What Causes Financial Stress?

NOT PLANNING AHEAD.

Living day-to-day seems inevitable to many people, and planning ahead may be difficult.But when emergencies and unexpected losses happen, the person who has no emergency fund to fall back on will experience much greater stress than the person who has planned ahead.

SPENDING TOO MUCH

In the American culture, we are under tremendous pressure to spend money on things we don’t really need. Because it is easy to confuse acquiring things with happiness, plenty of people get caught up in spending habits that can quickly spin out of control. When one person in a relationship indulges in this behavior, it places enormous stress on the relationship with his/her partner and other family members.

SPENDING TO SATISFY SELF-ESTEEM NEEDS

We might know people who have plenty of money but how lives lack satisfaction and joy. Maybe you’ve experience a times in your life when you felt empty of dissatisfied and bought things in an attempt to feel better. Some retailers even take advantage of this common behavior by encouraging us to indulge in “retail therapy.”

WHAT CAN I DO TO PUT AN END TO FINANCIAL STRESS?

  1. Explore your values—the basic beliefs that guide your life. Write them down and discuss them with your partner and family.
  2. Compare your values with your spending behavior. You are likely to feel anxious and disappointment in yourself where your values are out of synch.
  3. Set goals for all areas of your life, including money.
  4. Make a plan to change your behavior in relationship to money. Identify the specific steps you need to bring your spending and saving behavior in line with your values.
  5. Develop a budget that includes every dollar you earn and spend. Include monthly obligations and necessities. Don’t forget about irregular expenses such as taxes, health and car insurances, etc.
  6. Setup a Plan-to-Get-Out-of-Debt. If you need to, get help from Debtors Anonymous or a nonprofit credit counseling agency.
  7. Don’t buy anything on credit except in an emergency. A bargain basement sale is never an emergency. 
  8. Discriminate between what you want and what you need. Only buy things that you truly need.
  9. If you buy something on impulse that you don’t need, return the item right away.
  10. Avoid buying something that needs maintenance or accessories that will lead to additional expenses.
  11. At holiday time, make an agreement with your family and friends to place a limit on spending for gifts.
  12. Consider learning new skills to enable you to earn more money.
  13. Admit that you can’t afford to buy certain items, and don’t buy them.
  14. Increase your appreciation for what you have by volunteering your time to help others who are in need.