How to manage financial stress

They say money can’t buy happiness. This is especially true when you consider the side effects of financial stress.

Here are a few tips to help you turn financial stress into financial well-being and infuse some order into your spending habits.

What is financial stress?

Financial stress is much more than worrying about your unpaid credit card balance. It often includes:

  • Problems staying within your budget
  • Rising debt
  • Living paycheque to paycheque, with no flexibility
  • Being unable to save, whether for short-term projects or for retirement
  • Inability to take on unexpected expenses
  • A decrease in income due to a disability

The impacts of financial stress

Almost all aspects of your life can be impacted by financial stress:

  • Couple or family life
  • Relationships with friends and colleagues
  • Your work, including your production levels
  • Sleep
  • Overall health
  • Appetite

Financial stress by the numbers

According to the National Payroll Institute (NPI), worrying over money is a significant cause for stress:

  • 48% of Canadians confirm they suffer from insomnia caused by money woes.
  • 44% admit they would have trouble managing their budget if their paycheque was deposited late.

Don’t let financial stress take a toll on your physical or mental health. If you feel it’s impacting your daily life, consult a healthcare professional and take action to improve your financial situation. Every little bit helps!

Is your work impacted?

Financial stress can follow you to the office. Lack of concentration, distractions, absenteeism and even an increase in work accidents...these are just a few examples of how financial stress can wreak havoc on your professional life.

An NPI survey revealed that employees in this country spend approximately 40 minutes a day at work thinking about their finances.

Time spent checking their credit card balance or talking to a bank employee means an 8% decrease in daily production.

Time is money is another expression we often hear. For a company of 200 employees, financial stress adds up to approximately $200,000 in lost productivity.

Plan your budget

It’s the most important step of this process. It allows you to see exactly where the money is coming from and where it’s going.

Take all the time you need to list all your expenses and make sure you don’t omit anything.

Separate worthwhile from unnecessary expenses

You can’t eliminate every expense! So focus on investments that will pay off in the long run, such as:

  • Purchase of a property
  • Savings
  • Launching your business
  • Education

Make changes in other areas instead to cut down on excessive spending. Access to credit and your spending habits could be contributing to your debts. Be disciplined and resist temptation.

Make changes

Have all your budget numbers at hand to assess where you should make cuts.

It’s easier to adjust your expenses than increase your income. Grab the bull by the horns and start reducing some budget item expenses.

Start by sharpening your negotiation skills to get better prices for things such as your cell phone package or your next car.

The easiest way? Cut “small” expenses that add up like eating in restaurants or your daily latte.

Seek professional help

If you can’t seem to right the ship even after trimming your expenses, it’s time to turn to the experts: financial security advisors.

Before putting together a personalized plan for you, they will examine all your finances:

In addition to getting a picture of your financial situation, they will propose steps you can take based on your reality and needs.

To restore order to your budget...for free

Still having trouble making ends meet? There are provincial agencies like the Associations coopératives d’économie familiale (ACEF), that can help you with your budget.

Their services are provided free of charge.

Before declaring bankruptcy

Need help developing a strategy for paying off your many debts? This is where an insolvency trustee can be of service.

These professionals get an overview of your financial situation. They find solutions to manage your debts, such as negotiating with your creditors.

Remember that just because you decide to deal with an insolvency trustee, it doesn’t mean you’re considering declaring bankruptcy or making a consumer proposal. But the sooner you act, the more likely you are to avoid doing so.

Now you know what to do to leave your financial woes behind and avoid daily stress. You’re on your way toward financial well-being!