Are your money problems keeping you up at night? The constant worry about paying your bills, saving to put kids through college and wondering if you’ll have enough money when you retire will drive anyone crazy. Just know that you are not alone if you are stressing about money. We all go through it! Here are some ways that you can ease your mind when it comes to money.
7 Easy Ways To Stop Worrying About Money Problems
1. Know You Starting Point
The first step you need to take is to assess all of your finances. I know it’s scary but this is the only way that you will truly know how much you owe and what you can afford. Sit down with your spouse and gather all of your bills, take a look at your bank accounts, credit cards, mortgage and any other loans you may have.
For each bill or loan, write down the minimum payment. Feel free to use this free Monthly Budget Workbook printable while you do this. I have to say the first time I completed this step, I was a bit shocked at the final tally. It was a BIG number but I felt a lot better knowing exactly where I stood.
It’s also a good idea to track your variable expenses e.g. groceries and entertainment for at least one month before you move onto the next step. While these numbers fluctuate from month to month, it will still help you to get a more complete picture of your finances. The Monthly Budget Worksheet contains a page where you can track your expenses and you can print as many copies as you need.
For this step, you need to be honest! It can sometimes be the case that one half of a couple is spending way more than they are willing to admit and this may be the cause of your money problems.
2. Set Your Budget
Now that you know what you spend your money on and how much, it’s time to design a budget for yourself. A budget is never fun and can seem a bit overwhelming when you are first creating one but it will help you in the long run.
Is there any way to reduce your monthly payments? Call up your bank, service providers and insurance companies to see what can be done. Try bundling services where you can e.g. phone, internet and cable packages. Maybe you can get rid of cable altogether and watch shows on Netflix or online. However you go about it, cutting expenses is always a good thing when you have money problems.
3. Curb Your Spending
Your budget is set and you know exactly where your money needs to go each month. There are still those variable costs that you have to watch out for. Overspending in these areas can really break your budget.
Eating out is my weakness so what I have started doing to curb this is using the Envelope Method. Each month, I place an allotted amount of money in an envelope and anytime I purchase meals, the money comes from this fund. This is great because I have a visual reminder of how much I have left to spend. Once the money is gone, it’s gone. I can only replenish the envelope the following month.
4. Get Out Of Debt
Debt. That four letter word can send shivers down anyone’s spine. It can be tough to dig your way out from debt but not impossible.
Dave Ramsey, a popular personal money management expert, recommends saving $1000 to avoid going into further debt when an emergency occurs. For instance, if your car needs repairs, pay for them with your emergency fund rather than using your credit card.
Once you have your emergency fund in place, try using the debt snowball method to pay off your bills and loans. This method allows you to pay off your smallest debt first and then move on to the next smallest one until they are all paid. It helps you to stay motivated because you are seeing progress in your goal to get out of debt and ultimately stop worrying about money problems.
5. Get Creative
You have a goal and a plan. Now the hard part is sticking to it. There will be a lot of temptation but think about things before you give in and remember what’s important to you. Will buying that iced coffee with whipped cream and caramel help solve your money problems? No. Indulging a little too much is usually what gets us into trouble in the first place.
You need to find creative means of entertainment and more economical meal plans. Teach your kids about the difference between what they want and what they need. Let your friends know that you are cutting back and suggest staying in and having movie night at home or going to free community events instead of expensive nights out.
6. Patience Is A Virtue
Yes, I know it’s a cliché thing to say but in this instance, it’s true. I am not a patient person and I like things to happen right now. Unfortunately, we can’t snap our fingers and solve our money problems overnight. It will take time.
7. Don’t Do It Alone, Get Help
If you are truly on the brink of financial devastation e.g. creditors are calling and you are about to lose your home, it is time to get expert advice. Seek help from financial advisors at credit unions who may help members free of charge. They can work with you to get your finances sorted out.
Again, you need to be honest with yourself and your spouse. If you have a spending habit that you are finding difficult to curb, you may need professional help with this.
Money problems are frustrating but they are manageable. Try these seven steps to work through them and be on your way to sleeping like a baby at night knowing you have a solid plan in place.