Research shows managing our money is one of the top stressors we face, and the current pandemic has not helped.
Financial stress can affect your sleep, zap your energy, and lead to other problems such as depression and anxiety, physical ailments and relationship issues.
You may find some of these tips helpful for coping with financial stress.
1. Physical and mental health tips
Keeping on top of the basics for a healthy mind and body also helps us manage financial stress. It can also help you think more clearly and therefore come up with workable solutions to financial problems rather than getting caught up in worry. Some tips:
- Eat a healthy balanced diet as much as you can.
- Do some daily exercise – even if it’s just a walk outside.
- Practice meditation or relaxation exercises to help reduce anxiety and insomnia.
- Take time to appreciate when things are going well.
2. Don’t be afraid to seek emotional support
It can be hard to talk about money woes as you may feel embarrassed or ashamed. Be reassured as you are not alone. Most of us have made some financial ‘mistakes’ at some point or are unsure how to manage our finances.
The important thing is to seek support from someone you trust and who will be non-judgemental. This could be a family member, a friend or a mental health professional.
3. Consider some financial advice or support
Seek out some low-cost or free financial advisory services. These include Centrelink’s Financial Information Service and Financial Counselling Australia. You may also be eligible for financial support you weren’t aware of through Centrelink.
If you are having difficulty paying your bills or making loan repayments, contact your provider or bank to ask about payment plans and flexibility with payments.
4. Be creative to save some money
- Cook more meals at home and freeze them in portions (e.g. healthy soups and casseroles).
- Use spreadsheets or other tools (e.g. Money Smart’s Budget Planner) to track your income and expenses and create a budget.
- Create your own fun – e.g. make a ‘home restaurant’ or have movie nights at home complete with popcorn.