I’m willing to bet that since you got your first job and you started making money, you have dealt with some kind of financial stress, at least once in your life. Whether it was not having enough money to buy groceries or pay your bills, or you needed to make a large purchase (like a new car engine-true story!) It’s crappy, but $h!t happens. Even when you think you are prepared, BOOM! Something happens that completely derails your budget or costs more than you have in your emergency fund.
Think about a time this has happened to you, how did you feel about it? I can tell you that when this has happened to me I felt like total crap! But, believe me, there is hope at the end of the tunnel. My husband and I struggled living paycheck to paycheck for many years before we really knew how to effectively handle our money.
Simple Budget Planner
Sign up and get instant access to our FREE Simple Monthly Budget Planner!
So it is my goal here to share my insights with you on how you can end your financial stress, even if you feel like you have tried everything and even if you are living paycheck to paycheck.
Apply These 12 Secret Techniques To Drastically Reduce Your Financial Stress
I really can’t stress enough how being financially fit it so incredibly important in life. Just like your physical and mental health, your financial wellbeing affects so many areas of your life. The mindset that you take with your money can either make or break your life and your relationships.
Women (and men) who are financially savvy know everything about their financial situations and are able to any difficulties that come their way. And they can do so without becoming derailed in their financial goals.
It really doesn’t matter your stage in life, maybe you are young and single, maybe you are a mother running your own business ?♀️, or maybe your babies are all grown up and have left the nest. Having solid financial habits will help you to keep everything on track and your life and finances in order no matter what life throws your way.
Easily follow these tips to end financial stress in the “End Financial Stress for Good Guide,” don’t forget to download your budget planner here:
1. Cut Expenses Wherever Possible
Remember that gym membership you bought 6 months ago and never use (but still pay for), that is a prime example of an unnecessary expense that you can cut out.
Or what about the trip to the gas station for lunch every day? Those seemingly little expenses really add up. Spending a few dollars a day on things here and there might not seem like a lot, but it can very quickly add up to a large sum. Think about it, if you are spending $5 a day on snacks and other things while at work, or out and about, that can add up to $35 a week, over the course of a year that is $1,820.
Instead, stick that money into a savings jar to build an emergency fund, or use it to pay down your debts. It can be really helpful to use a monthly savings tracker to ensure that you are reaching your goals.
There are many, many ways in which you can cut expenses, even in areas you might not think of. Are your kids in sports that require equipment of some kind? Believe me, I know how quickly these things can add up (my kids are involved in very expensive sports like dance, gymnastics, and BMX).
There are many creative ways to find used and discounted equipment. For example, search your local Facebook groups, Craigslist, and other online marketplaces for discounted and gently used sports equipment. Don’t forget about thrift stores! Places like Goodwill and St. Vinny’s are great to find things like skates, helmets, hockey sticks, heck I even found a full-size drum set there for my son for $150! (One of the symbols alone was worth that much!)
Take a good look at all areas of your life to see where you can save some money or cut our unnecessary expenses.
The grocery store-so you buy name brand items not on sale or without coupons?
Monthly memberships-remember that gym membership we talked about?
Impulse buys- what are you buying last second just because it looks good or you feel like you need it?
2. Pay Off Your Most Expensive Debts First
If you are familiar with the debt snowball method, this might seem a little counterintuitive.
Your expensive debts are those that have sky-high APRs and you aren’t paying much towards the actual balance when you make a payment. The goal here people is to work smarter, not harder!
First things first, you need to write down all of your debts, how much they are, the monthly minimums, and the APR of each. Just debts though, don’t include ongoing things like electric or water bills.
Now it’s time to figure out which one(s) is the most expensive. While you might have two credit cards that are each $1,000, if one has an APR of 5% and the other 25%, the one with the 25% APR is the more expensive one. While the snowball method advises you to work on your smallest debts first, there is also a benefit to paying off/down your most expensive debts first.
Once you have everything written down, it will be easier to decide which debt to tackle first.
Paying off debts is very personal and you need to figure out what is going to work best for you and your family.
In a nutshell, the debt snowball method pays down the smallest debt first. You then take the amount you were putting into that debt each month and add that to the payment for the next debt.
3. Don’t Try and Keep Up with the Jones’
This is one that so many people get wrong, don’t live above your means! I know, I know, you really NEED that pool or that new TV. And sure, it can be very tempting with all those credit card offers you get in the mail. But, realistically, you should not be spending more than you can afford.
Credit cards help to satisfy that need for instant gratification. Financially savvy ladies don’t fall for that trap! (Although they might wisely use credit to build their credit)
Take note from people like Steve Jobs an Mark Zuckerberg, you don’t have to look wealthy to actually be wealthy. Just because you can go buy a new pair of Louis Vuitton’s on a credit card doesn’t actually mean you have money. I would much rather buy my clothes from Goodwill and Walmart and have money in the bank than splurge on name brands and be broke.
4. Don’t be Impulsive
Stores have this whole instant gratification thing figured out. You know when you go to buy groceries and the checkout line has candy, magazines, and drinks? That is how they get people to spend more, through impulse buys.
You should have a handle on where your money is going.
Have you ever been in a situation where you just got paid, paid your bills, and then before you knew it, you were broke again. Where the heck did that extra $300 I had after paying bills go? Take a good hard look at your bank statements and do your best to track every time you use cash or your debit card.
Are you buying extra things at the gas station when you get gas? Are you ordering food when you could be making something?
Not knowing where your money is going is a terrible habit! Don’t fall into this trap!
Don’t go out and buy something just because you have a coupon for it unless you were actually going to buy it in the first place. Doing this is not really saving money, this is spending money that you would have otherwise not spent.
