Photo by Chronis Yan on Unsplash

We all worry about money regardless of where we are at in our lives, we still fret over paying bills, making big purchases, budgeting, and taking care of those sudden emergencies that pop up now and then.

While not a finance wizard, I’m one of those people who balance their checkbook to the penny. At any given moment, I know precisely what is going out, what is coming in, and always know where I stand. I’ve gone to bed a few times in the past wondering what I was going to do, or how I was going to manage, and I’ve become prudent in making sure that I set priorities over my spending habits. Financial stress is the worst and it just eats away at you.

In the past seven years, I have paid off all of my debts, and have become completely debt-free. It wasn’t easy, I had to curb a lot of bad habits, I am no stranger to those phone calls and letters, yes, we’ve all been there, but my one rule for keeping your bank account tidy is a very simple one. I do not use credit cards (unless necessary) I keep a small credit line to generate a FICO score, I pay the minimum, but my motto is “If I can’t pay cash for it right then and there, I do not need it.”

I triage and set money aside each month. I know my expenditures and give myself a little free cash, but I don’t blow it all in one place and look for values in what I do purchase. Before spending, I run through the gambit of will it last, do I need it, do I need it, or want it? (there is a difference) what purpose will this have in my life? If, and only if I can answer those questions, then I go ahead and make the purchase. Yes, I do splurge now and then, but I’m careful, and by doing this, I still have money set aside for those monthly bills, but I’m still able to enjoy myself.

I ease financial stress by not getting in too deep in the first place. Yes, it takes some adulting, but by not doing the coffee and bagel runs, making more meals at home, and not wasting gas on needless trips and stops at the drive-through, I have a bit of extra cash just in case; which sometimes means just in case that gorgeous handbag goes on sale or if my phone bill is suddenly more than what I was planning for. No worries.