Money affects every one of us every single day. If you’ve found yourself feeling stressed recently and wondering how to stop worrying about money so you can live a good life, keep reading.
Table of contents
The strategies you’ll learn in this list are essential life skills that will help you build a happier and more satisfying life. You can think of them as some rules to be happy with your finances.
Why do I worry about money?
Common reasons include what role money played in your life growing up and not feeling that you have enough income.
Money worries can happen to anyone at any time, but you could be more likely to feel anxious about money if you relate to these:
Raised with deprivation
If you’ve ever had to go without food because money is tight, you will naturally be cautious about your spending habits to protect your resources.
You may even find yourself turning to to extreme frugal living, such as cutting out some everyday items just to save some cash.
An unsteady or low income
You’re also much more likely to worry about money and how to save money if you don’t have a lot of it.
A fluctuating income can be tricky to manage, too, as you don’t know what you will be earning from one month to the next. It can create extra pressure on regular expenses and household income streams.
Struggles with debt
If you have any type of debt, whether it’s a credit card, mortgage, or student loans, you don’t have an option but to pay it. But that doesn’t always mean that you’re able to.
Overwhelming debt stress can bring extra financial strain to your life and cause lots of sleepless nights!
A sudden change in circumstances
Unexpected expenses, increasing debt, and losing your job are the three biggest scenarios that can cause unplanned financial distress. Losing a loved one who contributes to your household income can also have a huge impact.
As these factors are out of your control, it can be extremely stressful.
Ways money worries can impact your life
Many of us deal with money worries, financial uncertainty and stress on a daily basis. It may not even be obvious that someone has money worries. That said, knowing the signs to spot could save yourself and somebody else too.
Signs that money anxiety is having a serious negative effect on your life include:
Do you get a headache or experience tightness in your chest whenever you look at your bank account? You may be suffering from financial stress.
Additionally, when you can’t stop being concerned about money, you can develop health issues like insomnia.
In addition, stress weakens your immune system, which makes you susceptible to illnesses.
Discuss your symptoms with a doctor and seek advice on ways to prevent them.
Money concerns can even keep you awake at night. For a good night’s sleep, you need a clear mind, so try distraction techniques and mental puzzles to try and get yourself into sleep mode.
A breakdown of relationships
When times are tough, we often take our bad mood and frustration out on the ones closest to us. Money problems often cause a relationship to break down.
Talking and being open with your loved ones is a good way to repair the relationship. Being honest with each other is really important if you want a person to be in your life long-term.
Withdrawing from social situations
Anxiety caused by financial worries can stop you from wanting to see family and friends.
But being on your own with your thoughts can make the situation worse, so try and mix with other people even when you don’t want to.
It’s also a good idea to reach out to a therapist if your money anxiety is affecting your ability to work and socialize or if you experience depression.
An impact on mental health
Thinking about your financial challenges constantly can affect your mental health. It can become much more difficult to enjoy life if you’re stuck in a vicious cycle of being anxious and stressed about your money and mental health.
Stress about your financial situation can make it hard to focus on important aspects of life. Being anxious may lead to difficulties with concentration, as well.
How to stop worrying about money and start living: 15 Must-try tips
Feeling anxious or overwhelmed about your finances are normal emotions when worrying about money, but there are things you can do to help.
Here are 15 practical steps that you can take to boost your financial confidence and achieve greater life satisfaction.
1. Review your full financial picture
To understand how to stop worrying about money, having a clear understanding of where your money goes is so important.
A full financial picture to make sure you’re financially sound will give you some control, showing you how much money you have coming in, what outgoings you have, and how much you have left over.
Start by looking at your bank statements and receipts. Categorize your spending into essentials (food, bills, housing, etc. ) and non-essentials (eating out, clothes, coffee). Doing so will show you exactly what you spend in each area and highlight areas where you could cut costs or try a spending freeze.
When you don’t have a firm grasp of your finances, the scariest thing is not knowing what is happening with your money. Once you have a clear picture, it’s much easier to handle.
2. Set specific financial goals
Want to know a quick way how to stop worrying about money and start living your life instead?
Setting financial goals for yourself will help you get your finances under control by giving you something to aim for and a plan to help you achieve your financial wishes.
The best way to set goals that actually work is to make them SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). Then ask yourself where you are financially right now.
What do you need to do to meet your goal? It could be clearing debt or boosting your earnings using high income skills. Whatever it is, write a plan and stick to it.
Financial goals to inspire you
Some examples of financial goals to have that can help you stop worrying about money include creating an emergency fund and improving your credit score.
