You might be feeling overwhelmed by how difficult it can be to manage the money you have coming into the home. This is absolutely normal and a very common problem. There are a few steps you can take to get your money worries under control and start on a more relaxed way of dealing with the money you have.
The Salvation Army’s Moneycare service provides free and confidential financial counselling.
Moneycare clients come from all walks of life. They can help you if you are in financial difficulty, in a financial crisis situation or wish to avoid financial difficulties. Read more here.
You’re not alone if you are feeling stressed out about money. Many people at some point in their life will feel overwhelmed and anxious about their financial situation. Take comfort knowing that these stressful times will not last forever and that there are ways to help yourself through them.
There are many reasons why people are stressed about their money situations these days. The endless bills, things constantly going up in price, unemployment issues and of course the mortgage!
But you must remember that the stress you feel is nothing more than your body’s response to what is happening. Many situations arise in life that stress us out – car dingles, storms, worrying about our family members etc. We all have events that will test us but how we react to those events is the key. Some people will completely freak out while others will remain calm and in control. How do they do that? Well they know how to manage it. Once you know how to manage stress it will help in all areas of your life such as your relationships, your health and your personal well being.
Two simple quick breathing tips to use when you feel anxious are:
1. Starting in a comfortable position, hold your right thumb over your right nostril and inhale deeply through your left nostril. At the peak of inhalation, close off your left nostril with your ring finger, then exhale through your right nostril. Continue the pattern, inhaling through your right nostril, closing it off with your right thumb and exhaling through your left nostril.
2. Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, and keep it there through the entire process. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound
- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four
- Hold your breath for a count of seven
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight
- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time.
What Is Causing Your Financial Stress?
Anxiety comes from a variety of problems so firstly you must find out exactly what the main problem is for you so the best solutions can be found to manage it. Usually the problems stem from the four fundamental reasons below. Try to identify which area your problem stems from.
1: Going Under
When your expenses exceed your income and you can’t manage the money successfully, you feel like you’re going under and you’ll never be able to come back up. When you consistently spend more than you make you have to find the money elsewhere and that’s usually in some form of debt. People take on extra credit cards, draw off their home loans, take out new loans or sell off property or investments and savings.
2: Just Getting By
A common feeling is that you are just getting by, by being able to pay the bills etc but there’s nothing ever left for anything else. You feel like you’re never going to be able to save, get out of debt or be any better off in life. You are basically living from week to week.
3: Owing Money
Some people hate the thought of debt and find having debt very stressful. Owing money can make people feel trapped in their situation, and some resent giving money to lenders even if they can pay their expenses and save.
4: Out of Control
For some, financial stress comes from a feeling of being out of control with the situation. You might have too many accounts, don’t know where the money is really going, have no financial goals in place or are just starting out and feel overwhelmed with it all.
Money and Your Happiness
There are a few ways to deal with the financial stresses in your life. The first way is to be able to calm your responses so your stress levels don’t get out of control and cause your body to overreact and make the situation unbearable. You want to be able to think clearly and be able to find the solution to the problems you are having so you can solve the problems calmly, one step at a time.
It’s not as easy as saying ‘If I had more money my financial problems would go away”. Would they really? It’s common to misbelieve that more money will solve everything. Sometimes having more money will ease financial stress but the underlying stress, the reason why you are stressed about money may still be there. More money can lead to more spending and the cycle of financial stress continues. Even the rich can be stressed about money.
10 Tips to Deal with Money Stress
Changing your perspective and financial habits are the key to managing your money stresses. It will take time to get the anxiety under control but it can happen and trying these tips is a good way to start building up your resistance. If your anxiety is too much for you to bear then please see your doctor, they’ll know how to help you.
Step 1. A different, more positive mindset is the first step. You have to think to yourself in a positive way and talk about your situation in a different manner. Positive affirmations like “I will get my finances under control” and ” I am moving in the right direction with money day by day” are better for keeping stress under control than always beating yourself up about it. Do this every day!
Step 2. How you feel about your financial situation can be changed by the way you speak and view your situation to others. Similar to positive thinking you can keep a positive attitude to your problems and then you will be able to put plans into action to deal with them proactively. Your thoughts will precede the actions you take so try to take the time to view your problems clearly.
Step 3. When some people feel a situation is out of their control then it’s natural to feel anxious, such as a fear of flying in a plane. When it comes to your money problems you must remember that you have options and choices to change the situation so you will be able to get it under control. Thinking clearly will allow you to improve the situation and reduce the stress accompanying it.
Step 4. Being grateful in life is a key to solving many difficult situations. Think about the areas of your finances that you are happy with and focus on them daily. Focus on what is going right with your money and feel happy about this, while thinking about how you can make your money problem areas less stressful. Learn from your money mistakes and think about how you are going to change them for the better.
