As we get older, money feels more and more like a burden.
Bills, taxes and debt can certainly turn money into a problem and make work feel like trying to bail out a sinking ship.
However, there are clever ways to improve the way you look at finances, giving you peace of mind while you work to reach your goals.
Make It Physical
In the age of plastic and digital transactions, it’s sometimes easy to forget that your hard-earned money is a real, tangible asset. Instead of automatically depositing your paycheck into your checking account and using your debit card for all your transactions, consider taking out an allowance at each paycheck and using that instead for your expenditures.
Not only will it remind you that you have something physical accumulating, but having cash-in-hand makes it easier to realize exactly how much you’re spending. You’ll be less likely to pay for something expensive and unnecessary when you see just how big of a chunk it takes out of your reserves.
People who are used to swiping plastic all the time don’t have a real, in-your-face reminder of their spending habits.
Don’t Be Afraid To Donate
Once you get used to the feeling of cold, hard currency again, consider this: Many people aren’t as fortunate as you are. While you’re just reminding yourself that cash is a real thing, some people need to remind themselves that food or shelter is a real thing.
When you donate to a charity or give to some cause of merit, you’re sharing your wealth with those who might need it more, allowing them to have some of the basics you take for granted. Not only does it make you feel good, it also helps you appreciate your situation more, perhaps inspiring you to work a little harder.
Sometimes, you might need the opposite effect in your life. If cash burns in your pocket, consider automatically setting a schedule to transfer your direct deposit (or at least some of it) into your savings account. That way, you can relax knowing that you’re doing the right thing, and you don’t even have to think about it.
Even if you can only afford to put a small amount in every pay cycle, it adds up, and you never know when you might need a little extra spending money to get you out of a sticky situation.
Control Your Debt
There’s nothing quite worse than the anxiety of an upcoming deadline, especially when it’s for a past due balance. If you are overwhelmed with debt and being harassed by collector calls, consider picking up the phone once in a while and talking to them.
Most debt collectors would be thrilled to put you on some kind of plan that would meet your budget, even one with extremely low payments. They can even set up ways to deduct it from your accounts automatically so you don’t have to think about it.
Taking care of business is satisfying and can help reduce the stress in your life, leaving you more room to worry about other things.
Ask For Advice
Finally, don’t be afraid to talk with the people you trust about your finances, especially those who have been there. Whether it’s a parent or other mentor, many people have been in your situation and have pulled out of it.
Don’t be ashamed of your debt: sometimes, it’s an unavoidable part of life. As with many situations, getting something off your chest can help you feel better, making it easier for you to get back in there and make more money.