Financial stress can really take its toll on your body, just like any other form of prolonged stress. Stress tied to your finances tends to be ongoing and can cause elevated heart rate, weight gain, suppressed immune function, and so many other physical and mental health issues.
Budgeting can help you eliminate that stress and give you an idea of your daily living expenses. But, where do you start? How do you find the best saving method for you and/or your family?
Steps for Stress-free Budgeting
The most important step to begin budgeting is to get organized. Gather your bills and discuss some of the amenities you could live without. Having an accurate understanding of your income and your spending will help you plan out your budget.
Once you pull that information together, it’s time to put your pen to paper. Start simple with an empty journal or notebook, and begin writing down your expenses and monthly spending allowance. This really helps put your budget into perspective.
List out everything you pay for throughout the month, including bills, groceries, recreational activities, savings, etc. Don’t forget to include common expenses, such as gas and household items.
What Makes the Cut? Needs vs. Wants
Don’t make drastic cuts to your life while budgeting. Make small changes as you go in order to avoid any spending relapses. It’s important to prioritize your spending, so you properly allocate money for the things you need, but make sure you leave room for some of things you want. The feeling of missing out or having to drastically change your routine can cause stress or anxiety.
Planning ahead is a great way to alleviate some of that headache. When it comes to budgeting your next trip to the grocery store, use a meal plan to avoid spending extra money.
After you get a handle on your monthly budget, consider trying a savings plan. Whether you’re looking forward to an upcoming vacation or want to get a head-start on saving for the holidays, there are many different ways to help you save money throughout the year.
Saving guides are even available online, outlining how you can save money every week, bi-weekly, or even monthly. These savings guides can also come in handy if an unexpected expense arises.
Learning how to save at an early age can be extremely beneficial. Be sure to include your kids to help teach them money management and how to save for the future.
Once you’ve committed to a budget plan, you will be able to manage your stress and improve your overall health and well-being.