When it comes to daily stress, financial worries usually top the list. Whether its overdue payments owed or taxes that need filed, financial stress is unfortunately something that can occur year-round. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Preparation and planning will help you get ahead of your finances and allow you to cross one more item off your list of stresses.
If you entered 2015 with the hope of alleviating financial stress, here are five tips to keep you on track:
- Create a budget. A budget is the best way to track your spending habits and recognize areas that can be cut from daily spending. It doesn’t mean that you have to give up all your little splurges at once, but take a good look at how much you’re spending and where it’s being spent. It may surprise you how quickly your daily coffee runs or lunches out with co-workers add up over a month’s time. A budget means that there are fewer surprises at the end of the month because you’ve planned ahead for where your money should be allocated.
- Be organized. Do you keep all your tax documents in a shoebox never to be looked at again until April rolls around? With the digital age, it’s easier to keep track of important documents online. There’s nothing more stressful than looking for missing information when the tax deadline is near. Keep everything organized in one place whether you decide to do that online or not.
- Start slow. It may seem overwhelming to tackle debt all at once, so start slow in the beginning when you’re putting everything in order. List all your debts and find areas in which you can consolidate under lower interest rates. Pay more than your minimum monthly payments to get rid of debt faster. If you have an influx of money from a bonus or monetary gift, apply that to pay down your debt. Keep track of your progress and set goals for yourself along the way.
- Use your resources. Sometimes it’s best to turn to a financial expert to help you alleviate stress. These individuals are qualified in the field to suggest the best possible solutions for your current financial state. If you owe taxes that you are unable to pay, there are tax resolution services that can help you with a payment plan and work as a liaison between you and the IRS. Research professionals in the financial industry and select one that can help with a solution that works for you. At the very least, this helps you explore your options during the times it might feel like you don’t have any.
- Start a savings account. Once you begin paying down your debt, apply a portion of each paycheck to your savings account. Building your savings can help for future emergency expenses like when your car breaks down or if you need to make a larger, immediate payment. If you are saving towards a goal like buying a house or going on a trip, think about creating a separate account specifically for that.
It’s all too easy to feel unsettled when it comes to money, but directly facing your financial issues head-on can help alleviate stress for the future. By following these tips, it will help you feel less out-of-control, which is most likely the source of the anxiety in the first place. Make this your year to get your finances on track and eliminate it as a source of stress in your life.