Have you found yourself worried about money more than usual lately? After all, we’re in the middle of living through a world health crisis and nearly half of Americans are without a job. To say you might be experiencing a little stress is probably an understatement.
The current financial climate seemed to develop faster than most of us could say *I should really stop spending so much money*.
If you weren’t prepared with an emergency fund, multiple income streams, and a zero debt balance, you’re likely feeling the stress of an uncertain and unpredictable financial future.
I totally get it, because I’m right there with you.
However, I know that stress, worry and fear are absolutely useless when you’re trying to overcome adversity. In fact, worrying about money excessively can lead to health problems such as ulcers, insomnia, hypertension and heart attacks. Not to mention taking a toll on your mental health by increasing the risk of anxiety and depression.
Financial stress usually stems from fear of the unknown – what will happen if … ? The various scenarios that play like a broken record in your mind can leave you feeling helpless, hopeless, and out of control. This is a scary place to be.
But if you can make a few adjustments to both your mind and your manner, you’ll discover that you don’t need to spend your energy worrying about money – even as you navigate through a world health crisis.
If you’d like to learn how to stop worrying about money, here are 13 ways you can take action and gain control of both your finances *and* your feelings.
#1 Identify the cause
Before you can address the stress, you need to know what’s causing it. Take some time to reflect on any current circumstances that cause you to feel anxious, frustrated, angry or worried.
Maybe you feel stress when you’re looking at your debt, or balancing your checkbook, or paying your bills.
Once you identify the tasks and the thoughts that elevate your heart rate, write them down. It’s difficult to think clearly when we feel overwhelmed, and this list will help keep your feelings in perspective.
Then, determine what you can do to minimize the strain you experience.
Some things may need to be eliminated (like, *ahem*, credit cards), while other pieces may need to be added (a budget, anyone?).
In addition, keep a short list of ideas that help you move through stressful situations without succumbing to the stress itself. Something as simple as keeping a gratitude journal or listening to classical music while paying bills can keep you calm and positive.
Be mindful that worrying about money is first, a choice. And second, is typically triggered by a circumstance. Find the triggers that pull you into a negative mindset so you can be purposeful about avoiding them, or working through them effectively.
Keep reading for more ideas on how to deal with your stress points when you’re worried about money.
#2 Take a cold, hard look at your financial situation
Take Nike’s advice and Just Do It.
Nobody ever felt empowered by remaining ignorant. Stop procrastinating and avoiding the situation. You’re not fooling anyone but yo’ self.
Gather up all your bills and statements and write down the whole shebang – how much you owe, due dates, interest rates, etc.
Then gather up your paystubs and receipts to figure out what’s coming in and what’s going out. Add up all of your available income streams and track where your money is going.
Finally, figure out your liquidity ratio. This will tell you how long your savings will last if you need to start pulling from your emergency fund.
You may think this will all lead to a heart attack, but actually it’s the start of you taking charge once and for all.
When you drag all your dirty money laundry out of the closet and into the light, you’re one step closer to feeling in control.
Just do it. I promise it won’t kill you.
#3 Set some goals
Okay, so you’ve looked your money mess square in the eye. Now, you can either take a nap on the couch and pray it swallows you up, or you can take action.
Even if you feel overwhelmed, you can still make some goals. Maybe they’re itty bitty goals, but those count too:
- Save $20 a month
- Cancel one credit card
- Eat out once a week instead of three times
- Pick up two extra shifts a month
- Create a meal plan to keep your grocery budget in check
- You get the idea
Start small. Put one foot in front of the other. Then, as you start to gain some wins, make some goals that are a little bigger. For some inspiration, read my post on 15 Financial Goals To Start With.
It’s important to remember that your finances don’t define you, and they don’t control you. You are fully capable of fulfilling those dreams you once had. You just may have to remind yourself what they were.
#4 Stash away some savings
You may be waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night because you’re afraid this coronavirus crisis will wipe you out financially.
Try to stop being so worried about money and start saving it instead. Even if it’s just $20 a week – promise yourself you’ll put this money away and not touch it unless you have an emergency. (And be honest with yourself about how you define emergency.)
