How to navigate financial stress
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
These three simple steps can help put you on the right track and minimise your feeling stressed and overwhelmed when it comes to your finances.
Sit down and breathe in and out. Try and make sure you have a clear mind (and remind yourself: “Don’t worry, soon I’ll be in control of my finances because I’m going to start a budget!”)
Step 1: Create a budget that works for you.
The first step for a budget is to create lists of what you spend your money on.
List One: Write down a list of your ‘mandatory’ spending. For example rent, mortgage repayments, car insurance, electricity bills, groceries, etc. Estimate how much you need to spend on each per week and calculate the total.
List Two: Create a second list for your ‘fun’ spending. For example: going out to dinner with friends, going to your favourite local bakery, seeing a movie with your friends. Estimate how much you need to spend on each per week and calculate the total.
List Three: Create a third list of things you want to save for. For example: save $50 per week for a house deposit or save $75 a week for an annual holiday with the kids. Estimate how much you need to spend on each per week and calculate the total.
Now you know what you need to spend (List One), what you have to spend (List Two) and what you want to save for (List Three).
With that in mind, write down your weekly income or salary. Minus the total of List One. What is leftover is what you have to spend on List Two and List Three. This will depend on your priorities. For example, you could move the $50 budget from going out with mates to saving for a holiday.
Total List One: $300
Restaurant/Eating out: $75
Buying weekly book: $20
Total List One: $95
Emergency amount: $100
Total List One: $150
My income is $700 per week (after-tax). After I subtract List One (my mandatories) from my income I have $400 leftover for List Two and List Three. Fortunately, the total amount of List Two and List Three is $245 which will fit within my salary, so I’ve decided I’d like to increase my holiday budget by an extra $50 so I can get away sooner.
Step 2: Make one financial goal over a 6 month period.Try to have more focus on your finances and what you hope to achieve. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Save for a holiday
- Make an investment each month (example: save $125 each week to buy $500 worth of shares each month)
- Save to start your own business
- Surprise a loved one with a big birthday surprise
If you use the budgeting example from Step 1, you can add a financial goal into List Two or List Three and make it part of your budget so it’s easier for you to plan for. Also, make sure you keep track of how it’s going and adjust as you need to. Once you’ve completed your financial goal, you’ll feel 100% in control of your finances. Don’t forget, it’s all in your power!
It might seem like the ‘trendy’ thing to do these days, but meditation is great and for good reason. Many studies suggest that meditation can reduce blood pressure as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Step 3: Meditate for 10 minutes every day.
You can start your meditation journey by dedicating just 10 minutes each day to destress and focus on your breathing. Gradually you’ll notice those financial woes are still there, but you can manage them much better. And there are so many resources online for you to tap into: apps, YouTube and websites!
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