Worrying about money is as normal vegemite on toast. But this is one instance when being different to everybody else is definitely better. It's time to let it go.
Worrying about money is a universal problem. At some stage we’ve all felt the stress of it. It feels like there is just not enough to cover all of your financial obligations. Or for your age, you think you should have your shit together i.e. loads of money by now.
During the day with lots of busy distractions it’s mostly fine. But when the house is dark and quiet and you’re supposed to be asleep thoughts about money roll around your head and won’t stop. Worrying about money causes sleepless nights, gross sweaty palms and arguments. Let’s figure out why this is happening and how to stop worrying about money.
Mind and Money
There are two things that need to be managed. One is the way you think and react to thoughts about money. The second is the thing that’s causing problems in the first place - the way money itself is handled.
You see, it is possible to be rolling around in riches yet worry about it constantly. It is also possible to not have a care in the world even if your wallet is empty. Everyone is wired differently and everyone has different set of financial circumstances. However, we all benefit from understanding how money works and how our mind works so we can look after both of them the best way possible.
What is Money?
We’re going to look at money in the most basic sense to remind you it is simply a tool – nothing more, or less.
At the most basic level, money is trading tool that allows us to exchange it for goods and services. The more we have, the more we can buy or we can buy higher quality stuff instead. The goal is to have enough money to exchange for the things that we need: housing, food, education and clothing. Usually, to get money for the things we need, we trade our time and skills to employers.
By believing money is useful for more than trade we get into trouble. It becomes a symbol for status, power and everything we want in life. It is true that our society is impressed by wealth but there are other avenues to get respect from people. If not having the car, clothes or being like “everybody else” is keeping you up at night, take a step back. Examine why you need all that money when just some will do.
It is possible to change the way you think about money to be satisfied with what you can afford.
And, for those big goals like weddings, holidays and houses which you wanted yesterday, retrain yourself to think of them as long term projects that you will work towards step by step.
Working with Money
Start by writing out your financial worries on a piece of paper. The act of writing removes it from your mind and commits it to a piece of paper. It is a trick that really works to ease worry. Keep a notepad on your bedside table if you need to. Once it all out there on the paper there is no need to hold onto the worry anymore. Then, in the daylight, it is easier to see the issue objectively. With the problem laid in front of you, work backwards so you can see what you need to do now to make that problem disappear.
The next thing to do so you don’t have to face another sleepless night due to financial worries, is to start saving for an emergency fund. Having $500 or $1000 dollars set aside for rainy days is a barrier between your financial health and life’s emergencies. Put away $100 (or more if you can) each month until you have it.
If you truly don’t have any money and are in dire financial straits, seek local services run by government and charities that may have the resources to aid you through this black spot.
If you are worrying about money because you want to take care of your friends and families, even if it getting them a great birthday present, think about the ways you can show how much they mean to you without giving yourself a finanical headache.
If you’re concerns are about bigger life goals consider drastic action. Do you need to pluck up the courage to ask for a promotion, perhaps you’ll get a pay rise by moving to another company, could you need to retrain in different industry that pays better?
There is a solution to every money problem. Stop worrying and let yourself find it.