A good goal is to have $1,000 in your savings for unexpected expenses. This cushion will help you stick to your normal budget (see #5) and give you some peace of mind.
If you want to get there faster, there are other ways to build it up. Sell all the crap you bought at full price but don’t use any more. Pick up a side job on the weekends. Stop drinking lattes every morning and martinis on the weekends.
You are in charge. Your money does not control you. Take the bull by the horns and git’r dun.
#5 Make a written budget
Unless you are already financially independent (in which case you probably wouldn’t be reading this post), you have no excuse not to have a budget.
And no, keeping receipts in a tattered envelope with your scribbling on the outside doesn’t count.
Plugging up leaks in your finances will prevent overspending and create more efficient cash flow. But to find out where they are, you’ll need to get specific.
Create a written budget that reflects every dollar that comes in and goes out of your life. Give every cent a job that helps you get to your goals faster.
Sticking to a budget is a critical part of learning how to not worry about money. Once you are fully aware of where your money is going, you’ll be more in control and can make better decisions with it.
If you’re not sure where to start, read my post on creating a zero-sum budget.
#6 Be held accountable
If you’re married, this could mean your spouse. (Or not, if they don’t particularly appreciate financial discipline.)
Maybe it could be a friend, a relative, or even a support group online. Just make sure that they are supportive, encouraging, challenging, and available. You don’t want to choose someone who doesn’t have your best interest at heart.
And if you’re the type of person that can keep yourself accountable through a system, try that.
The point is to find someone or something that will motivate you to stay on track. Sometimes just knowing you’ll need to report your progress or confess a total fail will help you stick to your budget.
#7 Be organized
I don’t know about you, but if I just walk into a messy room I feel a small degree of anxiety. Chaos has a way of inducing stress no matter what the circumstances are.
When you’re worried about money because you’re late paying your credit card bill or checks are bouncing on a monthly basis, one reason may be a lack of organization with your finances.
Get a folder and put everything that needs to be paid or logged or filed into it. You can keep your written budget in there, all your receipts, statements, tax documents, etc. When you get a bill in the mail, put it in this folder as soon as you open it up.
Stop adding to the worry and stay organized. You’ll save time and money, as well as reducing unnecessary stress in your life.
#8 Get rid of debt
I know this is much easier to say than to do. But if you want to learn how stop worrying about money, take control of your finances and crush your goals, this should be at the top of the list.
Having a budget, some savings and a few goals will set you up to create an effective plan to attack your debt.
Once you gain some momentum and get a few accounts paid off, you’ll feel a greater sense of freedom and determination to be debt free. Instead of being weighed down and stressed out about the mound of debt you’re under, you’ll have a newfound confidence that financial freedom is attainable.
#9 Increase your cash flow
You can have a greater positive cash flow by either increasing your income, decreasing your expenses, or both.
These days it doesn’t take much effort to find creative ways to make more money. This is the age of the side hustle, and the options are plentiful. A simple Google search for “side hustle jobs” will return over 40 million results!
If you don’t want to use more of your time to bring in more money, then do what you can to decrease your financial outflow. Get some ideas by reading my post about how I cut over $1,000 from our monthly expenses.
Of course, you could get a side job and decrease your spending to really amp up your cash flow.
Once you have more money to fund your budget, you’ll have more confidence and peace of mind knowing you can easily meet all of your financial obligations and still have some left over to enjoy life on your terms.
#10 Adopt an abundance mindset
Sometimes – no, actually most of the time – we can forget that, as human beings, we are the ones in control of our thoughts. Too often we let our thoughts be controlled by our circumstances, instead of *choosing* how we’ll respond to the situation we’re in.
When we worry about money, we operate out of fear and become slaves to the scarcity mindset: believing that nothing is going to get better, our options are limited, and we have to just accept the hand we’ve been dealt.
But when we operate out of faith, we become masters of the abundance, or growth, mindset. This mentality helps us see all of the opportunities that are just waiting for us to take advantage of them. We switch from being the victim to the victor, fully believing we have everything it takes to be successful, prosperous and fulfilled.
