If thinking about your bank balance leaves you feeling stressed or keeps you up at night, then it’s important to realise two things: that you’re not alone, and that there are strategies you can put in place to ease the worries.
For these tips, we’re focussing on the everyday financial anxiety that many people face some time in their lives – they won’t be suitable for everyone, particularly if the anxiety you face is more severe. NHS guidelines suggest that most people who are feeling anxious about money will be able to manage it themselves, however it you feel worried, anxious or low for several weeks then you should consider speaking to a GP.
Understand where your money is going
Sometimes it feels like your money is slipping through your fingers, in which case you may utter the common phrase: “I just don’t know where my money goes each month!” Sound familiar? This is a clear sign that you need to schedule some time to sit down and look through your banking history.
Doing an audit of your spending isn’t exactly relaxing, but it will help to understand your spending habits better. Banishing that fear of the unknown can be the first step in coming to terms with your financial spending.
Pretty much every bank has an app that will let you see your banking history in one easy place, and many will also now categorise your spending for you. By analysing your accounts in this way, you’ll be able to see how your money is being used.
Take back control
Maybe you do know where your money is going each month, but you feel like you’re powerless to take control of it. This can be particularly stressful if you’ve already trimmed the unnecessary expenses from your budget and don’t know where else to save. In this case, doing even a small action that puts you in control of your money can help you to feel better and get more motivation to keep building your savings or paying down debt.
Some options for seizing back control could be:
- Refreshing your CV and applying for better paying jobs (or jobs with a lower travel cost). If the cost of living is higher than the salary you receive then this may be really helpful – and remember that even sideways moves can often result in a better salary.
- Switching one of your monthly bills to a lower tariff. You could also try calling up your existing providers and asking if they can put you on a better deal. Let them know that you’re thinking of switching and they may well offer to take money off your bill. Getting this kind of deal can also be a huge morale booster.
- Learn more about money. Think about which areas you find confusing and commit to spending a small chunk of time each week reading educational articles. You could even head to the local library.
Remember that small amounts of worry can be healthy
If you’re worrying so much that it interferes with your daily life then that’s usually not healthy, but small amounts of stress can actually be good for you since it keeps you vigilant and helps you avoid bad decisions. In these cases, small things like doing some light exercise or getting out into nature can help you to clear your head and get back on an even keel.