I don’t know about you, but the end of the year usually leaves me feeling one way— strapped financially. And feeling strapped financially makes me feel stressed. And do you know what I already have enough of in my life? Stress. Especially at the end of the year when there are deadlines for work and holiday gatherings and travel and it’s flu season and people who need my help and class parties for kids at school and volunteers needed at church. You might be wondering, how can I cope with all of this financial stress? How can I finish the year strong and actually enjoy the holidays? Here are 6 things to help you not feel stressed financially, especially at the end of the year.
HOW TO NOT FEEL STRESSED FINANCIALLY
TAKE CONTROL BY FINDING OUT WHERE YOU ARE.
The biggest thing that will help you to not feel stressed financially is to take control of your finances by finding out the exact state of your finances. I know it’s tempting to bury your head in the sand when it comes to money. Like, if you just don’t look at the credit card statement, maybe that debt will magically disappear right? It seems easier to just ignore it than to take a look and deal with it head on. But in reality, that will actually leave you feeling more stressed. Deal with the stress head on by finding out exactly where you are with your finances. Find out how much debt you have. Find out what your interest rates are and what debt you should focus on paying off first. (In general, I like to pay off debt that earns the most interest first). Calculate how much income you have and what all of your expenses are. When you take control of your finances, you will feel less stressed.
CREATE AN ACTION PLAN.
Once you know the state of your finances, you need a plan that you can work towards in order to not feel stressed financially. If it’s debt that is stressing you out, grab our free debt payoff starter kit— it will set out everything you need to do to get out of debt so you don’t have to worry about it. If you want to bulk up your savings, start making a plan for how you are going to do that. Take time to create a plan. I promise it will help you reduce stress.
FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL & IGNORE THE REST.
Once you know where you are and have started taking control of your finances, you should keep your focus only on the things that you can control, and forget about the rest. For example, maybe you’ve taken control of your finances by tallying up all of your debt and maybe it’s more than you thought. That might stress you out. But you can’t go back in time and not take on that debt, so no use stressing out over it. Don’t beat yourself up over it, simply move on and come up with a plan on how you are going to pay it off. Let go of the things that you can’t control.
It may seem hard at first, but take time to be thankful for what you have, including and especially the things that are stressing you out financially. Are you feeling stressed about having to buy Christmas gifts for tons of family members? Take time to be thankful for your family. Feeling like all the efforts you are making this holiday season aren’t enough? Take a minute to feel thankful for the Christmas season and what it’s really about. A little gratitude goes a long way with how you are feeling and managing stress, especially when it comes to money.
SET SMALL SHORT TERM FINANCIAL GOALS.
Another thing that will really help you not feel stressed financially is to set small short term goals that you can accomplish within a few weeks. Achieving small goals will help you achieve your bigger goals. Maybe you have a big goal of saving up for a down payment on a house, but you are feeling stressed and derailed by all of your holiday spending. Set small goals, like to stop holiday shopping by a certain date, or to cancel cable, something along those lines. This not only will help you achieve your bigger goals, but it will help you take control of your finances and leave you feeling less stressed!
DO SOMETHING FUN EVERYDAY.
Financial obligations are serious.. Money is serious. It can feel really stressful. But at the end of the day, money is just a social construct. It’s not even a real thing. It is something that we have completely made up to trade for time, services, or things. Make sure you are taking a little bit of time every single day to do something fun for YOU. It can be as simple as dancing to your favorite song by yourself in the shower, going for a run, riding a bike, reading a book, whatever is fun to you! Somehow, when we grow up, we forget about having fun like kids do. But if we remember to have a little fun, we’ll feel less stressed.
CHANGE YOUR MINDSET.
I don’t mean to oversimplify the stress you may be feeling. I know stress to be a very real, powerful, crippling feeling. But at the end of the day, stress is just your response to your situation. Choose to respond differently by changing your mindset. Simply tell yourself that you refuse to feel stressed out about money, no matter how bad things may seem right now. Eventually, you will start believing yourself and you will start feeling less stressed. I know it sounds fluffy. But this is exactly what I did when my husband and I first tallied up our student loan debt and realized that we were well over half a million dollars in debt. I did not sleep a wink the first night, and didn’t sleep well for a long time, until we came up with a plan to pay off our debt and I ultimately decided I was not going to feel stressed about it anymore. I changed my mindset, and that’s what you need to do too. Of course, changing your mindset alone won’t be enough– you’ll still need to follow the other steps in this list, especially finding out where you are and making a plan to change your situation. But changing your mindset will no doubt help you feel less stressed.
If you are feeling completely stressed about your finances, I promise those feelings aren’t forever. Trust me– I’ve been there. Find out where you are with your finances and start making a plan to change. Remember to let go of the things you can’t control, feel grateful for what you have, set goals, have fun, and change your mindset.
What things have helped you not feel stressed financially? Drop a comment below!
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Here at Deeply in Debt, we offer tons of personal finance advice based on our own journey paying off $650k of student loan debt. If you have student loan debt and aren’t sure where to start or what to do, I highly recommend the CFA’s over at Student Loan Planner to help you put together a solid financial plan for your student loan debt. We personally used them and it literally saved us over $200,000 on our student loans. You can check out the Student Loan Planner here.