Don't let money worries get you down

Don't let money worries get you down

Many people worry about their finances and often it is all too easy to ignore the situation in the hope that things get better. The reality is that in the long term this is only likely to make things worse.

Worrying about money can lead to other problems like stress and anxiety.

Recently 60 percent of women using StepChange Debt Charity’s online advice tool Debt Remedy were identified as potential suffering with mental health problems related to their debts.

If you are worrying about money, there are a number of easy steps to can take to help you get things back on track.

Talk about it

People are often concerned about what their friends and family will think if they admit to having money worries. Women in particular are more likely to hide their debt problems from their partner than men. When you’re struggling financially the situation may seem overwhelming, but talking about your financial problems with a close friend or relative may help you gain some perspective and see that there is a way forward.

Don’t ignore your bills and statements

If you’re are worrying about money one of the most common reactions is to bury your head in the sand and hope that the problem goes away, it almost certainly won’t. Not opening your bills and statements can be a way of avoiding knowing the full scale of your financial difficulties, but you are potentially storing up bigger problems for the future. It can be difficult to do, but facing your bills and statements and getting the fullest possible picture of your financial situation is the first step to putting things right.

Create a budget

Creating a budget is the most important step towards getting control of your finances. Make a list of all your monthly incomings and outgoings. Make sure you include possible one off payments like Christmas, birthdays and car repairs, so that you can build these into your monthly budget.

Firstly make sure you cover your essential living costs, like rent or mortgage payments, food, energy bills, and Council Tax (for a full list of these priority bills see the StepChange Debt Charity website).

You’ll then be able to see what you have left each month towards repaying your debts. If you are still struggling after this process you will need to get some advice and support from a debt advice organisation like StepChange Debt Charity.

Avoid borrowing more

If you’re already worrying about money problems, borrowing more money may ease the pressure and provide a short-term fix. However, unless you know you’ll have the means to pay it back, you’re just making the problem worse in the long-run.

Speak to your bank

The temptation may well be to avoid calls and letters from your creditors. If you are struggling, contact your creditors and explain your situation. It may be that they are willing to freeze interest and charges or arrange a repayment plan that is more manageable for you.

Check for benefits

Billions of pounds in benefits go unclaimed every year. Make sure you’re not missing out on income tax credits or child benefits that might just help make the difference at the end of the month. Try a free online benefits checker to see if you are missing out on money you may be entitled to.

Cut back

There are lots of ways you can save money and cut back on your monthly outgoings. Comparison sites and utility switching services are a good way to save on things like energy bills, telephone and insurance.

Maximise your income

Is there anything you could do to bring in a bit of extra money that would help ease the strain on your budget? If possible take on a second job or ask for a few more hours at work. Or maybe you have some old clothes or household items you could sell on eBay to bring in a little extra cash. If you have adult children, perhaps ask them to pay rent or board to help with your living costs.

Get active

There is a clear link between debt and mental health problems. Debt can leave you feeling stressed and anxious and unable to get on with your daily life. This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week organised by the Mental Health Foundation focused on the huge benefits to your mental health that exercise can have. Getting active can lift your mood, reduce stress and deal with negative emotions you may be experiencing.

Get help

Dealing with financial concerns can be a daunting and stressful experience, but you don’t need to face them alone. Free and impartial advice is available from organisations like StepChange Debt Charity. You can contact our helpline on 0800 138 1111 or go online and use the free online debt advice tool Debt Remedy.

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