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Financial Stress

Financial stress on individuals, couples, and families can quickly become overwhelming. Money problems can lead to severe depression, cause troubles in our relationships, and even tear families apart. It's important to get a grasp on your finances which can help reduce your stress. A good place to start is to think about your family’s financial goals. Think of where your money needs to go in the short and long term.  Be sure to take a good look at where you’re spending money now; devise a plan, and make a commitment to spend smarter and put more money into savings.  You will start to feel more confident when you don't have to worry about making ends meet at the end of every month. The first step and often the biggest step is to establish a family budget that allows you to keep track of your spending.  A well thought out, written budget can help guide you, like a road map, allowing you to prioritize your expenses and better control unnecessary spending.
Putting a budget in place can help you control your spending and achieve greater financial freedom. Here are a few ideas to help get you started that can help you take charge and reduce your financial stress. Total all of your (average) monthly income. This can include regular salary & wages, interest, income earned on the side, etc. Include your spouse's or partner's income.  Once you have a clearer view of your family's income, start tracking all your expenses over the month. Add up all of your reoccurring and predictable bills such as rent or mortgage, car payments, insurance, utilities, etc... Also, record variable expenses like food, clothing, personal care, gas, entertainment, etc... Try to capture every expense. If you find tracking your expenses difficult, use budgeting software, a spreadsheet, or even a budgeting app on your phone. Total and compare what’s money is coming in to what’s going out. The results may just surprise you if you haven't investigated your household finances for some time.  If you’re income is coming up short, you can try to either increase your income or reduce your expenses. Reducing expenses is often times the quickest and easiest way to make a change. Continue to trim expenses, and direct more money into savings and investments. Keep good records and track your results over time. Be sure to also put aside some extra for unexpected household expenses.  You can reduce or even be free of financial stress in your life. Knowing how to better align your spending habits with your budget and learning techniques to face your financial stress with confidence can make a big difference. Your mental health can play a big role in achieving your financial goals. Financial stress is hard to overcome for many because of the depression that comes along with it. The bigger the financial stress, the deeper the depression can become. This cycle is often difficult or even impossible to reverse without first treating your depression and improving your mental health. Your counselor can work with you to help overcome the negative cycle of financial stress and improve your personal outlook, getting you on the path of improving your financial outlook. - Angela