Money can be a source of stress even in the best circumstances, but add in a global pandemic and an unstable economy and money can quickly become a major cause of anxiety that impacts your daily life.
If you’re struggling to feel financially content right now, you’re not alone—but you also aren’t stuck there. Here are a few tips for being financially content, no matter the situation.
1. Take an honest inventory of your financial position.
It can be tempting to bury your head in the sand when times get tough instead of facing money worries head-on. But in order to move forward and build confidence, you need a clear view of your financial position.
So, bring it all out into the open: Make a list of your savings, debts, and assets; revisit or create your monthly budget; and look back at bank and credit card statements to analyze your spending habits. Right away, you might identify ways to save money each month or cut back on unnecessary spending, which can provide an instant confidence boost and help you take the reins of your financial situation.
2. Talk about it.
Many of us were raised to believe that money isn’t a topic for polite conversation, but talking openly and honestly about money in your relationship can help you overcome obstacles and improve your financial outlook.
If you and your partner don’t see eye-to-eye on finances, start by identifying the areas you can agree on, like a savings goal or a monthly budget for household items.
Try to talk about money before problems arise to avoid emotionally charged arguments. If you’re struggling to find common ground, consider meeting with a couples therapist who specializes in financial issues. A third-party perspective can help you reach an understanding and create a plan to move forward together.
3. Give yourself an attitude adjustment.
Changing your own self-talk about money may not seem that meaningful, but it’s a powerful way to increase your confidence and happiness when it comes to finances.
Experts suggest avoiding negative language like, “I’ll be in debt forever.” Instead, reframe your narrative to be more positive: “I’m working on becoming debt-free.” This simple shift in wording can provide a real morale boost.
4. Take it one step at a time.
There’s a reason fad diets don’t work: When you make drastic changes to your habits, you don’t set yourself up for a long-term change. You can only stick with a crash diet for so long before you inevitably go back to your old ways.
The same logic applies to your finances. Instead of taking extreme, unsustainable measures to pay down debt, maximize retirement savings, and cut back on extra spending all at once, pick one goal to prioritize.
When you focus on a single goal at a time, you’re less likely to become overwhelmed and feel defeated. Set reasonable goals for yourself, and remember to celebrate your small wins along the way—those small wins can add up to big changes in the long run.