5 Tactics On How To Manage Financial Stress

Those familiar with financial stress may experience it at home, at work, or even while tossing and turning late at night. It’s an unsettling feeling that could rain on any parade, and we want to help. This article unveils 5 tactics on how to manage  financial stress – once and for all.

    1. Confront Your Emotions

    Financial stress tends to bring out feelings like fear, uneasiness, and the temptation to procrastinate. Will I have enough to cover this month’s bills? What happens if I lose my job? Am I able to support myself or my family? It’s just too much to handle!

    These feelings are unsettling and often precursor avoidance and analysis paralysis. By identifying and acknowledging what you’re feeling and why, you can create the best plan to address your financial stress directly and tackle it head-on.


    Concerns about paying bills, job security, and providing for your family can be overwhelming. Identify what you fear or what makes you uncomfortable, and then pinpoint what would alleviate this worry.

    Challenge any negative thoughts, practice self-compassion, and focus on the process – not just the outcome. Visualizing success during all steps is key before reaching a goal.


    Procrastination often comes as a secondary action to avoid the situation you feel uneasy about. Battling procrastination starts with facing your feelings, after which you should eliminate distractions and set aside some time for the following:

    • Create a clear plan (see tactic #3)
    • Visualize what you want, how you’ll feel when you get there, and the benefits you’ll experience
    • Start simple – don’t overcomplicate the plan or you may choose to abandon it altogether
    • Set hard deadlines
    • Reward yourself along the way – not just when you reach your goal

    2. Identify a Goal

    When trapped in a storm of financial stress, a clear goal will be a beacon to help you find a way out. Establishing a clear financial goal should address the unsettling feeling you uncovered in tactic #1.

    For example, if your fear is not having enough money to cover your bills in case of a job loss, a general goal to eliminate this fear would be building up a strong rainy-day fund. In most cases, building up savings or cutting expenses will be a viable offense against your financial stress.

    Make sure your goal is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (S.M.A.R.T). Below are some examples of S.M.A.R.T. financial goals to help you get the gist of it.

    • Save $5,000 within the next 12 months for a down payment on a new car by saving $417 each month, or $208.50 each bi-weekly pay period.
    • Pay $5,000 of credit card debt off within the next 8 months by setting up an automatic $313 payment every two weeks.

    Remember that the goal must be achievable depending on your financial circumstances. We’ll dive more into actually tackling these goals in tactic #4. What you can save will depend on your monthly budget (income and expenses).

    3. Understand Personal Finance

    The world of personal finance is intimidating to many and can seem like a labyrinth at first; the good news is that it gets easier to navigate over time, like the backroads you started taking to avoid that rush-hour traffic.

    Dedicate time to educate yourself about financial concepts like paying off debt, saving, and investing – AKA, increasing your financial literacy. Use books, podcasts, YouTube, blogs, advice from trusted individuals, and any other sources you come across. The more you know, the easier navigating and conquering your finances will be.

    Paying Down Debt

    There are many types of debts and approaches to handling them. A good place to start would be debt.org, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, and Dave Ramsey’s books or website.


    Apart from Dave Ramsey, you could also learn about saving from Investopedia, Smart About Money, and The Balance.


    There are countless books, articles, and resources to learn about investing. Morningstar, The Motley Fool, and anything recommended by Warren Buffet are great places to start.

    4. Make a Small Plan

    Once you’ve come up with a S.M.A.R.T. financial goal (or two), it’s easy to fall back into one of the unsettling feelings of fear or intimidation. One of the most important tactics to highlight is to take a step back when feeling this way and to only focus on the smallest step at hand.

    If your goal is to save thousands, you may look at your paycheck and feel defeated before you even start. Fear not! Every large plan begins with a small step, and this is what you must focus on and do to reach that bigger goal. Focus on what you can save and do today and work on that first.

    Break your goal down into weekly or daily steps. If you need to save $300 in one month, that’s roughly $10 per day. If you were eating out a few times a week, cutting that out may bring you to your goal by the end of the month. The same goes for if you can pick up an extra weekly shift. There are many different ways to reach the same goal – find the route that’s best for you and take it one day at a time.

    To do so, be sure your plan also incorporates the following:

    • A detailed budget: consider budgeting apps or a spreadsheet template to simplify the process
    • Accountability with your partner, relative, friend, or a professional
    • Tactic #5

    5. Be Consistent

    Without regular check-ins, your budget and financial plan will end up like that ugly sweater you were gifted on your birthday – useless and in the trashcan.

    Consistently monitor your progress daily or weekly and adapt as circumstances change.

    Have extra cash for one week? Push it towards your goals and get there faster.

    Run into an unexpected bill the next? Pay it and either make up the gap the following week or adjust your goal for that month alone. Adaptability is the key to long-term success in any environment.

    It’s time to take back control from the clutches of financial stress. Taming financial stress is no small feat, but armed with these tactics, you're equipped to welcome in a new chapter of financial confidence and peace. You’ve got this!

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