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More money, more problems. Money doesn’t bring happiness. Money matters most in life. Nothing is free in the world, not even love. Money always wins. These maxims seem timeless. Well, they basically are.
As long as hard currency, a modern economy, or any sort of standard of wealth has been around, money has been the crux of everything including your problems, your successes, your perceived happiness, and corresponding depression. Yikes! Doesn’t seem too fun.
Well, it’s proven that dealing with money can be downright stressful; in fact, a majority of people consider money to be a significant source of stress in their daily lives. Too much stress can lead to other problems aside from missing a bill payment. Your muscles can tense up, leading to chronic pain. It can lead to lung disease. You could experience major cardiovascular issues down the road among others.
It’s pretty clear that stress is a major health issue, and at the root of it all (or at least a significant part of it) is money. Given all that, it sounds like the whole thing is pretty hard to get away from.
Luckily, there are many ways to destress for anything, and money, or personal finance, is no exception. Let’s take a look at a few ways you can simplify your life’s dealings with money. In the end, your body will thank you for adding years to your life!
Paying Bills – Learning to Automate Payments
Growing up, I always associated bills with stress. They seem to change the aura of a room in an instant when my parents dealt with them. They always led to fighting (another stressor in a relationship). Oftentimes, they are confusing, and they’re going to keep on coming one after another.
Now that I have my own fair share of experience with paying bills, I can understand the struggle they present at times. Having multiple bills to pay each month is downright stressful, and when you don’t have enough money to pay them, the whole process can become foreboding.
Well, if you read the sub-title, then you’ll know that automating payments is a great way to handle your bill payments. Many banks and credit card companies allow you to set up your accounts to make bill payments on a schedule. Doing so would greatly reduce monthly stress, especially if you work long hours without much time at home. If you have a consistent income, then a consistent, automated payment schedule should be a major consideration.
Saving – Using a Simplified Budget Plan
If you browse personal finance articles online, then you’re probably more than familiar with budgeting. It’s a necessary life tool if you want to take control of your finances, but with that being said, it can certainly take over your life for the worse.
Implementing a strict budget can lead to increased savings each month as well as success with paying down debt, but it can also drive you crazy. While a budget it supposed to help, it inherently increases stress, especially if you don’t have a simple budget. I know I’ve been overwhelmed with various different obligations on my plate – student loan payments, credit card bills, grocery funds, car payments, rent, etc. Throwing all of those into a single budget is a confusing and stressful endeavor.
However, you can simplify your budget quite easily. You can break your budget down into three main expenses: the basic fixed costs (mainly rent or mortgage payments), varying basic costs (electricity, water, groceries, etc.) and non-essential items (a bar tab, take-out dinner, etc.). You could re-characterize these into: mortgage/rent, bills, and fun.
This budget helps you prioritize your financial obligations to their utmost simplicity, and it allows you to get a decent overview of where your money should be going. It also helps you consider what you can spend on anything that isn’t essential. It’s much easier and less stressful when you don’t have to stick to 18 different categories of spending.
Spending – Relying on Expense Trackers
While you may have been following a simplified budget plan, your day-to-day spending still might be putting you on edge. On top of that, spending in combination with automated bill payments could potentially lead to an overdraft which is stress inducing to say the least.
Well, you can look towards technology to solve this problem. There are various expense trackers that can help you keep tabs on your spending and bank account balance. If you’re spending with a debit card through an account that is also linked to a water bill, then an expense tracker should stop you from over-drafting. They can give you a clear idea of what you have to spend; it’s almost a necessity if you automate bill payments.
At any rate, money is always going to be a significant stressor in your life, but there are ways to reduce that stress. Some of those methods involve taking a more simplified approach, while others involve relying on technology to do the thinking for you. Take money partially out of the equation. See how you feel.
With that being said, this could open up another can of worms entirely. Relying on technology can be stressful, too! In fact, there is probably research out there about anxiety and stress caused technology. However, if you use it to a degree that is helpful, there is no reason you cannot utilize technology to help reduce your stress when it comes to personal finance.
Photo Credit: 401(K)2012
What systems do you put in place to simplify your financial life?