Money cannot buy happiness, but it can help. On the other hand, when money is an issue in a relationship, it can create problems. Since we all have money issues, it is important to learn how to confront and overcome them. Check out these easy ways to de-stress about money problems.
Meaning of De-Stress
What does the word “de-stress” mean? Simply, it means to relieve, alleviate, or reduce stress. Other meanings refer to reducing and relieving tension and anxiety.
Here, the verb is used in connection with the hot-button topic of money stress.
Ways to De-Stress About Problems with Money
This is not a blog about making money. It is a blog about how to get past the stress associated with money problems. In the process, you might discover ways to increase your income or add to your savings. Consider this a bonus.
So, whether you have too little or too much money, here are some effortless ways to solve the stress-related problems associated with money.
Have That Conversation
Money is a source of much friction in relationships. It is one of the biggest sources of disagreement between couples. No wonder people find it tough to talk about money, let alone how to de-stress about money problems.
Yet, having that conversation with your spouse, partner, or significant other is important. It is better to discuss how you feel about money now than wait until finances become unmanageable. For example, discuss what to spend money on, how to divide expenses, how much to allocate for savings, whether you want children (a huge financial expense, loving them notwithstanding), how much of a house, or whether you want a house to own, and other topics.
Figure Out What Is Important
Most people want to succeed in life. They want to pursue their dreams and feel fulfilled. Some say that getting married and having a family is most important to them. Others cite a satisfying and rewarding career.
Think about what you want your life to look like. Do you want to travel? Is finding a better job your goal? Whatever you find most important, envision what that looks like. This helps you shift priorities (and values) to better align with your dreams.
Determine the Money Stress Source
What keeps you up at night about money? If financial anxiety causes sleeplessness, it will only get worse without action. Money experts suggest listing the top money challenges you have. Make it a brief list because too many will frustrate you further.
- Once you know that certain expenses (like the mortgage and car expenses) are causing you the most stress, you can look for ways to minimize that stress. If you worry that you cannot pay for your child’s college education but other major expenses are still within budget, there are ways to address this money problem.
- If you are always afraid of never being able to get out of debt, you’re operating under what is known as the scarcity mindset. You will never have enough money (or time, or whatever you’re afraid you won’t have enough of). Instead, experts on reducing money stress suggest reframing your thinking into what you’ve gained or learned from your money problems.
Create a Budget (One You Can Stick to)
Budgeting is a necessary financial activity for any family. One of the best easy ways to de-stress about money problems is to take control of family finances. A budget can mean the difference between overspending and not having enough money to pay the bills and being able to save money for what you want.
Tip: The starting point is net income, the amount left after taxes. List every expense. Set up automatic payments for bills that come every month – like mortgage and utilities. Be sure to sign up for bank alerts so your balance doesn’t dip below a specific level.
Divide Income into Wants and Needs
Now that you know your income, divide it into wants and needs. Your needs are the top priority. The goal here is to make the best use of what you earn. Money only goes so far, whether from salary, investment earnings, a side gig, or freelance jobs.
After classifying what you spend each month by want and need, the next step is to look for ways to cut some wants. These are the expenditures that eat away at the budget – and cause stress. Yes, that daily high-priced coffee drink tastes great, but it is an unnecessary regular expense.
Reduce Debt to De-stress About Money
Have credit card balances become unwieldy? Are you able to make more than the minimum monthly payment? Remember that the interest still accrues on unpaid balances, so unless you can pay the balance in full, at least pay more than the minimum monthly.
- A better strategy is to stop using credit unless necessary. Another is to set aside high-interest-rate credit cards and only use those that charge lower interest rates.
- Look for trusted resources if you have trouble reducing debt and still need help with money problems. Your bank financial advisor, your CPA, the Federal Trade Commission, and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling are some good choices.
Add to an Emergency Fund
We all know the value of having an emergency fund. But how many people have the recommended three to six months fund to pay for living expenses in an emergency? While allocating money to sit in a bank account for just-in-case situations may seem distasteful, think of this as a self-insurance policy. That should help you de-stress about money problems.
Earn More from Your Investments
If your bank savings account returns 0.04 percent or less, switch banks or transfer some funds to online banks offering better annual percentage rates. For example, several online banks in April 2023 offered 4.45 percent and higher on high-yield accounts. There may be a minimum investment and a monthly maintenance fee, so check the specifics. A reliable source to check is Bankrate.
- Also, check out certificates of deposit (CDs). Although your money will be tied up for the duration of the CD, you will earn more than if you leave it in a regular savings account.
- Another suggestion to earn more from your investments and de-stress about money is investing in high dividend-paying stocks. Even though the market may drop, high dividend-paying stocks will continue to make you money. Look for companies that have consistently raised dividends for 10-20 years.
Schedule Regular Check-Ins with Your Partner
Life can get hectic, and things can change quickly. Goals you or your spouse or partner had six months ago may seem less desirable today. Or, one or both of you may want to pursue something else. Be sure to check in regularly to familiarize yourself with your individual wants, needs, and those you share.
Enjoy Free Leisure Activities with Your Loved One
Financial concerns can interfere with the quality of life if you only stress about them. Besides taking proactive steps to de-stress about money problems, enjoying leisure activities with your loved one is another way to reduce money anxiety. Even better, many things you enjoy doing together are free, like walking in nature, cooking a meal together, and laughing at a comedy you watch at home.