Additionally, you may want to save a down payment for a house or reduce your debt.
Ultimately, taking steps and planning how you can achieve your goals can relieve you of common financial challenges.
3. Find a budgeting approach that works for you
To solve financial worries, you need to gain back control of your spending and manage your money well. And to do this, you need to budget.
Investing the time to manage your money better can pay off in the long run. It may help you stay out of debt and save for your future financial goals, which are two of the most common financial worries that people have.
To make a budget that you can successfully stick to, take the following steps:
Work out your income
Your income is everything you earn, minus tax deductions, health insurance, and retirement contributions. Don’t forget to include any bonuses and benefits that you might receive!
Review your spending
Now you know what’s coming in, the next step is to see exactly where your hard-earned money is going.
List and categorize your spending areas for organized finances by starting with your essential expenses, such as bills. Then, list your non-essential spending, such as entertainment and eating out.
Choose the right budgeting method for you
Find a budgeting method that you like – whether that’s the 50-30-20 rule, zero-based budgeting, or envelope system.
There are many to choose from, but just because something works for your friend doesn’t mean it’s the right system for you. Keep an open mind and try a few.
Seeing how much you’re saving each month is hugely motivational. It may surprise you just how much extra cash you’ve got from making small changes to your finances.
A good budget is flexible to accommodate changing needs and to prevent you from overspending. Take a look at how effective your current budget is every three months or so and adjust it if you need to.
4. Educate yourself
The path to financial freedom and fewer money worries starts with you. Brushing up on your understanding of personal finance is the perfect place to start.
There are so many ideas to improve your financial literacy basics!
For example, you can sign up for financial newsletters. You can tune in to finance podcasts and read personal finance books.
Likewise, many financial experts generously share their expertise on social media. Find someone you trust to learn from.
All of these things will help you feel happier and more confident about the financial decisions you make, so it’s worth investing the time to learn about money.
5. Don’t keep your finances a secret
Big secrets such as hidden debt can have a huge negative impact on our minds.
Talking about your money worries with someone you trust can help. The hardest part is how to start sharing your thoughts. The more you do this, though, the easier it becomes.
How to begin talking about money
There’s no right or wrong way to talk about your finances, but there are things you can do to make it easier.
Choose a time and place that you feel comfortable with. Be aware of your emotions and try not to let them stop you from talking.
Being upset is ok, but try to take some deep breaths and organize your thoughts before you speak. Write some notes of key points to help you get your ideas across.
Most importantly, choose someone to talk to whom you can trust not to judge you. For instance, a mentor, someone who has achieved the financial goal you are working toward or a qualified therapist.
6. Review your spending
A great way to practice how to stop worrying about money is to review your finances regularly. Make it a part of your routines to have a weekly or monthly money date.
You’ll feel more in control if you know exactly how much you earn compared to how much you spend each month. A few small changes to your spending can make the difference you need to stop feeling overwhelmed with money spending problems and start feeling confident with your money.
Throughout life, things happen that can cause your finances to drastically change.
Events such as a new job or having children often mean that your finances need to be adjusted. When this happens, it’s a good idea to pause, review your current situation and adapt accordingly.
7. Create a debt repayment plan
Whilst nobody wants to be in debt, it happens to a lot of people. What matters is how you handle it.
So, what’s the best way to tackle debt? Here are three steps that work!
Get familiar with the amount of debt you have
If you don’t know the level of debt that you’re facing, you can’t start to reduce it.
Write a list of everything you owe and its value, including credit card bills, car expenses or payments, and any student loan debt or credit line repayments.
Confronting it and saying it out loud to yourself can be extremely liberating!
Get your debts organized
Now, consider how you’re going to eliminate that debt. Becoming debt-free doesn’t happen overnight, but you can make good financial choices to start reducing the amount you owe.
Paying more than the minimum amount, paying your highest-interest debt first, and consolidating multiple debts are all ways you can pay off debt faster (consider: is debt consolidation a good idea?).
Don’t think about your debt too much
Easier said than done, right? Overthinking your money problems can cause low moods that prevent you from doing anything productive to help your finances.
Instead, allocate time to think about your debt. A good time to do this is when you are making your regular repayments. Don’t let debt consume your life!
Once you’re debt free, you’ll have a lot more money to invest, save, or spend. And no more worries about how much interest you owe.
8. Stay active (Best practice to stop worrying about money and start living!)
Learning how to stop worrying about money isn’t just about your finances.
