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9 Essential Steps to Break Free from Financial Stress

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Wanda Wiggins
Wanda Wiggins
Wanda Wiggins is a communication expert and training professional. She holds an M.A. in Communication and a B.A. in Business Communication.

9 Essential Steps to Break Free from Financial Stress

Are you tired of feeling the heavy weight of your financial problems weighing you down? The best solution is to take practical steps to break free from financial stress. In this article, we’ll cover some steps on what you can do to do that, but before that, let’s discuss some signs that you’re dealing with financial stress.

Signs and symptoms of financial stress

Finances are a common source of stress for many people, but if you don’t manage your finances well, you might also have to worry about financial stress.

Financial stress is when your worries about your finances cause more than normal levels of grief, affecting not just your finances but your relationships with others, yourself, and so on. There are signs that your finances might be stressing you out more than you thought. Here are some examples of these signs:

  • Frequent arguments with loved ones about money
  • Difficulty sleeping due to money worries keeping you up
  • Feelings of guilt for spending money on both essentials and non-essentials
  • Delaying healthcare for fear of expenses
  • Feelings of restlessness about money, even when doing unrelated activities
  • Tendency to avoid facing financial decisions, like creditors, bills payment, etc.

If you frequently experience these feelings, then those signs can indicate that your finances are a significant stressor on your mind, leading to financial burnout.

Instead of waiting for the good tides to come rolling in, it’s best to take action if you want to take your life back so that you don’t feel like your life revolves around financial management. With that said, let’s cover some actionable steps that can get you started with just that.

1. Identify the source of money stress

financial stress

It’s best to face your sources of money stress straight on. That’s why one of the first steps to breaking free from financial stress is to identify your money stressors directly. Some of the familiar sources of money stress would be:

  • Regular bills and expenditures
  • Different debts and loans
  • Lack of savings and emergency funds
  • Lack of employment
  • Many dependents on your finances
  • Low-income source

Once you know what is causing most of your money stresses, it will be much easier to plan around it and reduce the stress you get from it.

For example, if your most significant source of stress is your lack of savings, you can start creating a plan to build up your savings somehow. It’s easier to know where your planning should go when you know what you need to address in the first place.

2. Take inventory of your finances

Another way to be less stressed about your finances is by knowing exactly what your finances’ current state is.

It’s a good idea to take inventory of your finances and examine your income sources and everyday expenses. You should also discuss your debts, loans, household expenses, bills, etc.

If you want to use that information to improve your financial management, you should be as accurate as possible. It would help to track your finances for multiple months before finalizing your regular expenses and income sources. That way, you can have adequate information on your finances.

It would be best to be as brief as possible with the details since these small expenses can increase the more often you do them.

3. Create a financial plan


You’ve likely been operating without a financial plan so far, and based on your stress levels, it’s not working out for you. That’s why it’s a good idea to create a financial plan so that you can become more regimented with your finances, at least until you build good money management habits and become more financially comfortable.

Creating checklists for when you’re out shopping should help you avoid unexpected costs. A financial plan should also cover your more general and long-term financial goals, like buying a car or setting aside six months’ salary for your emergency fund.

The plan should also include the steps to achieve that goal. For example, reduce leisure expenses to save more from your monthly income.

With a plan, it’s easier to figure out when you will achieve your goals, how to do it, and precisely what to do to get there.

4. Create a debt repayment plan

If you’re dealing with debt, being more deliberate with how you pay off your debts is vital to reducing the mental stress of debt. A plan will make your debts feel more manageable, and you can eventually live a life without debt hanging over your head.

That said, dealing with debt can be understandably overwhelming, especially given your other current financial responsibilities. You can hire a debt expert if you need better help paying off debt.

Debt professionals like those from Money Max can help you manage multiple debt repayments if this feels overwhelming. You can look through different Money Max account reviews to see whether their service is something you need and to know if your specific debt situation sounds like something they can handle.

With the help of a debt repayment plan, you’ll be better able to pay off your debt in the most favorable conditions.

5. Set up automatic payments and savings

Some people need to remember to pay off their bills on time despite having enough income to pay off these bills quickly and have enough for savings. If this is an issue that you have, then one thing that you should do would be automatic bill payments.

While automated bill payments might feel scary, at least you know that the essentials are paid off, so you can spend any extra money you have without unknowingly cutting into things like your rent payment or electricity bills. Also, you’ll avoid penalties from late payments that can stack up over time.

6. Build an emergency savings

Speaking of savings, you should create a separate savings account specifically for emergency purposes only. Your current savings account might be something that you dip into for random purchases or impulse buys. Still, with an emergency fund, that should be something you never touch unless there’s an emergency.

What counts as an emergency is different for everyone, but a typical example of an emergency could be hospitalization.

By having emergency savings, you won’t have to feel stressed because you don’t have a financial cushion behind you.

7. Cut out impulse purchases

You’ll need to cut back if you know you’re financially incapable of many things right now. It’s unpleasant and certainly will cut into some of your minor pleasures, but you must sacrifice some things temporarily until you find yourself in a better place.

One thing you can cut would be impulse purchases.

Don’t get any item, even if it’s on sale, if you know you don’t use it daily or not on your to-buy list.

Cutting out impulse purchases can help reduce unexpected and unplanned expenses. By being more conscientious with your impulse purchases, you can reduce that habit, so you might even realize that impulse purchases don’t pull you in as much as before.

8. Monitor your progress

Having a financial plan is nice, but you need to be accountable enough and check up on yourself. You should check your progress every few months or even every week during the beginning and see how well you’re doing.

If you check back and see that you’re not doing the required steps or are not reaching your goals as you should, then it’s time to reel back your expenditures. You might even need to change your plan to make it more achievable.

9. Seek expert assistance

Some people have complicated financial situations. Acknowledging that you might need more expert help might be the best investment you make, especially if you’re handling many debts, as we mentioned earlier.

With a financial planner, you’ll have someone who will advise you on the following steps while keeping you accountable. Just make sure to check their credentials and research that the expert you hire is an actual expert who has helped other people out before.


These steps are a better way to deal with financial stress than just enduring and ignoring the problem. If you want to reduce how much anxiety you get from your finances, then apply these steps so that you can get to a place that doesn’t fill you with worry and you can spend on a little treat or two without so much as a shred of guilt when you do it.

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