Budgeting for finances

If you stress to meet your monthly bills or have just a little too much credit card debt, you’ve probably felt the pressures that money, or lack thereof, can bring. While your feelings are valid, this pressure is not something that should take over your life. Even more important than taking care of your finances is taking care of yourself. Here are a few ways you can take care of your mental health in the midst of financial strain.

1. Focus on what you can control

The first step in caring for your mental health is getting out of your own head. Pretend you’re examining your life from an outsider’s point of view. Take a deep breath, get out a sheet of paper, and make a list of 10 things you can control (e.g. how you spend your time, who you spend time with, what food you fuel your body with, etc.).

If you’re having trouble, here’s a list of 50 examples of things you can control right now. Put this list somewhere you’ll see it. Everytime you start feeling stressed, look at it and ask yourself what things you could be putting your energy into instead of allowing stress to accumulate.

2. Practice positive self-talk

Doing things to boost your self-confidence can be a game changer for your mental health. What stories are you telling yourself on a daily basis? Are you constantly bashing yourself and thinking that you’ll never get through this financial pressure? Try incorporating positive self-talk into your daily routine through positive affirmations and reminders. Choose two or three statements that resonate with you and repeat those to yourself every day. Doing this will help you get into a positive mindset and will give you the self-confidence to tackle whatever life throws at you.

3. See where you can cut costs

Before you roll your eyes, just wait. This may seem obvious, however, if something can help create breathing room in your budget and your life, it’s worth taking a look. For example, are you paying for multiple insurance plans for the appliances in your home? Consolidating all of them into one payment can save you time and money. Another way you can cut costs is finding products that are less expensive when purchased in bulk. For the items that you purchase on a consistent basis, compare the price per unit (price per unit = total item price ÷ unit weight or number) to the price per unit when purchased in bulk. These are just a couple of ideas to cut costs. Remember: little things can make a big difference.

4. Strengthen your relationships

How many times have the most important relationships in your life suffered due to your own personal stress? Sometimes, we take our stress out on the people we care about most. Maybe you push people out when you’re stressed and try to handle everything on your own. Try to step back from the situation and take an honest look at the time you’ve dedicated to the relationships in your life.

Do you truly put in the effort to be present and listen to your loved ones? How do you respond when others try to connect with you? Set aside quality time with those you care about. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for your mental health is think about someone other than yourself.