Curb your financial anxiety

Chances are, you don’t need a checklist to tell if you’re anxious about your finances. It’s important to face those anxieties and get back on track with your finances so you can start feeling relief.

How to relieve your financial anxiety

According to the American Psychological Association, money is consistently the number one significant source of stress. 22% of adults report feeling “extreme stress about money”, and 26% feel stressed all or most of the time. If you're experiencing anxiety or stress about your finances, simple changes could help a lot.


We bring up household budgets a lot, and with good reason: Budgets are the foundation of good finances. Budgets can also provide a measure of relief for those of you with anxiety caused by financial stress. A good budget can help you keep track of what you’re spending, when you’re spending it, and where you can afford to make reductions if money gets tight. Try and be as specific as possible while you’re planning how much you’ll need for food, gas, and other flexible expenses, and don’t forget any of your fixed expenses such as your rent or mortgage.

Automated Payments

In our article on financial stress and depression, (LINK) we talked about the benefits of automatic payments to alleviate stress. Maybe this is right for you? Automated payments can take the stress out of making the payment yourself and eliminate the fear that comes from wondering whether you’ve missed one. However, if you’re prone to ignoring your bank account we would advise against this, since you could incur significant overdraft fees anytime your account has insufficient funds.

If you decide to enroll, mark all of your bill due-dates on a calendar at the beginning of each month so that you know what to expect. If you find there are too many bills due around the same time of the month, call and ask if you can rearrange your pay dates. Companies will not always agree to this, but it won’t hurt to ask.

Tell Someone You Know

Talk to your friends, family, or your spouse about what’s going on in your financial life. Tell them what’s causing you stress, and let them know how it is making you feel. You need a support system, especially if you’re going to start tackling whatever is fueling your anxiety. They may be able to offer you a unique perspective on your problems or know of solutions that you’ve overlooked. Reaching out and connecting will help you feel less alone, and it could be very calming.

Talk to a Professional

It’s always reassuring to hear a professional tell you that you’re on the right track. Try finding a non-profit, debt management company to talk to. It can be a simple phone call, or you can search for a local office where you can meet face-to-face with a counselor to talk about your possible next steps. These professionals will help you create a budget that works for you, and they can guide you in the right direction over a range of related topics. They work with situations like yours every day, and you never have to feel ashamed when contacting a professional. Their counseling is always judgement free.

Let Go

Speaking of shame, you’ve got to let it go. Don’t let your fear of feeling embarrassed hold you back from being proactive. Identify what your problem area is and confront it. Once you start taking the right steps, you’ll feel better and you’ll be closer to moving on. Whatever happened, put it in the past. The best way to finding a solution is taking a deep breath, trusting yourself again, and pushing forward!

Learn From Mistakes

Take active steps to learn from the mistakes that cause you stress. If you’re an impulse shopper, delete those shopping apps from your phone. Being connected 24-7 to a limitless array of products might not be the best situation for your finances or your mental health. Do you try and save money, but at the end of the week you’re not sure where it goes? Go over your budget with a fine-toothed comb. If you’re over- or under-estimating how much you’re spending on food, save your receipts for a month, and see what your weekly average is. Identify where you can make cuts, or consider pricing your staple products from cheaper stores. If paying down your debt is impacting the amount of money you have left each month, research your options by working with a non-profit debt management company, consider negotiating your interest rates on your own, or reassess which debts you should pay off first.

At the end of the day, you need to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself and that your basic needs are being met. Many people are prone to ignoring problems that make them too anxious. This doesn’t make financial problems disappear! The longer they go unaddressed, the more problematic they can become. So, if you’re feeling anxious about your finances, the best time to face those issues is right now!