Millions of Americans carry the heavy burden of financial stress around with them every day. A recent found that:
Many people don’t know that by allowing themselves to become consumed by money worries, they’re putting other important aspects of their lives – such as their health and relationships – at risk.
Financial stress is understood as emotional tension that’s specifically related to money.
Anybody can suffer from financial stress, but it may occur more often in lower-income households.
The most common reasons people become financially stressed include the following:
When you don’t feel in control of your money, it can negatively affect every aspect of your life. Financial stress can manifest mental health issues as well as physical side effects. These can impact your relationships, career, and more.
Common physical symptoms of financial stress include headaches, indigestion, high blood pressure, insomnia, diabetes, and heart disease. Some people experience weight gain and difficulty burning fat.
When you’re constantly stressed, your body doesn’t have time to recover. As a result, your immune system becomes susceptible to illnesses such as colds and viruses. If you already suffer from a chronic medical condition, you may notice flare-ups of your symptoms.
In some people, prolonged financial stress can lead to mental health issues such as feelings of irritability or even aggression. Other people become withdrawn and isolate themselves from family and friends. People in debt tend to have higher rates of mental health issues like depression and anxiety than those who are debt-free.
Financial stress can also lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as overeating, using drugs, or abusing alcohol.
Here are ten ways you can start to overcome your financial stress:
The best way to start reducing your financial stress is by going after your debt. There are several ways to approach this. One strategy is to pay down your highest-interest debt first, then move on to the second highest, and so on.
Another approach is consolidating your credit cards and loans into one manageable monthly payment.
The next step is to gain control over your spending and live within your means. The only way to achieve this is to create a budget and stick to it. So, write down how much money you need to cover your essential expenses, such as rent, groceries, utilities, and transportation. Then, see how much money you have left over for savings and discretionary spending.
The good news is that plenty of free budgeting apps are available to help you set up your budget and track your progress.
Payactiv offers free 1:1 financial counseling in our app, available in the Apple App Store and Google Play if you need support or assistance with your finances.
One way to reduce financial stress related to overspending is to set limits on your debit and credit cards to avoid impulse purchases while you’re out shopping. Several banks allow you to lower your contactless spending limit or cap the amount you can spend in a single transaction.
Also, make a point of unsubscribing from email and text marketing and turning off notifications for any shopping apps you have. When you reduce the amount of advertising noise around you, you’ll feel less inclined to part ways with your hard-earned cash.
Set aside time before leaving for the grocery store to check your refrigerator and pantry and write down a detailed list of items you need. This will prevent you from impulse shopping or purchasing items that you don’t require.
Get into the habit of using coupons and join loyalty programs to maximize your discounts. With larger retailers like Walmart, Target, and Amazon, you’ll often enjoy additional savings if you download the store’s app. Also, consider switching to a cash-back credit card to benefit from additional savings on groceries – but be sure to pay off your credit card bill every month to avoid interest.
Most of us enjoy eating out from time to time, but restaurant meals generally work out pricier than cooking at home. However, if you still want to eat at restaurants, try to do so less often and order appetizers or split an entree with your partner. Skipping drinks and desserts will also stretch your budget.
Whenever your car, homeowners, renters, and life insurance policies come up for renewal, shop around and see if you can get a better rate. If you can, ask your current insurers if they’ll match it before you switch.
Also, find out if it’s possible to bundle certain policies – some insurers will offer you a discount if you have more than one policy with them. Similarly, many auto insurers include discounts for multiple cars and drivers with safe driving records.
In addition to reducing the amount of money going out, why not increase the amount coming in by starting a side hustle (such as babysitting or dog-walking) or taking on a second, part-time job?
By doing so, you’ll find it easier to cover your essential expenses, and you’ll build up your savings faster.
Investing in yourself can mean improving your career prospects and earning potential through further education or training programs.
It could also mean taking steps to improve your credit score or learning how to manage money more effectively by reading books or listening to podcasts.
You might think that financial stress and physical activity don’t go together, but the truth is that some fresh air, sunshine, and stretching your legs can have a positive impact on your emotional and physical well-being.
Exercising is a great way to clear your head, ease some of the tension you’re carrying around, and gain a fresh perspective on what you need to do to improve your finances.
When it comes to financial stress, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and there are resources available to assist you.
If your financial stress is taking a toll on your physical and mental well-being and you’re struggling to cope on your own, there’s no shame in asking for help from a doctor, mental health professional, or financial advisor.
Earned Wage Access (EWA) is a mechanism through which employees gain almost instant access to their wages. It’s a revolutionary departure from the traditional biweekly or monthly payroll model. EWA offers people timely and dignified access to liquidity – so a single mom can pay for daycare between paychecks, and a healthcare worker can cover an unexpected car expense.
It’s important to note that EWA programs differ from the practice of payday lending. The key difference is that with EWA, you’re collecting money you’ve already earned. It’s not a loan, and no interest charges or credit checks are involved.
Payactiv is a holistic financial wellness benefit that provides Earned Wage Access (EWA) to over a million workers every month. The Payactiv membership model comes at no cost to employers and a minor cost to you.
Your funds can be loaded onto a debit or prepaid card, transferred to your bank account, or even picked up as cash at Walmart. Or, use your earned wages to pay for Uber rides or Amazon purchases directly via an app on your Smartphone.
In addition, you can utilize the Payactiv bill pay service and automatic savings features and access financial counseling and other resources to help reduce your financial stress.
So, why not suggest that your employer check out our offering?
Read our blog for more financial tips and budgeting advice to help keep those financial worries at bay.
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