If there is something that you really have been dying to get, like a new piece of tech, don’t go out and buy it right away. Wait! First of all, save up for it rather than buying it on credit. Also, if you wait, you might find out that you don’t need or want it as badly as you originally thought you did.
5. Save for Every Day and Emergencies
Now I’m sure you have heard of both having a savings and an emergency fund, but what the heck is the difference?
A savings account is just that, a place to save your money. It might be used to save for a vacation, a new (used) car, or a down payment for a new house.
An emergency fund, on the other hand, is a savings that you don’t touch and leave in case of an emergency. For example, like when you need a new engine in your car…
With an emergency fund, you should generally have about 6 months worth of your living expenses stored away. That means, if your bills total $2,500/month, you should consistently keep $15,000 in your emergency fund.
Now I know this might seem like a lot when you figure it out, but think about this. What were to happen if you or your spouse lost your job, or got injured? Could you pay your bills? Could you afford your house?
This is why you should regularly contribute to your savings and your emergency fund.
How Much Should You Keep In Your Emergency Fund?
Although the 6 months of expenses isn’t a hard a fast number. When figuring out how much to keep in your emergency fund, you should take your lifestyle into consideration. Do you have kids? Own or rent a home? Owe on your vehicles yet? Have college tuition to pay?
Make sure you take all of these things into consideration when factoring in how much you should put into your emergency fund.
This will help to prevent you from having to take out a credit card to pay for unforeseen expenses and circumstance.
Knowing you are prepared if something were to happen also helps to relieve financial stress and anxiety related to potential issues.
6. Write Down Due Dates
I can’t tell you how many times I had a late payment on a bill simply because I forgot to pay it because I didn’t have the due date written down. Seriously, late fees are a pain in my A$$!
Late fees are a total waste of money, I mean I could totally have used that $30 to put in my savings!
You don’t need some complicated system to keep track of your bills. A simple paper calendar with dates written on it works fine. I personally like to use Trello to organize my bills and due dates.
Organizing my bills like I organize my projects helps me to not overlook those expenses that only happen once in a while. Like my Amazon Prime membership, which I always forget about. Not this time! I already have it listed in my Trello board.
7. Track Your Money In and Out“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.” —Robert KiyosakiClick To Tweet
You should know exactly how much money you have coming in each month and how much you have going out. If you work full-time, have a side hustle, or earn money from investments, track all of it!
If you are looking to earn some extra income, starting a side hustle is a great option!
You should also be taking a look at, not only how much you are making, but how that money is working for you.
Take a 401(k) for example. What kinds of stocks is your employer putting your money in? Is your retirement working hard for you or is it just sitting there? If your retirement account is not generating maximum profits, then change it so it does!
8. Budget Baby!
Budgets are sexy now! Yup, you heard me right, nothing gets me going like spreadsheets and savings plans!
Your budget shouldn’t cause you heartache, it should provide you with flexibility but yet be consistent and provide you with the support you need.
I don’t know about you, but my expenses change from month to month. We pay less for dance classes during the summer but more for BMX (and yes, I budget for those!)
You need to be able to put together a budget that is realistic and that you actually enjoy working with. Don’t fear the budget! Embrace it and make it your B!TCH!
Make sure that you budget for the fun stuff too, like taking your kids to a movie or going out with friends.
Think you need a little extra help putting together a budget? Check out the free financial binder below to help you crush your money goals!
? Enter your info below to get the Finacial Binder: ?[convertkit form=5271700]
9. Treat Yo’ Self
Now I am not saying that you should be spoiling yourself with every luxury you want all the time. That would indeed be counterproductive to our mission of financial freedom and minimizing financial stress and anxiety.
However, investing in yourself, especially if you are a woman and a mother (admit it, ladies, we tend to put ourselves on the back burner…). You have to be able to reward yourself with a little something when you reach milestones.
Did you recently pay off one of your credit cards, or reach your savings goal for the year? Get yourself a little something, maybe some gourmet chocolates, or go get a pedicure.
Being able to reward ourselves when we reach milestones in our lives, whether in our financial lives, our health, or our relationships, gives us that extra bit of motivation to keep moving forward.
It has been proven that you are more likely to stick to your goals if you are not overly rigid. Have fun with it and be flexible.
10. But I Can Afford It…
Can you, can you really?
You have worked your butt off to pay down and pay off your debts, you have a good chunk in your savings account, and six months worth of income in your emergency fund.
So technically, yes, you can afford that brand new Apple Watch and that Coach bag, but do you really need them? I’m guessing the answer is no…
Just because you CAN afford something doesn’t mean you should buy it. This is how rich people become broke. You don’t see Mark Zuckerburg all decked out in designer brands, even though he could probably afford the entire store. Heck, he wears the same shirt every day just so he doesn’t have to pick a different outfit. Talk about commitment!
If you start spending all of your hard-earned cash, it’s not likely that it will be around for very long.
I heard a quote once, “if you can’t buy it twice, you can’t afford it.” There is a reason that you have financial stress in the first place, don’t fall into that trap again!
11. It’s Never Too Early To Save For Retirement!
Repeat after me…”it’s never too early (or late) to save for retirement!”
It doesn’t matter if you just got your very first paycheck or you have been receiving a salary for years. You need a retirement fund! This can be something that is set up through your employer or something that you set up on your own, like an IRA.
The best thing about retirement accounts of any kind, they are all pre-tax savings! This is definitely something that you should be taking advantage of![convertkit form=5271700]
12. Don’t Let Money Define You“You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” —Dave RamseyClick To Tweet
Yes, having money can make life easier, but ultimately, it shouldn’t define who you are of how happy you are.
How much money you have shouldn’t determine your self-worth. You can be broke and happy or rich and unhappy, it really doesn’t matter.
You need to realize that you are in control of your money, that your money does not control you. Take steps every day to improve your financial situation by how and what you spend, save, and earn.