Pardon me for getting a little personal here but do you have too much money stress? We know that life can definitely give us stress in many shapes and forms, usually many times each day. Stress about our families, our health, job security, deadlines etc. But most likely the biggest stress is about money. It certainly was that way for me for a long time.
I used to spend my time wondering how we’d pay our bills. Money can be one of the most stressful worries for all of us, whether you live on your own or you’re part of a family. I mean, without money, how do you care for your children, your partner or yourself. The basics such as food and somewhere to live.
One thing I found when I was getting particularly stressed by money (or the lack thereof) was that I’d get more headaches. I couldn’t sleep which affected my ability to concentrate. Everything seemed to go around in never-ending circles in my brain and I’d feel exhausted all the time. In other words it became really hard to work. And without work, there would be no hope of money.
I’d get depressed, quite severely so and I wouldn’t want to go out to see my friends or even talk about it with my family. But we seemed to get through it. Some months we’d barely scrape by. Occasionally we’d be able to put some into the savings account for those extras that always seem to come up. New tires or a service for the car or helping out the kids.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? If not, then you’re a very lucky person. But for the majority of us, money woes have affected us in some way, shape or form. For some it is a short term occurrence, an unexpected large bill has to be paid. For others, it is a constant nagging worry. I was part of the latter group. It’s not as if I was spending beyond my income, that would be irresponsible. It’s more of each time we seemed to get ahead, something or someone threw a spanner in the works.
So what can we do about this money stress that keeps bringing us down. Affecting our health adversely. For some, perhaps looking at the underlying causes could help. Are you or your partner working in a low paying job? Is there any chance of changing to something that is higher paying? Do you need to undertake some form of training to get to a higher paying job? Where and how can you do this?
Have a good look at your expenses. Is there any way you can cut them down? For me, I stopped looking at WSO’s. That saved me a heap of money right there. I also canceled as many online and offline memberships as I could. I arranged for my health fund and cell phone plan payments to be direct debited each month.
Then we slowly paid off all outstanding accounts with businesses in town. No more nasty surprises at the beginning of each month. We now pay cash for everything. I’m paying off the bills for when I was hospitalized last year at $50/month and have paid one completely. One down, one to go. I’m so paying off my credit card debt for my surgery last year. That should be finished in another 18 or so months. Then I’ll start saving in earnest for something for our home. I’d absolutely love a swimming pool! Each month I try to put some money in the Christmas Club account. Even $25/month will help come Christmas.
If you’re still at where I used to be, you’re not alone. Remember, money stress is one of the most common stresses around. Sit down and look at your expenses, ongoing and outstanding, look at your income and work out a plan. One of the hardest things to do is talk to your creditors and ask to set up a payment plan. Most are happy to do this, if they know you are committed to paying the debt off. And it makes it so much easier for you.
Once you have that in place it’s just head down and butt up for as long as it takes. Forget the dinner at the restaurant once a month for now. You might deserve it but wait until you can afford it. Celebrate each milestone and achievement, but do it on a small scale, just for now. Cancel those magazine subscriptions and use your local library instead. Believe me, the feeling of satisfaction as each creditor is paid in full is wonderful.
I no longer think about money all the time. Or if I do, I think about how much I will be earning from my online work. I’ve turned it around so that money is a plus, not a minus in my life. We tackled the problem and worked out a solution which works for us. I’m sleeping better and my health is much improved. I’ve joined a choir so I socialize weekly. I’ve joined the gym and exercise at least 3 times each week. I have morning tea with friends on a monthly basis instead of hiding in my office worrying all the time.
Turn money stress into a positive for you. Think about how much you are going to have instead of worrying about how little you have. Remember, what you think about is what happens.