NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Money and Stress

Money and Stress


Of the many emotions connected to money, stress is one that comes to the forefront. It can be very stressful when trying to save money, whether you are putting cash away for regular expenses, an emergency fund, vacation, retirement, or for any other big goal. There are many different reasons to stress about money.

A 2012 report by the American Psychological Association found that money, work, and the economy are the most reported causes of stress for Americans (and 75 percent said that money was a significant source of stress). All three categories are closely linked – you have to work to make money, and your job might be in jeopardy if the economy is down. Most people get stressed sometimes, but if you are feeling regularly stressed about money, it is time to make some changes.

First, determine what it is exactly that is making you stress about your finances. If you are drowning in debt, then your first priority should be to pay it off. If you are barely scraping by it will be difficult for you to pay down your debt. However, most people find that being debt free is very liberating, and it also frees up more money for other expenses. Start by creating a budget if you have never done so before, or by fixing a failing budget if you have one that is not working for you.

Determine all of your monthly expenses, and then see if you have room to pay down debt – if you don’t, you might need to cut back on some other expenses. Doing this can be helpful whether you are drowning in debt or simply living paycheck to paycheck. If you are seriously in debt, you also might want to consider talking to your creditors to see if you can figure out a payment plan.

If there is still in sufficient money to cover your bills, it might be time to look for a different job, add a second job, or even ask for a raise. Be aware though that more money will not fix your problem if you can’t stay on budget because of impulse buying or lack of organization.

If you feel stressed about money because you just have too much going on or are too busy to budget, this is a separate problem. Try penciling in a time each week to check on your spending. In addition, if you feel stressed because you have so many different accounts and bills that you have a hard time keeping trackwww.livestrong.comtrack of them or making payments on time, then budget some time to get organized.
          If you are regularly stressed about money, try doing something that will help you de-stress. If you like to work out, take time out of your day to get a good exercise session in. Or go for a walk outside, work on a craft, or talk to a friendwww.livestrong.comfriend. Make sure you make time for whatever helps keep you relaxed. Reward yourself regularly in other wayswww.livestrong.comother ways if necessary. This doesn’t mean you should go out and splurge when you are supposed to be carefully budgeting and saving money. Setting regular goals and rewarding yourself when you achieve them is a good waywww.livestrong.comgood way to stick to your goals.

Lastly, if you are doing all of the above and you are still extremely stressed, it might be time to talk to a counselor, or if it helps you feel like you are working toward your goals, consider hiring a financial planner. The money will be well spent if you are able to cut back your stress. When it comes to your money, you always have the power to make a difference, so recognize that choices exist for you to improve any financial problem. 

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