Once you change your thinking patterns about money, you’ll stop stressing about what’s not working and start finding things that do. You’ll focus less on what you can’t control, and put more of your energy into what you can. You’ll begin to identify the positives in your situation, which will help you think of possible solutions more easily.
Read more about how to switch to an abundance mindset to learn how your mindset can help you reach your financial goals and stop worrying about money.
#11 Educate yourself
Some say ignorance is bliss – that is, until you’re stuck in a debt hole you don’t know how to get out of. Then it’s just dangerous.
Fear is often born out of lack of knowledge. Not understanding how investing works, or not knowing when you’ll be able to retire, can cause a lot of undue worry simply because you haven’t yet acquired the knowledge necessary.
There’s really no excuse not to know. There are countless books, thousands of websites and a plethora of podcasts that will teach you anything you want to know about personal finance – for free! (Check out my post on 21 FREE Personal Finance Courses!)
Take the time to educate yourself on these matters. Knowledge is power, and it will free you of the “what, when, why, how” worries that wake you up in the middle of the night. You don’t need to stay confused or intimidated. Just because you don’t know, doesn’t mean nobody does.
Ask questions, read books, and learn from others that have already figured it out. Learn how to be the master of your finances, and how to stop worrying about money.
I guarantee you’ll have a more peaceful sleep.
#12 Stay healthy
Our brains are affected by our physical health. This means our thoughts and feelings, and subsequently, our decisions and actions, are influenced by how we take care of our bodies.
Exercise has many benefits, one of them being an increase in endorphins. Endorphins are our brain’s “feel-good” neurotransmitters and are natural stress fighters. Exercise can also improve sleep, alleviate depression, and increase self-confidence.
What we put into our bodies also helps with battling stress. A healthy diet reduces inflammation and weight gain, both of which put stress on the body. It also improves blood flow so the nutrients our brains need get them more efficiently.
Also, make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night. This alone will make your thinking clearer and strengthen your decision-making skills.
Overall, leading a healthy lifestyle will help you decrease stress levels in any area of your life. So, take the time to create healthy meals for yourself, fit in physical exercise, and get those eight hours of sleep in every night.
Not only will your body thank you, but your brain will too!
#13 Stay grateful
When it seems like the sky is falling and you feel hopeless, take a long, deep breath. Do this a few times.
Then, get out a piece of paper and write down 10 things you’re grateful for.
Pausing to remember the blessings in your life has a way of changing your perspective. When we stay mindful of how much we have to truly be grateful for, our thinking becomes more balanced. Yes, there are still problems that need to be worked out, but they are not the entirety of your life nor do they define you.
Maybe the best thing you can do to stop worrying about money is to keep a gratitude journal. Write at least 3 things in it every day to maintain an attitude of gratitude.
When you find your mind drifting to a worried or anxious state, pull out your notebook and remind yourself of all you have to be grateful for.
You’ll find that your perspective will improve, which puts you in a place to make better decisions.
Learn how to stop worrying about money and take charge
We all deal with stress in our lives, it’s inevitable. But that doesn’t mean we need to succumb to it. You can make better choices and learn how not to worry about money.
You have the power to change your thoughts and your actions and take control of your finances. Whatever situation you find yourself in at this moment, find encouragement in knowing that it’s temporary. You don’t need to accept that this is the way your life will always be.
When you take the steps to improve your money management and your mindset, you will find that you are fully capable of changing the direction of your future.
You have everything you need already, you just have to set it in motion!
Other posts you may enjoy:
- Create Your Own Stress Management Plan: 6 Steps To Find Balance
- 3 Ways Financial Stress Affects Your Qualify Of Life And Mental Health
- Money Values: How To Align Your Priorities With Your Spending
- 9 Powerful Benefits of Setting Financial Goals
- 5 Principles To Change Your Life After 50
- The Mexican Fisherman: 5 Powerful Lessons To Live By
- How To Create An Abundant Mindset
- 5 Ways Limiting Beliefs Harm Us
- 5 Money Lessons I Wish My Parents Had Taught Me
- 4 Disguised Fears Holding You Back From Achieving Your Goals
How To Stop Worrying About Money: 13 Steps To Financial Confidence