Get Clear On What You Owe
Another thing that might cause stress is being in debt.
Now, disclosure, I am not a financial advisor. All of my opinions and information come from my own experience, so please seek professional advice if you need it.
I have my fair share of experience with debt. Due to my circumstances, some poor choices I made in my previous relationship, and also through making choices based on filling emotional holes with material things, I ended up in just over £21,000 worth of debt at 24 years old.
I didn’t go to university so none of this was student loans or anything like that, which I appreciate people do end up with.
But I didn’t even really have anything to show for the large amount of debt I ended up in, which was even worse!
You must keep on top of any debt you have. It can have a massive impact on your mental health, your financial situation long-term, your credit score and all other kinds of important things.
Make sure that you understand where any/all of your debt lies. Know the company information, the due dates, the minimum monthly payments, what you ARE paying, the date it will be completed, the interest rate – everything.
Understanding is so important because it’s your financial situation that is being impacted. This will stay with you, not with anyone else.
Taking responsibility for this will help you to feel stronger and more resilient, and will give you power back over your situation.
Add a tab in your tracker and get all of the above information about all of your debts written down.
Once you know and can visually see what you have going on, maybe you can work on throwing more money towards them, consolidate them by taking out a big loan to cover off multiple payments if you can (get advice, do your research, check interest rates long-term etc), or at the very least gain clarity.
Understand Your Money Stories
We tell ourselves stories every day about how we feel about things, how we cope, how we perceive things.
These are the basis of our beliefs, which in turn affect how we feel, think and behave.
A money story might be something along the lines of:
“I am terrible with money! I always struggle with looking after it and I have no idea how to get better”.
This is a story that we would tell ourselves and might even answer to other people if they asked us!
By talking about ourselves like this and saying that I AM statement, we are declaring our money story. By repeating negative statements like this and truly believing this kind of thing about ourselves, it can solidify the behaviours of being irresponsible and lacking self-control.
Understanding the kinds of stories and beliefs you tell yourself around money will help you to better understand where you’re coming from.
Think about money and finances, having income and success – what thoughts and feelings are generated? Do you feel open to it? Does it feel out of touch? Do you feel jealous or angry?
It can be extremely surprising to properly dissect your feelings and think about your thinking! Bubbling under the surface are all kinds of thoughts and feelings.
Next, you can teach yourself new beliefs and put new stories into your head.
This would be positive and useful stories around money mindset, such as:
“I am great with money! I manage it so well and use it to make my life better. I invest it in things that bring me joy and fulfilment”.
By reinforcing this kind of thought over time, you will begin to feel more confident in it. You’ll start to take this as your truth.
Remember – Money Isn’t Happiness
It is important to remember that money doesn’t equal happiness.
You might feel more comfortable and less stressed if you have more money because, at the end of the day, it does fulfil our practical requirements of shelter, food etc.
But you need to remember that no amount of money will automatically buy you happiness.
And buying things WON’T make you happy.
It can be highly stressful thinking that money can fix your issues and make you happy. Always striving for more, always trying to scrabble enough together. Or simply spending more money than you can afford to try to fill an emotional space.
If this feels like you, I want to assure you that I have completely been there myself.
When I was struggling with anxiety and depression at a particularly low point in my life, I realised that I was spending money on things that I couldn’t afford to help fill the void. There would be a very short period of time where I would feel better, and then I’d be immediately feeling guilty, stressed and even worse because I was struggling even further financially.
Hitting rock bottom and realising the debt wasn’t making my mental state any better, I vowed to get things back under control, stop spending money I couldn’t afford, and develop a better mindset.
Learning those lessons was very important and I hope that if you’re struggling in the same way, I can help you see what you can do.
Work on your fulfilment coming from other things. It was around this time that I found blogging (around 2016), and it changed my life in so many ways. Having something I was passionate about and interested in switched my focus.
Take some time to learn new hobbies, find new things you enjoy, or go back to old things you used to love.
Practice positive affirmations around money, which you can read more about in my recent post about building an abundance mindset.
There you go! I hope you’ve found this post useful and it has helped you get some clarity on what you can do to get your finances a little more under control.
If you need further support, please DM me on Instagram, it’s where I spend most of my time!