Do you suffer from financial insecurity? Do money worries keep you up at night?
Today, Mark from BareBudgetGuy is sharing his thoughts on how to cope with money worries when you’re feeling financially insecure.
Even though I’ve always been frugal, for the most part, I’ve been financially content. Somewhere along the way, though, my financial stress level increased. I think it happened sometime between being 23 and single and being 28 and married with 3 kids.
There were times when it got bad. I would have mini financial breakdowns and fret about not having enough money or that we were spending too much. Ultimately, my wife would have to give me some tough love and snap me out of it. She finally told me that she thought I had some kind of financial insecurity.
If you think you might be financially insecure, ask yourself these questions.
Do I always feel like I don’t make enough money?
If the answer is yes, congratulations! You must be human! Your financial state of mind only comes into question when you find yourself worrying about it constantly despite having most of your needs and wants met. Or perhaps you continue to feel this way even after making more money or getting a raise.
I had a recent conversation with my dad (who’s done all right for himself) about this very thing. I told him that if I only made a certain amount more each year, I’d be able to relax. I expressed that I felt like what I made just wasn’t enough.
His response was that “it never is.” It’s interesting to know that people who you think seem to have it all likely feel the same type of financial restlessness and worries about money as you do.
Do I always feel like I spend too much or that I shouldn’t be spending?
On the other hand, you might be more cost focused. If that’s the case, it’s possible that you freak out at some point during the month when you realize that life is costing you too much money. You swear you’ll cut back, but it never quite seems like enough.
10 Tips for Dealing With Financial Insecurity
Experiencing either of these feelings individually or together doesn’t mean you have a problem. It just means you’re normal. But if it becomes so distracting that it negatively affects your work or family life, it is time to chill out a little bit and try some of the below suggestions that are working for me.
1. Find examples of people who are doing it right
The reason I like Money Can Buy Me Happiness so much is because Emma and her family make stuff happen! She admits they are not even close to wealthy, and yet they still manage to enjoy life, travel and visit family from New Zealand all the way to Ireland. If they were excessive financial worriers they would not be pursuing that lifestyle.
And if they can do that, why can’t we?
2. Imagine the worst case scenario
I’m a big fan of doing a worst-case scenario analysis. Whenever I feel my heart starting to beat faster due to financial stress, I try to think of the worst thing that could realistically happen. It’s usually not that bad. If I lost my job, guess what? I’d find another job. If I died, my wife would become a millionaire. It’s usually not as bad as we think.
3. Do a wife (or husband) swap
My wife mainly stays home with our 3 kids. She plans to have a delayed career after the kids are gone, which is something that excites her, but right now she feels stronger about homeschooling our kids. When they are finally out of the house, though, she will be ready to go try her hand at full-time work. That is the day, my friends when I will give my notice of retirement (if I haven’t already).
4. Celebrate your achievements
Why not take a moment to pat yourself on the back for everything you’ve accomplished. If you get a bonus, a raise, or reach a goal, celebrate it before you just jump to the next thing.
5. Accept that it’s never enough
Once you accept the fact that you will probably always feel like you never have enough, it’s a lot easier to stop worrying about it. I saw a bumper sticker once that said “Since I gave up hope I feel much better.” I don’t know if it’s more funny or depressing, but sometimes there are things we just need to accept.
Uncertainty is a leading cause of worry, but there is no reason to be uncertain about where your money is going. Plan what you are going to spend, and track it. That will eliminate so much of the financial uncertainty and in turn will reduce your worry and stress.
7. Take action
Make more and spend less. Even if you don’t think you could ever do enough of either, trying can at least help take the edge off.
8. Live in the moment
Sometimes I’ll be at a restaurant or pushing my daughter on a swing, and I can feel my mind start to worry about money. It is during moments like these when you just have to snap yourself out of it and focus on how good the food tastes or how lucky you are to have such a beautiful child!
9. Focus on what you’re thankful for
This goes along with living in the moment, and it can even be helpful to make a physical list. I’ve even heard about people who write down a few things they are thankful for each day. This really helps to get the positive juices flowing and can change your entire outlook on life and what is truly important.
10. Spend less than you make
Maybe you’re not making as much as you want, and maybe you feel like you’re spending too much. But as long as you are spending less than you earn, you will save yourself from getting into real (and not just psychological) financial trouble.
There is hope of recovery
There is nothing wrong with striving to strengthen your financial situation, and following these guidelines will help to maintain a positive attitude along the way.
As I’ve tried to keep them in mind, it’s been easier to stay happy and to deal with life’s surprises. But despite what my dad told me about money never being enough, I’d be lying if said that I didn’t think more money would alleviate my symptoms. I’ll let you know when I get there.
How do you deal with feelings of financial insecurity?
Today’s guest post is from Mark aka Bare Budget Guy.