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8 simple ways to reduce financial stress and build sustainable spending habits

·5-min read
Easy ways to reduce your financial stress. Source: Getty
Easy ways to reduce your financial stress. Source: Getty

Financial well-being is a critical part of our mental and physical health, and yet, so many of us are afraid to talk about our relationship with money. The cultural conversation around financial stressors can seem negative and judgmental, but when we’re honest with each other about the small changes that have helped us build sustainable habits, reduce our stress, and set ourselves up for financial security, we open up the conversation and help each other improve.

Thrive asked its community to share with their go-to tips for reframing their mindset around money and alleviating financial stress. Which of these tips will you try?

1. Shift the language you use around money

“I used to say things like, ‘I’m not good with money’ or ‘I don’t really understand financial stuff.’ When I began to realize the power of my words and how they started to affect my outcomes, I decided to form a new alliance, taking total responsibility for my finances. I changed my language to, ‘I can have a healthy, responsible and enjoyable relationship with money.’ This small change led me to embrace new tools and systems to support my understanding of how best to partner with money. I stopped being afraid of my finances and was able to see money as an important relationship that needs my nurturing and attention just as much as other relationships.”

—Sara Loos, transformation coach, Pacific Grove, CA

2. Write down your spending non-negotiables

“For quite some time, I was avoiding dealing with financial issues out of fear of not understanding them properly. I had a subconscious belief that they were generally complex and confusing. Earlier this year, I set the intention to learn how to best handle money and monetary decisions. One tip that helped was to decide on the non-negotiable items I wanted to spend on, according to my personal values. For me, that was healthy, wholesome food for my family, instead of cheap and filling junk food. We cannot manage anything that we aren’t aware of whether that is our food, our health, our relationships or our finances.”

—Ioanna Vasilatou, life and wellness coach, Mallorca, Spain

3. View your credit as cash

“The one tip to reduce financial stress is to view your credit as cash. Almost all of us have thought that we can afford something expensive if we put it on credit. I learned that that mindset often leads me down a slippery slope, so I had to change my mindset. Once I began treating everything like I was buying it with cash, I stopped spending like there were unlimited tomorrows to pay it off. Now, I think realistically and budget before making a big purchase. My financial future became less stressful and enjoyable knowing that I have no credit debt and that I can save more. It’s definitely lowered my financial stress.”

—Scott Miller, marketing director, Wilmington, DE

4. Consult an expert

“I hired a financial planner three years into the start of my corporate career and he helped me think about money from a new perspective. It was not about earning more or reducing my expenses to an unhappy level, but rather, we focused on creating new money habits and moving beyond limiting money beliefs. That decision twelve years back has helped me tremendously in hindsight. I moved from working for a company to working for myself and spending more time on hobbies and the important people in my life.”

—Anitha Balaraj, executive coach, Chennai, India

5. Treat your savings account as an expense

“I was lucky to learn this habit as a young adult, but anyone at any age can start. If you have a percentage or dollar goal in mind for monthly savings, have it auto withdrawal into a ‘difficult’ accessing bank and treat it as an expense. This one tip has saved me so much stress and has helped me organize my savings.”

—Amanda, virtual production, Memphis, TN

6. Identify your limiting beliefs

“In the past 12 months, the number one thing that’s helped me feel less stressed about money is getting real with myself about the limiting money mindsets I was raised with. I read the book, You Are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero, and then read several other books she recommended. Now, not only am I earning more than double what I was earning this time last year, but I’ve even bought a new house and have an opportunity to increase my monthly earnings even more next month. Mindset work is the key.”

—Celeste Orr, personal development coach, Mount Desert, ME

7. Talk to someone about your stressors

“One thing that I find helps reduce financial stress is to talk to someone about your financial situation. Personal finances remains somewhat of a taboo topic in society, but if you open up with someone you trust, you will find others open up as well, and then you quickly learn that your situation and the things that worry you are not very different from others’. Talking about it alone can drastically reduce stress, and of course, open you up to different ideas and perspectives that can lead to a healthier financial future.”

—Jon Vassallo, vp and general manager, Toronto, ON

8. Reflect on your bigger purchases

“If you notice that If you’re spending more than you’d like, take a look at what specifically you’ve been buying over the last several months. Notice the big-ticket items and repeated purchases from a certain category. What are the emotional and psychological benefits that you’re getting from these things? Some examples could be fulfillment, happiness or connection. Then, consider some alternative lower-cost or no-cost ways in which you can give yourself this same boost.”

—Denise Csaky, certified professional coach and founder of The Firefly Moment, Carlsbad, CA

Article originally published on Thrive Global.

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