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10 tips to manage money anxiety




The holiday season is over, a new year has started and perhaps you are now feeling a little anxious about the money you may have spent, how overdrawn you may be, dreading your credit card bill, how the rising costs of living are putting pressure on your household budgets, how high interest rates are and how you are going to get back on track for the new year.


For others, you may have received a large Christmas bonus from work, won the lottery, recently sold your business or inherited a large sum of money and be anxious how or whether to spend it. Regardless of your financial situation, it is very common to start the new year with money anxiety.


Money anxiety (also known as financial anxiety) is a feeling of worry, unease or fear about money and when this worry is continuous, it can impact your everyday life, can cause you sleepless nights, affect your relationships and if the worry and anxiety become overwhelming, your mental health and well-being can negatively be impacted.


Here are my 10 ten tips to help you manage your money anxiety:


1. Make a list of outgoings and incomings. Putting together a spreadsheet or list will help to give you a full picture of your finances, giving you certainty about what you can or can’t afford and therefore will enable you to make more accurate decisions about your finances. Create a weekly or monthly budget for the year ahead. If spreadsheets are challenging for you, there are apps that can help you draw up budgets. There are also organisations or financial advisors that can help and support you with your finances. E.g. https://www.gov.uk/check-benefits-financial-support, https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/get-help-with-the-cost-of-living/.


2. Identify the trigger. Identifying what is causing you to feel anxious about money is an important first step.  Certain situations, like opening your morning post can cause you to feel anxious; when you are more aware of the trigger, whether it is overspending, opening up bills, being made redundant or inheriting a sum of money, you can then look at ways to manage the trigger which will help to reduce your stress and anxiety.


3. Try not to ignore bills. Watching your bills pile up or receiving bill related e-mail reminders can create even more anxiety so be brave and address them individually.  Check if any direct debits, standing orders or subscriptions can be stopped/paused and research if there are any discounts available or alternative payment options.  Pay off any debt starting with high interest debt first.


4. Educate yourself. Understanding and knowing more about saving, investing and budgeting will help you to feel more confident and in control of your money and financial situation. So, spend some time reading relevant articles and books or listen to podcasts as these will equip you with tools to help you manage your finances and will help to ease the anxiety and worry. Check out www.moneysavingexpert.com.


5. Control the controllables. You are unable to control the increases in living costs, being made redundant or inheriting a large sum of money but you can control how you budget and spend your money so put your energy into what you can control rather than what is out of your control. This is more likely to impact you positively. For example, remove apps that encourage you to spend or limit websites where you store your card details.


6. Try some meditation, relaxation or breathing exercises. These will help to relax your body which in turn relaxes your brain and so calms the anxiety. Check out websites like https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/breathing-exercises-for-stress/www.calm.com or www.headspace.com. There are plenty of free resources online so see what works best for you and practice it regularly so that when you do need to use it for anxiety, you are prepared.


7. Keep physically active. Regular exercise can help to lower stress and anxiety levels; it gives you more energy, helps to relax you and is a great distraction. It also helps with concentration and therefore will positively impact your financial decision making. There are plenty of ways to exercise on a budget like going for a walk, run, cycle, home workout, using outdoor gym equipment in parks and don’t forget exercise can also be social. Just a few minutes of regular exercise will have a positive effect on your wellbeing


8. Keep connected to others. Reach out to a friend, family member or partner to share how you are feeling.  Not seeing friends and family can lead to feelings of loneliness which has been linked to poor mental and physical health so it is very important to continue socialising, even if it means buying one less pint at the pub or meeting a friend for a drink instead of a meal. You can still socialise on a budget.  If you are employed, speak to HR or your boss so that they are aware of how you are feeling and find out what support your employer has.


9. Avoid comparing yourself to others. Your financial situation is unique to you and so comparing yourself to family, friends or what you see on social media is unhelpful and can trigger more anxiety. Focus on how best to help yourself rather than how you compare to others. 


10. Get professional support. If you are struggling to manage your anxiety about money or your financial situation on your own, reach out for help.  It is important to not suffer alone and get overwhelmed by how you are feeling. Asking for help is a sign of strength and courage and with help from a psychotherapist, you can learn to manage your anxiety and positively change your mental health and emotional well-being in as little as a few visits.


For further help and coping strategies, please click here to arrange an initial FREE 15-minute telephone call with me or e-mail directly alison@therapyhere.co.uk.



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