For those of us looking to be more financially responsible, stress seems to be a big factor of how we handle our new spend-less, save-more lifestyle. Bills, debt, after-school activities for our kids, and even birthday presents can cause our hearts to race when we think about the amount of money each of them takes from our household. With a budget that’s based on the military pay scale, that stress can easily amplify.
Here are four great tips on how to handle the stress of finances.
Stop Thinking about Money
Yes, this may seem counter-intuitive, but thinking about your finances all the time can not only cause stress within yourself, but stress within your home. It’s fine to think about bills that may be due that month or groceries that have to be purchased, but never think of them in dollars. We have a mindset that cringes at the thought of losing money even to important things like food, so if we imagine “funds” being used instead of dollars, our demeanor changes.
Set a Financial Timer
Do you find yourself constantly checking your account balances a few times a week or even a few times a day? Set a timer where you allot 10 minutes to check your finances a day. 10 minutes. No more and no less. This tells your brain that you’ll have a set part of the day when you can review your checking account, stocks, mutual funds, or any other finances. After doing this for a few months, our family is now down to checking our account only once a week for 10 minutes. Conditioning your mind to put any financial stress on the back burner until your scheduled financial time will allow you to rest your brain and calm your nerves about paying bills.
Set Long-Term Goals
Living paycheck to paycheck causes us to forget the end result of why we are paying off debt or staying on top of bills. Make solid long-term goals for you and your family. Maybe it’s a vacation to Australia or owning your own home, but keep those goals in mind each week. If you are attracted to visual encouragement, place a picture of your goal as a screensaver on your computer or your cell phone. Have the family create a vision board and place it in a prominent area of your home. Assign something positive to finances and you’re more inclined to stress less about it all.
Celebrate the Positive
While you’re making long-term goals for your finances, keep in mind the positive outcomes that are currently in your life. Have you paid down a debt? Celebrate. Are you on track to having multiple thousands of dollars in savings? Rejoice. Whether it’s getting a 20% decrease in your cable bill or you found a new way to automate payments that causes less stress, you have to celebrate those small victories within your finances. If we wait to acknowledge an accomplishment when it’s something big, we may never feel like we are getting anywhere within our finances. Pat yourself on the back weekly, daily, or even hourly. You deserve it.