How to cope with money stress

Financial stress, whether it’s the result of redundancy, debt, unexpected expenses or savings gaps, is no fun.

What’s the best way to manage money-related stress and get yourself back on track?

It’s normal to feel stress sometimes. Stress can help us to focus our minds, but it can also be debilitating and unhealthy. If your financial situation is causing you serious stress it’s important to share your concerns and not simply keep them to yourself.

Money is a slightly taboo subject, with many feeling awkward about discussing their financial successes or failures. It can be a source of shame and embarrassment.

Talk to someone

If you’re wondering how to stop worrying about money, talking could really help. Talking finance with your family should be part of the dynamic of every household. It doesn’t necessarily mean asking your family for financial help, although they may offer this if they can. It’s more about making them aware that you’re struggling. This stops you from suffering in silence and can give you valuable emotional support.

Sometimes talking about a problem can put it in perspective and make it feel more manageable, rather than keeping all your anxiety inside your own head where it can become magnified. Never feel ashamed talking about your problems. Your family might be able to offer a new perspective on what you could do differently to get your financial issue under control.

Get advice

There are some organisations out there who can give you free advice on how to deal with the stress of money worries and get into a better financial position.

You may want advice on:

  • Managing debt
  • Dealing with creditors
  • Budgeting
  • Housing rights
  • Financial help you may be entitled to

Organisations who can help include:

Sometimes a financial problem has its roots somewhere else – for example, mental health issues can lead to overspending, and gambling problems often go hand in hand with financial stress, for obvious reasons. If you’re facing a serious problem like this, you need the right kind of professional help. Visit your GP who can signpost you towards organisations that could help you.

You can also find support in online forums where you can talk openly while staying anonymous. MoneySavingExpert.com has a wide range of busy forums where you can find support and information on specific financial issues, but remember that advice from strangers on the internet should always be taken with a large pinch of salt. For practical advice rather than just emotional support, you are better off turning to the experts.

Make a plan and stick to it

Some financial problems are easier to solve than others. Perhaps your household has a reasonable income, yet you’re somehow still struggling to meet priority bills. This could be improved by better budgeting so you can really see where your money is going each month.

Keeping track of all your spending for a month or two can be a real eye opener – maybe something as simple as meal planning could reduce your outgoings enough to let you get on top of your bills.

If you’re trying to reduce debt, you could draw up a plan of action using this ‘snowball calculator’. By putting in the size of each debt and its interest rate, it suggests in what order you could tackle each one to get them paid off fastest while paying the least in interest payments.

Making a plan to overcome your financial problem can be really empowering and make you feel more in control. Don’t ignore those red-lettered envelopes, open your statements and find out the real situation, even if it’s hard. Once you’ve got a plan, the challenge is to stay disciplined and stick to your plan.

Again, get your family’s support to help you stay motivated.

Note: We take care to ensure Talking Finance content is accurate at the time of publication. Individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions.