8 Ways to Cope with Financial Stress

ways to cope with financial stress

More money more problems, as The Notorious B.I.G. so famously put it. You might not believe it, but financial stress is the cause behind 60% of illnesses. What's worse: 65% of people experience financial stress in varying degrees at some point in their life.

This means that financial stress isn't something you ought to ignore; it's a serious matter that can have real health consequences. The problem is that financial stress is only a side effect of something bigger; financial difficulties are nothing to laugh at.

Ever since the recession, more and more ordinary people have been experiencing real challenges that force them to make difficult financial decisions. Making ends meet isn't easy, and even working two jobs doesn't always cut it.

People who are able to stay afloat still have to contend with the regular stresses that money can bring. After all, you never know when financial surprises will pop up. All it takes is one major unexpected expense and your savings will go down the drain.

As such, it becomes necessary to look into stress-relieving options. You have to continue working on your finances, but at the same time, it's a good idea to stock up on tips to handle stress.

8 Ways to Cope With Financial Stress

Understand Your Situation

Though it's always easier to keep yourself in the dark, this isn't helpful at all. Ignorance is bliss, they say, but only up to a certain point. If you really want to get a handle on your finances, you need information.

Start by listing down all your income sources and your expenses. Don't be afraid to be honest and write down all the debt you have. This is not the time to sugarcoat things. This will show you where you stand.

Create a Budget

Part of getting a handle on your finances -- and therefore improving your own financial peace of mind -- is creating a budget. Based on the information you gathered from writing down all of your income and expenses, you should be able to create a budget.

Now the next logical step, of course, is to stick to this budget.

As long as you don't spend beyond your means, you'll be able to cut down on your stress. When you have more debt than you can pay off monthly, you're only setting yourself up for more worries.

Start Reducing Debt

Nothing improves your mood better than getting things done.

But which debt should you pay off first? There are two ways to go about reducing your debt. One way is to start with the smallest amount. It's easier to pay off and you'll get a lovely sense of achievement in no time. The second option is to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate, since the longer you keep it around, the bigger the amount you'll have to pay later on.

The important thing is to get things moving.

Start Saving

Now you might think this is weird. If you don't have enough money, how are you expected to save? The truth is that you can save, no matter what sort of financial situation you're in. It's better to save a small amount rather than not save at all.

If you can, start looking into possible investments. Check out the many options available to you.

Do Not Compare Your Lifestyle With that of Others

This is the surest way to stress yourself out. When you look at the material things that your neighbors or colleagues own, you could be tempted to keep buying things beyond your means.

The problem is that it will never be enough. There will always be someone cooler than you, richer than you, or trendier than you. That means you're trapped in a terrible, never-ending, cycle of always trying to be better.

Think Positive

When you're in debt, it's very easy to feel upset and depressed. Don't. Go forward and focus on the actions you can take. All the tips mentioned earlier are designed to help you save yourself from a financial rut. Being proactive is better than wallowing in despair.

Find a Free Hobby

It's a good idea to stay active and find something that you enjoy. It's always important to not let your financial troubles keep you from enjoying your life. You have to go out, get a bit of fresh air, and have fun!

Hobbies can take your mind off your financial problems. They won't go away in a snap, so you have to make an effort to lighten up your mood while you're still working through your financial difficulties.

Get Help

This means two things: first, you need to get financial help from experts; and second, you need emotional support from your loved ones. One, you'll need help from a financial expert who can help you sort things out. This is one of the fastest ways to make sense of your difficulties.

Second, you'll want support from people who love you. Going through financial difficulties isn't easy. You'll need people you can trust -- people who will help you up when you're feeling down.

Just ask for help -- don't be afraid -- and you'll be able to get the love and support that you need.


    • Pauline

      Pauline 08/20/2013 7:10 a.m. #

      Staying positive is key, even if it seems daunting, if you do nothing things will only get worse. I had a bit of a financial stretch a few years back with a lot of obligations but nothing impossible if you tackle it seriously.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 08/20/2013 4:54 p.m. #

        Definitely, ignoring the situation does not make it all go away or get better on its own. A person has to take action.

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 08/20/2013 9:40 a.m. #

      Great tips, Sicorra. Not comparing your life to others is so important and also hard to do at times in a world of facebook, twitter and instagram. You see all the supposedly wonderful things they are doing. And it's hard not compare, then compete. I tell the girls to celebrate other people's success and happiness then be grateful for what you have and focus on what makes you happy.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 08/20/2013 4:56 p.m. #

        Thanks Shannon! Not comparing yourself to others is important in so many areas of our life. It could be someone has a nicer car or a nicer house, but it comes up when people compare their looks as well. And comparing yourself to someone that you view as better is a quick way to kill your self esteem and get upset.

    • Apollo

      Apollo 08/20/2013 9:51 a.m. #

      I think comparing your lifestyle with that of others is one of the worst and more idiotic things you can do.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 08/20/2013 4:57 p.m. #

        I agree, it is a really bad thing to do to yourself.

    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 08/20/2013 11:12 a.m. #

      Thinking positive and finding a free hobby are GREAT ideas when you are facing financial stress. When finances are tight, positivity can literally mean the difference between letting financial problems take over your life and getting motivated to get to a better spot.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 08/20/2013 4:58 p.m. #

        Yes, the positive attitude will help a person make the right changes, I think. A positive attitude helps you see beyond the challenges where stress and being upset just makes the issue worse.

    • krantcents

      krantcents 08/20/2013 5:58 p.m. #

      As someone who earned significant money, I never any problem dealing with more money. BTW, I don't have a problem with less either. The same principles apply, you have to have control of your finances.

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 08/21/2013 7:38 a.m. #

      I used to be stressed with our financial situation but we're on our way to a full recovery but we have a couple more years to go.

      The advice you gave is what we're doing to make it happen but I personally still struggle with buying take out for dinner...I'm just too tired to cook :)I'm a work in progress is what I tell my hubby :).

      This is what gets us in trouble...comparing our lifestyle with others. We all want to have the latest and greatest but when you live beyond your means it's a recipe for disaster.

      Great post Sicorra!Have a great day and talk soon!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 08/21/2013 12:33 p.m. #

        Corina, I feel the same way...it is a work in progress. And that is perfect because at least you are headed in the right direction. And we have to allow ourselves some splurges too. I mean life is meant to be fun, not a constant struggle. If ordering in frees up your time to do other things, or just to have a fun evening with the kids, then go for it.

    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

      Laurie @thefrugalfarmer 08/23/2013 7:26 a.m. #

      Great tips here, Sicorra. I really believe that once a person starts taking control of things, using any or all of the tips above, that's when the stress starts to dissipate. Just having a plan in place and knowing what's going on with our money, those two things alone have reduced our financial stress considerably.

    • Daisy @ Add Vodka

      Daisy @ Add Vodka 08/23/2013 7:44 a.m. #

      FInancial stress can ruin a lot of things, and I have to agree that you've outlined some great solutions here. Getting out of debt one step at a time alleviates a lot of it.

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