Fighting Financial Anxiety Isn't Futile Anymore. Here Are Our Best Tips For Mental Freedom

If you've been paying attention to your purse and your bills, you've probably noticed how inflations has affected your bottom line. Forbes reports that inflation in America in 2022 was the highest its ever been since the 1980s. Now are the days when a pack of chicken breasts can cost you a whopping $37, per CTV News, and it's just going to get worse. The USDA predicts that all food prices will increase by over 7% this year. Because of that, Millennials and Gen Z in particular are feeling the pinch and it's causing a lot of anxiety. 75% of Millennials say rising costs have left them with "a pit in my stomach," and for Gen Z, the number is higher at 88%, per Financial Post


That's a lot of stress and anxiety, and as we are becoming aware, mental and emotional stress can actually have devastating physical symptoms. Heathline reports that stress and anxiety can lead to a whole host of physical ailments, everything from a low libido or tummy ache to major health episodes like a heart attack, high blood pressure, and even infertility. Luckily, there are things we can do to ease our financial anxiety.

You're not alone; talk to someone

Inflation is everywhere. In a world where a jug of orange juice can cost $10, we all are feeling the pinch. If you're experiencing stress and anxiety around your finances and your ability to keep up with bills, chances are you're not alone. That's why talking about your fears and anxieties might be one of the best first steps in overcoming them. 


We know talking about money can be awkward, but keeping your financial woes to yourself could only serve to amplify your fears. Talk to someone you trust, whether that be a friend, a family member, a therapist, or a financial counselor. Talking with your loved ones is always a great way to cope with emotional stressors, and speaking with a reputable credit counseling organization can also help coach you through your financial stressors. Look for financial counselors who come from non-profit organizations with either free or affordable fixed-rate programs, unlike financial advisors that could potentially charge a high fee. 

Make sure you take inventory

Financial stress can definitely multiply exponentially when yet another bill comes in the mail. The temptation to just ignore the water or hydro bills as they come in, toss them in the trash, and carry on with your day, is pretty big. As much as we hate to admit it, ignoring them will only make your anxiety worse in the future. Do future-you a favor right now and take inventory of everything: bills, bank account, and credit card statements, mortgage payments, interest due on student debt, or line of credit loans. Don't ignore any of them. Why? 


By looking at your income versus expenses, you will clearly be able to identify what the problem is with your finances. Maybe you haven't saved enough money, or perhaps you're not making enough money. Perhaps you have too much debt, or you need to change your spending habits. Once you know how much you owe, and weigh that against how much money you're bringing in each month, you can form a solid plan of action. Having a solid plan of action to solve these problems has been shown in studies to decrease stress and increase self-confidence.

Trust us: future-you will thank present-you.

Prioritize budgetting

Perhaps the best plan of action to relieve financial stress and take control of the situation is to craft a budget and stick to it. Yes, that's right, time to whip out the spreadsheet! This is your opportunity to list all of your income and expenses to see how you can pare down the extravagances and maybe even make room for improvement. Cataloging your finances in this way will help you trim the fat and declutter any excess spending. Have you been paying for a gym membership that you never use? Did you forget to cancel that meal delivery kit after the first free box? Perhaps you actually have the room to contribute more to your student debt payments each month, thereby reducing your accumulating interest long-term. When you can see the numbers before you like this, it will truly offer you more peace of mind.


Luckily, you don't have to budget alone. There are several websites and smartphone apps that can help you form a budget and stick to a plan. Some popular ones include YNAB (which aptly stands for You Need A Budget!) and Intuit Mint, where the apps help you track your spending, income, and savings, create a budget and plan out your future finances. Using these apps could lead to big savings down the road.

Build an emergency fund

These days, the job market, especially for new graduates, is precarious. Layoffs are happening a lot (in tech and media alone, there have been about 130,000 layoffs in the past year, per The Atlantic). With the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the COVID-19 global pandemic entering its third year, the economic landscape continues to feel unstable. 


Now is the time to plan ahead for a rainy day and build an emergency fund. If you haven't considered this, you're not alone: a recent survey from Charles Schwab revealed only 38% of Americans have one. However, having a rainy-day fund will reduce your stress because it gives you a financial buffer should you experience unexpected hardship. Perhaps you might lose your job, your home, or worse, a loved one. You will want to be able to grieve without worrying about how you will financially recover. So use your budget to assess how much you can set aside each month, and prioritize building around three to six months' worth of expenses. You can do this easily by setting up automatic transfers. 

Manage your overall stress

Whether you're struggling with finances or other anxiety-inducing problems, we all know that managing our stress is one of the most effective ways to prevent stress-related maladies, like depression, anxiety, and poor mental health. There are many small changes we can make daily to reduce stress. 


We suggest never skimping on sleep. Getting a full eight hours of shut-eye will allow your body to recalibrate and manage your overall stress. We all know exercise and physical activity is a great way to keep fit, but it's also allows your body to relax. Meditation is another way to calm your mind, focus on the present, and feel gratitude for every breath. Interestingly enough, if you're spending too much time doom-scrolling Twitter or Facebook, shutting off your mobile device for an extended period might also make you feel calmer. The 2022 Policygenius Financial Anxiety Survey found that social media may be contributing to financial anxiety. The survey found that those on social media had a higher rate of financial anxiety compared to those who stay off of it. So make sure you find the time in your day to breathe, relax, and reboot.