Some people consider money to be the root of all evil. While this may be a little harsh, money does seem to be the root of a lot of stress for many people. Money is the most common cause of arguments among married couples and is often considered the blame for many divorces every year. Love it or hate it, money is something that we just cannot live without.
With the current state of the economy, a failing housing market and skyrocketing unemployment rates matched with continuously growing prices in gas and food, it is no wonder we all are stressing. How do you stop this vicious cycle and feel good about your money situation instead of stressed. There are some things you can do to put your worries about money behind you and live your life stress-free.
Establish a Budget
Studies suggest that most people go through their life without ever establishing a budget and those who do set a budget do not tend to adhere to it. The major problem with this is there is no way to make yourself accountable to where your money it going. Before setting up you budget take a week or two and write down where you spend every single penny and then evaluate the results. You will be shocked to see how much money you are wasting on things that you do not need.
Setting up your budget is easier now than ever before because there are money free online tools that are available to help you keep track of all your money. No matter how hard it is, you must set up a savings account and put money in it regularly because having money saved back for emergencies will help reduce your stress level. You will never be able to stop stressing about money until you understand where your money is.
Gather Bills Together
Bill collectors are relentless and they will call you on a daily basis until they receive their money. If you currently have bills that have been sent to a bill collector, it is time to settle these accounts. The first step is to gather all of your bills together and make a list of everything you owe, whether it is has been sent to a bill collector or not. Take these bills and put them in order by priority with your mortgage being on the top of the list.
All of your extremely important bills that need to be paid should become part of your budget. For any of them that are past due or have already been sent to a bill collector, you will need to contact each creditor separately and set-up a workable payment plan. Be realistic and set-up payments that you can afford. One by one you will be able to pay these past bills off and stop getting those nasty calls that can easily raise your stress level.
Once you have completed you budget, you will probably be surprised by how much money you are spending in certain areas. In every single budget category that you have established there is most likely a way to reduce some of the cost. When you are able to reduce this spending in one area, it will free up more money for you to spend in other areas or save.
You need to realistically look at each budget line and see if there is a way to reduce your spending. Can you use coupons at the grocery store to bring down the costs of food, reduce the number of channels from your cable plan, or turn the lights off when you leave the house? Other reductions may take a little work on your part but will be worth the effort.
Learn to Shop Efficiently
To help you not stress about money, you are going to need to learn to become an effective shopper. Most people waste so much money when shopping and they end up purchasing things that they do not need. The result is junk around the house that does not get used and less money in your bank account. Start thinking before you buy things and do not simply buy on impulse. This can be a difficult step to do if you have been an impulse shopper for a while.
You should not go shopping without a list of what you need and that even includes clothes shopping. This will help you to not overspend or buy things you do not need. If you see an item that you want but it is not on your list, stop and think about if you would really use the item or not. Wait a few days before making the decision to buy this item because this will give you time to reconsider the purchase.
Cut Up the Credit Cards
You have probably heard this tip before but cutting up all of those credit cards can help you become less stressed about money. You may be thinking that the credit cards are good for emergencies but you know that those credit cards are being used for more than emergencies. Spending money that you do not have is never a good idea and if you are only paying the minimum payment each month the majority of what you are paying is interest.
Set a plan to get rid of all of your credit cards, except one that can be set aside for emergencies. The first step is to cut up all of the credit cards in order to stop you from using them anymore. Then you need to create a plan to pay off each card one at a time. You may need to tighten your budget for a while but once they are paid off you will be amazed at how much stress you are able to relieve.
Get Your Priorities Straight
Society makes us believe that money is extremely important but in the larger scope of things, there are so many more important things than money. Love, faith, family, friends and happiness are all things that not only make us feel better but help to reduce our stress levels. Do not make the mistake of putting money as the most important thing in life or you will never stop stressing about it.
You need to put that excess energy into building stronger relationship and doing things that you enjoy doing. Start having fun again and do not confuse fun with spending money because there are a lot of things that you can do to have fun that do not cost a single dime. Once you gain control of your money and know where your money is going, you can start focusing on other things that are much more important.
Money may be the root of all evil for some people but money does not need to control your life because you can take the necessary steps to control it instead. Being aware of where your money is coming in from and going out to will help to reduce your stress level. Taking charge of your money and having plans for the future will also help to reduce your stress. Most importantly, do not make money out to be more important than it is because family, friends, love and happiness are always more valuable than money.