Stress over money is all too common. And money stress usually boils down to not having enough money to pay the bills, dig yourself out of debt, or respond to a crisis. The solution to money stress is to approach the issue of money objectively and not emotionally, and to tackle money-related challenges strategically and deliberately.
First, you must get on top of your stress level and emotions in order to approach your money situation with the right mindset. The best way to manage stress is to nip it in the bud via a proactive change in habits. Drink more water. Exercise more, even if it’s just a 30-minute walk each day. Give your body the rest it needs, and incorporate positive input into your mind (calming or inspirational music, self-help literature, etc.). These steps will strengthen you emotionally and help you get on the right track.
As for as the money itself is concerned, don’t approach the subject emotionally. It’s not about how much money you need to pay your bills or take care of your crisis. Money is a resource. If you’re short on that resource, it does no good to stress over it. It also does no good to ignore the problem. You must instead strategically address the issue. Making more money means that you must take in more money than you put out. You must increase your net income.
Sounds simple enough, but many people sabotage their income by neglecting this fundamental truth. Are you sabotaging your income. Here are two questions to help you determine if you’re on the right track financially – or making things worse:
1. Do You Have a Budget?
If your answer is “no,” then you’ve just identified a huge part of your problem. The old addage applies here: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” You need to itemize your monthly expenses along with your sources of income.
This will also help you identify “gaps” or problems in your finances. If, for example, you have only ONE source of income, that is a problem, especially in this day and age. You need (as finance expert Robert Allen would say) “multiple sources of income.”
2. Do You Look for Ways to Save Money?
The famous P.T. Barnum once wrote: “True economy consists in always making the income exceed the out-go. Wear the old clothes a little longer if necessary; dispense with the new pair of gloves; mend the old dress: live on plainer food if need be; so that, under all circumstances, unless some unforeseen accident occurs, there will be a margin in favor of the income.”
Many people are compulsive and emotional in their shopping. Some even view it rather competitively. They’ve got to have the newest clothes, the name-brand items, and so on. If their neighbor gets a new car, they need one too. That kind of approach to spending will destroy you financially. It’s time to start saving. Not only can you not have everything you want, you frankly don’t NEED everything you want. And when you get right down to it, you sometimes don’t even WANT what you think you want. Just consider all that “cool stuff” you bought in months or years past that’s now collecting dust in a closet or attic!
Don’t sabotage your money situation with the wrong attitude, habits, and mindset. Instead, take control of your finances and get on top of your stress level. By being more strategic and disciplined, you can, in time, erase any reason to stress over money.