Reducing stress and taking action to create the financial future you deserve is the best way to an overall healthier and happier life. Financial stress affects more than your wallet: It can have a ripple effect on your health and interpersonal relationships. In no other process can your thoughts alter our bodily functions so suddenly and so powerfully.

Read on to find tips for managing the family finances that can help you reduce some financial stress in the long run. They are simple, but sometimes applying the simplest changes to your lifestyle can make a large and positive difference to your financial situation.

Create a Budget

This may sound simple but creating a budget is important as it gives you a feeling of confidence in your personal financial strategy, which can help you dramatically lower your financial stress level. Budgeting is not rocket science. In the simplest terms, you put your income at the top of the page, and from that number, you deduct your expenses. The amount left over is what you can spend on other things, such as reducing debt and increasing savings.

Changing your attitude and setting your goals can help eliminate the feeling of sacrifice that may come along with sticking to a budget. Having an advisor or someone you can talk to about finances will help when you have questions or concerns. When budgeting it is important to work within the confines of your income to meet your financial goals.

Many studies have revealed the link between finances and stress. Stress can become such a problem that it actually prevents us from getting out of our own way and taking charge of our finances. The above tips are helpful in turning our mindset around and taking the necessary steps to improve our financial situation, reducing financial stress.

Know your numbers

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. To put in place point 1, you need to know what you’re actually spending. Very few people can confidently state how much they are spending on groceries, bills or discretionary items. Use a spreadsheet or one of the many online budget/money trackers to start measuring your outgoings. Try it for a month to get a handle on what you’re spending. You may be surprised at the results!

Think About It

Before making a big-ticket purchase, think about it thoroughly. It is wise to give yourself time and space to think. People are often inclined to spend more when they are emotional. Removing the emotion and thinking with a clear head gives you a chance to consider whether you really need the item you are purchasing. So, next time you are about to buy that new car, expensive dress or lounge suite – take a night to sleep on it!

Live your means

If the only way you can purchase an item is using a credit card, then that’s probably a good sign that you can’t afford it. That is just a way to delay the pain. Go the old-fashioned route and wait until you have saved the required amount to make the purchase.

Financial Cheating

Avoid financial infidelity. The ‘don't-ask-don't-tell’ principle is not a good approach to follow when it comes to spending money and handling your family finances. Keeping your husband in the dark about that pricey pair of shoes or not telling your wife about the secret stash set aside for the weekend away with the boys is probably not the best way to foster trust in a relationship.

Relieve Stress

When stress is unavoidable in our lives, it is important that we take the time to de-stress. From breathing exercises to getting some fresh air. When you are able to de-stress you give yourself back the energy that your body burns on stress. Even if you take 5 minutes in your car before you head into the house to relax and leave your stress at the door, you walk in with a little more “you” for your family.

Get Rid of Debt

While debt elimination, retirement, and emergency savings are all essential to eliminating financial stress, getting rid of debt should be your number one priority. The only solution is to pay it off as quickly as possible.

Practice Gratitude

When money is tight it is really easy to focus on what we don’t have. However, there is always something to be grateful for: health, family, or even a sunny day. When you focus on what you are thankful for, it naturally turns your thoughts positive. Having a positive outlook helps us cope with setbacks and appreciate achievements.

Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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