The run up to Christmas can be stressful time financially with expectations of gifts and social events returning to normality so we thought this week we’d share our top tips on how to manage your finances whilst protecting your mental health. It seems obvious that constantly thinking about money and looking at our bank accounts has a huge impact on our mental health, but the vicious cycle of financial stress can also stop us from earning as we should, so what practices can we implement to reduce stress levels and protect your mental health.
- Talk openly about money and share struggles – discussing money with friends and family is still a taboo subject with many not wanting to share money problems or worries with the people close to them. There seems to be a guilty cloud that hangs over you when you don’t buy something or attend an event due to not having enough money – it’s almost embarrassing but talking about money openly with friends and family can help prevent situations that may make you feel uncomfortable. In turn, sharing money worries can help you avoid getting into debt that can cause further stress.
- Educate yourself in finance – whilst we’re not telling you to enrol yourself on an accountancy diploma, understanding the basics of finance can help alleviate stress and uncertainty around money. If you have a pension or stocks and shares, understanding things like index value, financial freedom and interest rates will help you set clear goals for your finance.
- Use tools such as a budget planner – there are many apps that can help you budget our finances, but the good old spreadsheet is also a great way of keeping track of expenses over the month. Understanding what financial commitments, you have (such as rent, mortgage, bills, internet, subscriptions) will help define what spare money you have. This spare money can be allocated to a budget and will mean you are less likely to land up in debt by keeping track of your finances.
- You’re not alone but everyone’s circumstances are different – this one is key to keeping our mental wellbeing intact. There aren’t many periods in our lives that our financial situation is the same as those close to us, everyone is different. This may depend on where and how they live (at home with parents, mortgage, rented accommodation), how much they earn and how much they spend. Don’t feel the need to keep up with those around you with social events if you can’t and find ways to spend quality time with them that doesn’t cost a lot of money, such a walk and coffee rather than a full lunch date.
- There’s always help on hand – if you find yourself in debt or the thought of managing your money is causing you a lot of stress, then there’s always help on hand. Organisations such a Mind, Money Helper and the Red Cross all offer help with managing and sorting finance matters.
Life is busy, so making sure you keep your finances in check will also help you keep your mental health in good shape too. If you are feeling the effects of stress due to financial matters or you would like to provide some financial training to your team, feel free to contact us today.