How often do you worry about money? Once a week? Once a day? All of the time? At one time in my life I was so stressed about money (specifically, how much I owed and how little I made), that I couldn’t focus on anything else. It had to stop. Worrying about money isn’t only a waste of time, it’s unhealthy, because as you worry, you put unnecessary stress on yourself. So if money worries are keeping you up nights or interfering with your life, read these tips and stop worrying about money!
- Take action. First, you have to realize that worrying about money (by itself) will not change anything. My dad doled out plenty of advice when I was growing up (as good dads do), but one pointer that I frequently appreciate is “don’t worry about things you can’t change”. Conversely, if you can change something to quell your worries, then do it! Take action! Spend less. Make a budget. Start looking for a second or higher-paying job. There’s no time like now. If there’s nothing you can do, then why are you worrying?
So if you’re consistently worried about debts or not having enough cash each month, ask yourself: “What can I do spend less and save and pay down debt faster?” Then do those things. If, however, you’re worrying about whether your company will make job cuts or your 401(k) is losing value, there’s probably little you can do to stop it. The sooner you remind yourself that, the sooner you can start worrying less.
- Schedule time to deal with your finances. One of the best ways to get money off your mind is to set aside specific blocks of time to balance your checkbook, budget, and pay bills. I recommend looking over your spending once a week, and paying bills once a month.
You may have to pay bills more often than that if you don’t have enough in your checking account to pay a full month at once, but getting to that point will help you worry less, too. (See the next tip!) If you master handling finances at set times but still worry about money during the course of the day, just make a note of your concerns and agree with yourself to address them at your next scheduled finance time.
- Get a month ahead of your bills. I would guess that one of the most common money worries that pops up is “OMG, did I forget to pay that bill?” If you can pay your bills once a month every month, you’ll never have that problem. For example, if you pay every bill on the 1st of every month (even if some are due at the end of the month), you can guarantee yourself you’ll never miss a payment.
To do this, you’ll need to have enough in your checking account to pay those bills at once and have cash left over for other expenses. I know this isn’t easy if you’re just getting a hold of your personal finances, but I can speak from experience that getting a month ahead is extremely gratifying. Do this and you’ll find yourself worrying less automatically.
- Simplify your finances. The more complicated your finances get, the more you have to keep track of, and consequently, the more things there are to worry about. If you have multiple bank accounts and credit cards specifically to help you organize your finances, that’s fine. If not, pare the accounts you use down to one checking account, one savings account, and one credit card. That way, you’ll only have three accounts to keep track of and—hopefully—much less to worry about.
What about you? Do you have any other tips that help you stop worrying about money? What are they?