Exercise isn’t only good for our physical health – it can also benefit our finances too! Make sure moving your body is part of your everyday routine.
Working out releases those little endorphins that we know help to boost our mood.
In addition to this benefit, exercising can make problem-solving easier – a win for dealing with finances!
Not a fan of exercise? You don’t have to be a hard-core gym goer to benefit from physical activity. Walking the dog or dancing around your bedroom is just as effective!
9. Embrace mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness techniques can help you lessen stress and anxiety caused by your finances.
How? Well, mindfulness is all about accepting yourself and your emotions and dealing with them in a way that doesn’t make you feel bad.
So, if your current financial situation isn’t as good as you’d like it to be, don’t get caught up in the negatives.
Instead, take a deep breath and create a plan to turn the bad things into positives. Choosing to let go and trusting the process can be extremely empowering!
Being mindful also increases self-awareness, which can help you rein in bad spending habits. Maybe it’s time to sit down and have an honest conversation with yourself about money.
Some great mindfulness techniques to try are:
Focusing on your breathing
Simply taking a deep breath before making a purchase can stop you from regretting your buying decisions and blowing your carefully considered budget.
Next time you get tempted by something in your favorite shop, try this technique and see how powerful it can be.
Visualize your goals
Once you truly know what you want to achieve, really picture the end result. It doesn’t matter if that’s your dream vacation budget or your first house. The important thing is you can see the prize for all your hard work.
Be kind to yourself
We are all human, which means it’s normal to lose focus now and again. Beating yourself up about it won’t help, though. Simply acknowledge what has happened, learn from it, and move on.
10. Invest your money wisely
Making wise financial decisions can also help you learn how to stop worrying about money. Investing allows you to learn how to grow your money quicker than if it sat in a bank account.
You then have the potential to reach your financial goals sooner!
Only invest in something you completely understand, though. Stocks, real estate, and index funds are good places for new investors to start.
Start the investing process
Before you part with your money, take some time to consider the risks and think about the impact of losing some or all of the money invested.
Ready to learn how to start investing? Take the first step by opening a brokerage account, which is basically a type of investment account to trade stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
You can likely open a brokerage account online in less than 15 minutes.
11. Be aware of your weaknesses
Do you struggle to resist the temptation of a department store sale or the lure of that overpriced daily latte?
Everyone has financial weaknesses, and just like other bad habits, they can cause you harm.
Facing up to yours is the best thing you can do to stop negative money habits and free yourself of money stresses.
Here’s how to do it:
If stress shopping is your biggest weakness, pausing your shopping trips and unsubscribing from store emails is an effective way to rein in your spending.
It doesn’t mean that you can never do some retail therapy again, but while you have money troubles, it’s a smart move to make.
Think before buying
Before every significant purchase you make, ask yourself whether you actually need that particular item. You could always come back to it later to see if you still want it.
Chances are you’ve changed your mind and just saved yourself some dollars!
Only make purchases with cash
You’re more likely to spend less when using cash because you can see how much something is costing you. It’s much easier to hand over a card than a stack of money.
Put the plastic away, switch to cash, and see how much you can save!
12. Take time for yourself
Life isn’t just about paying off debt and saving money.
If you are on a tight budget, there are still many things you can do that won’t negatively impact your finances. Living frugally just means being smarter with your money, not stopping spending altogether.
Stuck for ideas? Try some of these low-budget activities:
- Visit a library or museum
- Go for a walk
- Take advantage of happy hour drinks with friends
- Download free apps
- Appreciate simple pleasures in life – like a cup of coffee or being outdoors
- Take a drive around your local area
13. Start a side hustle
If you earned an extra $500 each month, would you worry less about money? Probably.
Side hustles are a smart way to boost your earnings and learn how to stop worrying about money. One great thing about side jobs is that they can be done in addition to your main career.
Side hustle ideas
Lots of unique side hustles can be done online and during evenings and weekends, giving you an additional flexible income stream. What’s even better about side hustles is that most people choose one that is aligned with their hobbies and interests.
For example, if you love animals, you could start up a pet-sitting business in your local area.
If DIY is more your thing, list your services on TaskRabbit and help people in your neighborhood while earning money.
Now, all you need to do is decide what to do with all that extra money! Pay off some credit card debt, save for a home, or treat yourself to a well-earned vacation; the choice is yours.
14. Save for your future
It can be hard to think about what your finances will look like in the future when you might be struggling to pay the bills right now. But you need to plan if you want to achieve financial freedom later in life.
