One common denominator among my clients the last few years is an increase in financial stress. Often, it’s related to tax problems they need help resolving, but there are other factors involved, too. As prices rise, so does anxiety around money.
And it’s hard to make smart financial decisions when you’re living in a state of constant worry. You can’t wait until things settle down in the economy or wishfully hope for stability to see that stress relieved.
No one knows what’s in store for interest rates and the economy. It looks like the Fed may cut interest rates next year, but there’s no certainty about when and how much. But your financial life can’t be put on hold waiting for things to change that are completely out of your control.
So, how do you switch into a better money management mindset when financial stress is bearing down on you? It starts by figuring out what got you into this situation in the first place. Note: It wasn’t just the struggling economy.
Many people in financial duress that I have encountered have gotten there because hidden triggers were set off when financial stress began to creep in. And those can get you off track quickly. That’s why it’s important to acknowledge what pushed you towards poor financial decisions, whether it was an emotional response or deeply ingrained habits.
Those triggers can be the underlying factors in your spending decisions, often pushing you to classify things as needs when they’re really not. It’s crucial to understand the psychology behind the ‘wants’ so you can be more clear-minded when it comes to implementing a budget and cracking down on your spending. Peel back the layers to uncover what really drives those impulses.
Once you know your triggers, you can start to rebuild your mindset and live from a place of financial wellbeing rather than anxiety.
One simple way you can do that is by infusing gratitude into your life. Gratitude can shield you from fear of lack and set the stage for being more proactive rather than reactive when stresses arise.
Another thing – Don’t make major financial decisions when you’re stressed out. Take some time to calm down and think things through. Find ways to de-stress – things like physical exercise and more sleep do wonders for clearing the mind of emotional swirl.
Beyond that, be honest with yourself about your situation. Don’t try to hide your debt or spending from yourself or others.
Then, talk to someone you trust. Talking about your financial stress can help you feel less alone and can help you come up with solutions. I’m here for you if you want to talk about potential solutions: waterbury-cpa.com/make-an-appointment/
While you’re identifying triggers and building a healthier money mindset, here are some other practical things you can do right now:
- List your debts so you know where things are currently at before you start tackling them.
- Rank your spending, aka see where your money’s been going and figure out where you want it to go.
- Eliminate impulse spending, buying things or making decisions that make you feel better in the moment don’t often make you feel better in the long term.
- Automate your financial transactions… this can even save you money in some cases and will ensure you don’t miss payments or pay late fees.
- Find an extra source of income… a lot of people have a side hustle these days because they’re in the same boat you are. There are lots of opportunities out there.
- Start saving — Yes, even when things are tight, because you know from experience you’ll need to rely on those savings to get you through.
Keep in mind that shifting your mindset doesn’t have to be about making broad sweeping changes all at once. Start small. Do what you’re able to do. And don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get things figured out on the first go. Anyone can get themselves into a place of financial struggle. Focus instead on what you *can* control. Revamp your budget, make some financial goals, and manage your stress in healthy ways.
By recognizing those silent triggers and fostering a mindset that withstands financial storms, you are not just managing finances… you’re building a lifestyle around calm and foresight. And that is something worth prioritizing.
And remember… you’ve got a trustworthy someone in your corner to help guide you along the way. If you need me, I’m right here:
Helping you be stress-free,
Emelia Mensa, CPA