If thinking about your finances leaves you feeling stressed out, you’re far from alone—according to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, 72% of Americans reported feeling stressed about money at least once in the last month.
That’s not only bad news for your financial health but your overall health and well-being. Psychological stress can lead to physical problems, such as headaches and stomach aches, as well as mental health issues, such as anxiety, trouble sleeping.
But the good news? Financial stress is something you can get under control. Here are two powerful secret weapons to reduce your money worries and put you on a path to financial well-being.
1. Make a budget.
For many, sitting down to create a budget brings up feelings of overwhelm. Some of these barriers keep people from creating a budget:
- If money is a source of worry, you may be tempted to avoid it entirely, sweep things under the rug, and hope for the best.
- You may feel as if you don’t earn enough money anyway, so why bother making a budget.
- Not knowing how to get started or which tools to use.
Fortunately, there are many ways to make a budget that works. What’s most important is finding a system that works for you.
Before you worry about apps and spreadsheets, simply sitting down and tracking your monthly expenditures for the last month (or more, if you have time) will give you insight into your income and expenses. This free budget worksheet will get you started.
Once you have a clear picture of your income and spending, there are numerous free apps that can help you create and stick to a budget, such as mint.com or youneedabudget.com. If apps aren’t your thing, a simple envelope system of budgeting works well for many. Designate a set amount of cash for each of your budget categories (such as rent or food), allocate that money to separate envelopes, and spend from those envelopes until the end of the month.
2. Get support.
Social support is a vital resource for coping with stress, and a key in maintaining well-being. When dealing with money worries, getting support can be a crucial ingredient in reducing stress and successfully getting your money under control. Where can you find support?
- Look for an online budgeting or financial health group where you can chat with members, stay informed, and help each other be accountable.
- Join or create a financial health group in your neighborhood, community center, or religious organization. Simply sharing encouragement, knowledge, and accountability can improve the likelihood of success and reduce stress.
Set up a meeting with a personal banker or financial planner. At Citizens Bank, our banking professionals can guide you with financial priorities, creating savings plans, and finding the best banking products to help you rest easy and reach financial peace more quickly. Contact one of Citizens Bank’s community-minded bankers today!