Here are some ideas to achieve this without compromising too much today.
Change bad lifestyle habits such as overspending
Use the money that you would normally spend in these areas to save instead. A great way to do this is by tackling one bad habit at a time.
Let’s say you have a weakness for buying candy. Stop yourself from buying candy for a set amount of time and make a note of how much you save. This will motivate you to continue making good financial decisions.
Don’t ignore your retirement savings
It may be years away, but the earlier you start saving, the more your retirement investments will be worth when you retire. (Learn the difference between a 401k and IRA.) More money means fewer financial worries when you stop working and a higher-quality lifestyle.
Set up automatic payments to yourself
Consider saving for your future as another monthly outgoing.
Commit to saving a set amount each month (even if it’s just a few dollars) by creating an automatic transfer into a separate savings account.
Before you know it, you’ll have saved a decent amount that you can use to help you meet your financial goals.
It’s important to take time to step back and reflect on your finances. Because your lifestyle, priorities, and goals will change over time.
Reviewing your finances will allow you to factor new plans into your finances and adjust them accordingly.
For example, you may receive an inheritance, which means you can retire earlier. Or you may decide that it’s time to settle down and have children.
You can adapt your budget to save for this exciting life event and ease financial pressure later on.
Above all, regular financial planning is the best way to eliminate money worries and stress. It can help get rid of your concerns through planning and give you peace of mind.
Expert tip: Focus on taking control of your emotionsMoney anxiety happens. So you if you need to, talk to a trusted friend about your finances. You can also consult a doctor or a therapist for physical symptoms or mental health struggles.
Don’t allow your worries to consume you. It only makes the situation worse if you let your worries run the show.
Decide that you will be responsible for your financial health. If you’ve been avoiding looking at your debt, or you don’t know anything about your finances, then it’s time to get to know your money.
You are capable of making great decisions about your money. Whatever you don’t know, you can learn it. You can quit worrying about money and focus on your life!
Support and advice for money worries
Money troubles are nothing to be ashamed of! If you experience any negative thoughts, it’s ok to reach out for help.
Speaking about your money problems can often help you put things in perspective and help you come up with solutions to financial issues that you hadn’t thought of before.
There is a lot of help available out there – all you need to do is reach out and ask for it. And you don’t even need to pay a financial advisor.
In addition to our vast library of content here on the blog and our 30+ free courses here at Clever Girl Finance, here are some free resources you can leverage:
Operation Hope is a non-profit organization which provides people with access to financial well-being coaches. These coaches provide guidance on creating a financial plan to navigate difficult financial situations.
Debt.org is an organization that focuses on helping people get out of debt through providing clarity on how to leverage debt consolidation plans, debt settlement plans, tax debt relief plans, and more.
The CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
The CFPB (which stands for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) is a U.S. government agency that provides advice on debt, credit cards, mortgages, and other finance topics.
This government site provides advice on government programs available to help pay for essential items like food, housing, and healthcare. They also share key tips on ways to get the most for your money.
Savvy Ladies is an organization that has been around for over 20 years. It offers support to women via its financial helpline and volunteer support groups.
Your traditional bank or credit union
Most banks will offer their customers free financial advice and point them in the right direction based on their financial circumstances for further help.
Credit unions provide similar advisory services to your bank and are a great source of information.
How much money do you need to not worry about money?
The amount of money you need to not worry about money depends on your income, expenses, and goals. Define what being financially comfortable means to you.
Maybe you just want to be able to pay bills, and you’ll be content. Maybe you have big goals like saving a million dollars for retirement or paying off your mortgage.
Go figure out your magic number and use it as motivation.
How do I stop stressing about money and the future?
The first step to stop stressing about money and the future is to look at your money situation. Know what’s stressing you. Is it your debt, lack of savings, or a big expense coming up like the average wedding cost?
Explore your options on how you can increase your income or reduce your expenses. So you’ll have extra money to save or pay off your debt faster.
Then, sit down and make a plan. It will reduce your anxiety if you have a clear path to follow.
Additionally, try to change your perspective and approach the future with hope rather than fear.
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Live a financially free life and stop worrying about money!
You’re not alone if you’re concerned about finances. It takes some know-how, practice, and patience to train yourself to learn how to stop worrying about money and start living.
But it’s more than worth it for your quality of life!
Once you begin to set goals, understand your budget, and create a good habits list for your money, you’ll soon find that your finances are in much better shape.
As you continue to learn more about money, you will likely worry less and less and find that you have a healthy mindset with your life and finances.