Step 5. It’s easy to make your problems seem worse than they are by projecting a worse-case scenario into your future. Exaggerating the worse will only make matters worse because you are focusing on the negative. This can make you anxious and feel out of control, like things will never improve. Don’t do it! It’s unproductive, doesn’t solve anything and makes life miserable for you. Think about now, not the future – you are going to get you finances under control so things will be fine.
Step 6. Financial challenges are not a sign of personal failure or weakness. The richest people can fail in finance and rise up again, they do it constantly because they take large risks. You can rise above your challenges too and you will feel stronger and more in control when you achieve it. Working through any challenges in your life will gain you inner growth.
Step 7. Looking after yourself is very important so you can think clearly, be healthy and manage your problems better. Do something you enjoy for yourself every day! It might just be listening to music you enjoy, taking a walk for half an hour, watching a movie or eating a little of something you love. You must be able to take your mind off stress, especially before you go to bed. Try to think about the good things in your life and the day while you are falling asleep.
Step 8. Talking your problems out with a trusted friend or family member is a good way to begin to see things differently. Others who have gone through difficulties can give you a different perspective of the situation and show you that things can be dealt with and that outcomes can be positive. You might hear ways to improve your situation that you haven’t thought about. You can also talk to free financial counsellors here:
Find a Financial Counsellor (They are FREE)
These services in each State or Territory will be able to provide a financial counselling or credit advice service or refer you to the appropriate service.
Step 9. Keeping monthly debt payments under 40% of your gross monthly income is a good guide to being able to cope financially with those commitments. If debt is the major stress in your life then you need a plan to help you get control. You can find ways to reduce your debts here.
Step 10. Saving and investing at least 10% of your income is a great start to financial freedom and less financial stress. Material possessions and expensive purchases will not help you get your stress under control or allow you to move forward in your quest for financial security. You’ll feel great when you can save your money and spend it on good value things that you really need.
Coping with financial stress can reduce the stress you feel in many areas of your life. Financial stress affects the whole family and the sooner it is dealt with, the sooner it can be managed. Denying financial strain can and will only make the problem bigger.
If you are feeling financial stress then take these steps to help ease the pressure.
1. Identify the financial stress early and take action immediately. Don’t think it will go away on it’s own, it simply wont! Redo or do a budget that sets out your costs honestly and clearly. You must know where you are financially if you are to get out of trouble.
2. Discuss the problem with the entire family if they are old enough to understand. This will alleviate a lot of stress for each individual, knowing were the stress is coming from and that it is being dealt with is important. Forget materialism – focus on what is important now, you and your family.
3. Concentrate and prioritise your money on the necessities of life such as the paying the mortgage, electricity and food while cutting out or back on the non essentials. Be a family and cook with the kids, even if it’s a BBQ!
4. Get financial help if you are entitled to it. Look into refinancing, consolidating loans and reducing credit card expenditure. Talk to a loan broker, they are free and will help guide you to better financial options regarding your loans.
5. Stay healthy, limit the use of alcohol and keep a positive attitude. Go to doctors who bulk bill. Do things as a family – go for walks, picnics, days at the beach, playing at the park etc., things that don’t cost money.
6. Take control of your situation, talk to friends and family. Everyone has hard times and you might just get some terrific advice.
7. Can you earn some extra money? Can you have a garage sale? Sell unwanted items on EBay or in the local paper? Can you do babysitting, mechanical repairs etc?
8. Do something everyday to shrink your financial problems. Don’t buy coffee out, take your lunch, bake a cake for the weeks snacks, stretch meals with fillers and veges, search the Internet for money saving ideas etc. Take control.
9. Work out the expenses you will incur at Christmas, discuss with the family ways to ease the pressure of gift giving. Maybe not buy for the adults and just concentrate on the children this year? The family can all contribute to the meal instead.
10. Don’t buy anything you don’t need. Discriminate between what you want and what you need.
If your financial stress is causing you extreme anxiety or you feel like you just can’t cope or see the end to your troubles then discuss this with your doctor or a financial specialist. There are many people and organisations who can help you.
Find a Financial Counsellor (They are FREE)
These services in each State or Territory will be able to provide a financial counselling or credit advice service or refer you to the appropriate service. You can apply for your own credit report for free through here too!
If you are having financial difficulties with your business then FIDO can help. Financial counselling is a free and independent service offered by community organisations, community legal centres and some government agencies.
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Our mission is to provide a national focus and community leadership to increase the capacity of the broader Australian community to prevent depression and respond effectively. We aim to build a society that understands and responds to the personal and social impact of depression, works actively to prevent it, and improves the quality of life for everyone affected.
Anxiety Online is a comprehensive online mental health service offering information, assessment, online diagnosis and treatment programs (“eTherapy”) for a selection anxiety disorders.