There are varying degrees of financial stress. For example, consider the stress levels in these statements:
- “How will we pay for the trip to Hawaii this year?”
- “We don’t have enough money to go out to Luigi’s, but we can have Pizza Palace deliver.”
- “We can pay the electric bill or the gas bill, but we can’t pay both. Remember that the bank said we’d lose the car if we don’t make a payment by the 10th of the month.”
Some people are fortunate enough to have never been in the last situation, but many people aren’t so lucky. Desperate times are highly stressful times.
The good news is that it is possible to get out of a financial crisis! Alleviating such financial pressure requires a cool head and a plan.
1. Gather information. Get an accurate picture about your situation. It’s easy to make yourself more upset than necessary. Ensure that you have a factual representation of what’s going on.
- How much money are you making?
- What are your bills?
- How much debt do you have?
- What resources are available to you?
2. Focus on solutions. Commit yourself to finding solutions. Most of us tend to focus on comfort, which is a big mistake. Nothing happens when you make yourself comfortable. You’re just distracted. Spend the vast majority of your time looking for, and working on, solutions.
- You can take it easy at night before bed and focus on making yourself comfortable then to help you have a good night’s sleep.
3. Eliminate every unnecessary expense. Most people have several expenses that provide little to no value. Do you have gym membership you never use? Magazine subscriptions? Expensive cell phone plan?
- Get rid of every expense you don’t truly need. Of course, you must pay for your housing, utilities, food, medicine, and insurance. However, everything else is optional.
4. Determine what you can and cannot influence. Most of us worry about things we can’t control. There’s actually very little you can control. You can control your thoughts, attitude, and actions. Everything else is out of your hands.
- Focus on what you can influence and avoid worrying about the rest.
5. Determine how every penny is being spent. When you’re under serious financial stress, it’s important to know where all of your money leaks are occuring. Discover where every cent is going each month. Track it all.
6. Work on a plan to boost your income. If you had enough money, your financial stress would evaporate. There’s always a way to make more money if you’re committed to providing more value to the world.
- You might want to get a second job or a side hustle. It might be time to start an online business or to look for a better-paying job.
7. Budget. Do you have a budget? Most people don’t. Choose where you money is going before you spend it. Make a spending plan and stick to it.
8. Find ways to relax. The solution to stress is to either remove the source of the stress or to relax. Plan relaxation time into your schedule each day. If you’re too stressed for too long, you’re likely to end up sick. Too much stress reduces your ability to function optimally.
- Experiment with various relaxation methods to find out what works best for you. Some healthy options include listening to your favorite music, taking a warm bath, engaging in a hobby that pleases you, playing with your kids or pets, going for a walk, or hiking on a nature trail.
9. Ask for help. It might be time to ask for help. Friends, family, your employer, your banker, or even your creditors can all be of help during financial challenges.
Financial stress is a leading cause of divorce, suicide, and many health issues. Financial issues can be an overwhelming challenge. Ensure that you’re working with accurate information, scale back, boost your income, and make a plan. Ask for help if you need it. There is a way out, although it might be challenging. You can do it!