Tips for handling financial stress

No matter how great your financial health may be right now, there’s no guarantee there’s not a financial storm brewing on the horizon that you can’t yet see, which could lead to financial stress.

financial stressTo help ensure you’re mentally and emotionally prepared for the inevitable, or if the inevitable has already barged into your mind’s living room demanding room and board, make yourself aware of a few tips to adequately handle financial stress.

Take immediate action

Rather than refuse to look a financial emergency in the face or delay responding to it, go ahead and take immediate action. Much like a severe physical wound, you’ve got to take quick action to reduce the damage to your financial health. No matter how insurmountable the situation may seem, taking immediate action is the key to coming out the other side of the storm.

Talk to a professional

Rather than fumble learning how to juggle and balance your financial stress, sit down with someone who helps people in your position for a living. An investment managers insights or a financial planner’s strategies can create a light that guides you to the end of the tunnel. Be open and honest about your financial struggles and what likely triggered them. Your complete honesty is the only way you’ll be able to receive information and a strategy that benefit you the most. Withholding details could further deteriorate the situation or serve as more of a stop-gap.

Refresh your budget

Even if you already mapped out or tweaked your current budget shortly before your wave of financial stress crashed upon your shores, change your budget again. Your current situation is likely to require some retooling and shuffling of funds. When you refresh your budget, you may find extra money that can be used to pay off a sudden debt, take care of emergency car repairs or chip away at unexpected medical bills. Even if you’ve already looked at your budget, take another look with a financial professional. There may be an option you haven’t yet noticed or explored.

Keep yourself from spending money

You may be a stress spender. That means you buy meals, clothing or small indulgences for yourself when bad times roll around. If you know this about yourself, shut off access to easy and unnecessary spending. For instance, leave your credit cards at home when you go out. Delete saved card and account numbers from your internet browser to make it that much harder to indulge in impulse online buys. Rather than use a debit card, go on a cash-only diet. This type of diet is where you only use cash for your day-to-day purchases. Watching your cash flow dwindle with each purchase can make you that much more cognizant of how much money you’re spending.

Start an emergency fund

One reason you’re under so much stress could be you don’t have an emergency fund to help dig you out of your financial hole. Despite what you may believe, an emergency is a perfect time to start an emergency fund. That’s because the frustration, fear, stress and anxiety you’re feeling so clearly right now are the very same emotions you can keep yourself from feeling again when you have an emergency fund. When you know you have a stable, reliable safety net underneath you when you fall, the plummet isn’t that scary. The same applies to having a robust emergency fund.

Write down the sources of your stress

Rather than see financial stress as something nebulous and all-consuming, name it and claim it. Write down what it is specifically that’s making you stressed. Is it that your strategies aren’t working? Is it that you’re juggling more balls than you can handle? Maybe it’s that things aren’t moving fast enough for you. Whatever it is, write it down and create a plan of attack.

Don’t give financial stress more power than it actually has. Use these tips to keep your head above water and give stress its eviction notice.