A lot. That’s how many.
Last year 64% of millennials said they felt stressed about their finances!*
Financial stress impacts us more than any other stress factor. More than our family, more than our health, more than our job, we stress about money the most.
This isn’t too surprising.
Money is at the center of everything we do. Without money, we can’t survive. In the past, it was possible to get by without money. You could barter, trade, do it yourself. But in the 21st century that’s not realistic. Are you going to build your own smart phone? Everyone needs money.
Because everyone needs money, everyone is also at risk of feeling financial stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are five ways to reduce your financial stress.
Track Your Expenses:
Seems simple enough. Just tracking your expenses can help you feel better about your money.
Spending money doesn’t have to feel like and endless black hole. Start tracking everything you spend. Use an app like Mint or YNAB or do it the old-fashioned way and write down every transaction.
Soon you’ll start to understand your money better. You’ll know exactly where your money goes.
Make A Budget:
After you know where you’re spending your money its time to manage how much you spend. Budgeting helps you manage how much you spend each month. Look at your spending and start to prioritize.
Not all spending is created equal. Some things are worth more to you than others. Cut the things that matter least. Keep cutting until your spending is less than your income.
Balancing your income and spending will feel good. Spending less than you earn is a great way to reduce financial stress.
It’s not all puppies and sunshine though, expect it to be difficult at first. You might even fail the first couple times you try to budget. Just keep trying. Stick to your budget for at least 30-60 days to build a habit. After that your new level of spending will feel more natural.
Create an Emergency Fund:
Once you’re in the budgeting routine start to build an emergency fund. Start by setting aside 1-3 months of expenses. Put a little bit aside each month until you hit your goal. Put aside 5% of your income at the beginning and then increase that by one percent every few months. Generally you should be saving 15% or more of your income. Start by putting that into an emergency fund.
Emergency funds help protect you when shit happens. And it happens. It could be a job loss, unexpected car repair. An injury. Who knows what could happen.
Having at least 1-3 months of expenses in an emergency fund will help you worry less about the unknown.
(Don’t stop at 3 months, 1-3 months is the minimum, build your emergency fund to 6-12 months over time)
Create A Bare Bones Budget:
Prepare for the worst-case scenario by creating a bare bones budget now. Preparing for the worst helps you worry less about the unexpected and helps decrease your stress.
Look at your budget and cut everything that you possibly can. What is the absolute minimum you could survive on in the worst-case scenario?
Consider even drastic options like moving in with a friend/relative/parents, selling your car and taking transit, ditching the cell phone plan and go pay-as-you go, cutting out all discretionary spending. What is the bare minimum you need?
It wouldn’t be fun, but a bare bones budget helps you prepare mentally for the worst-case scenario. Just the fact that you have a plan for the worst-case will help you feel better about your finances now.
Make a Debt Repayment Plan:
Debt is stressful. It’s constantly hanging over your head. Nagging you with interest charges and minimum payments. It can feel endless.
Getting out of debt can make a huge difference in your stress levels. Even having a plan can help.
Paying off debt makes you more flexible financially. Having no debt decreases your monthly outgoing cash flow and increases your capacity to save. No more worries about minimum payments or calls from creditors.
Use our loan calculator to create your own debt payment plan and feel better about your finances.
Founder of PlanEasy Inc.
An avid traveler, father and personal finance expert. Owen's goal is to make financial planning easy. He believes that objective and straightforward financial planning is something that every Canadian should have access to. Find out why.