With the rise of Global Financial Crisis, Financial stress has become a hot topic in the Internet. Since I am also a victim, I thought to make a small research on this. In this post I am trying my best to explain what I gained during my research. I hope you would find this interesting!
We go to school, high school, university, technical colleges, … etc. then we find a job, then focus on collecting additional qualifications to climb the ladder… etc.
Why do we do these things? Yes to have a happy life, to make the life better.
If we keep the other factors like qualifications apart for a while, we earn money to make sure we have a happy life but in the middle of the way we become exhausted and stressed out just because of money which is meant to make our life better.
100 people would give 100 explanations for this as different people could see this from different angles. Some may say it’s a foolishness to make the life stressed out for money while some other would say that it is worth taking that stress because there’s almost nothing that can achieved without a sound financial standing.
In this article, I am not trying to elaborate on these complicated and human dependent explanations but rather I would introduce the five ways that I found as helpful to reduce financial stress and I will try to inject my experience into each method when ever I feel applicable.
1 Separate Needs from Wants
It would be safe if I say that we are living in a world where marketing plays a major role. For any industry, marketing has become a crucial factor.
Today’s marketing professionals are very tricky and would sell a ‘trip around the world’ ticket at a gas station for a guy who simply stops for a quick refill.
As a result of this tricky marketing environment most of us have become unable to separate our needs from our wants. For an instance someday in last month I went to a super market to buy cartridges for my Gillette 7 ‘O clock razor which I have been using for more than a year but I came out with a Gillette Mach3 razor because there was a perfectly organized marketing campaign inside the supermarket which could make me literally forget what I had planned to buy. I knew I was going for something which was not crucial for me or something I want, in other words but I could not help myself out of the situation.
So how could we overcome such situations without doing exactly what marketing guys expect from us? Well, different people use different strategies. Some people don’t keep credit cards, some people don’t keep extra money, etc. Even though these methods look very effective (and may be they are effective) these methods have their cons as well. Like we can never replace the benefits we get from credit or debit cards from money.
Well, I know this sounds like impractical but I still believe in controlling the thought itself. Even though I have not met perfection, I have practiced this for some time and it works to some extent. What I do when I meet something that I want is make a small argument in my heart where I think what would I lose if I spend for this at this moment. So, most of the time, I have seen that my short term financial goals get affected by purchasing such things. At that time it becomes much more comfortable to leave the place without buying it.
As I leave the place without buying…, I think like, “What’s the big rush, I can allocate some money for this in next month’s budget and buy this…” so I don’t become disappointed at that moment.
2 Change the Attitude Towards Money
This is something I newly learned from my research. I was used to be very upset when I don’t have as much as money I thought that suit my qualification and experience levels. This truly leads us to a huge stress because we always feel disappointed and spend most of the time thinking what we cannot achieve with current financial standing. So how can we possibly get rid of these feelings? Well, I could find many suggestions such as meditating and yoga I am not against these methods buy I believe more on the other thing I learned which is positive thinking. We usually think about what we cannot do but we rarely think about what we cannot do.
I was used to be sad when I see when other people are traveling by their cars while I ride my bike. But I never noticed the significantly larger number of people who walk while I ride…!
3 Ask for Help
This is something most of us don’t like to do! In many societies asking for financial help is considered as an act of weakness but we can always ask for help or instructions to improve our financial management skills. If we get the right help at the right time to improve this skill, we will be able to survive in many financial problems without asking for direct financial help.
4 Don’t Keep Debt
What am I talking? Nobody likes to keep debt….!
Yes, it’s true, but the reality is we do keep debt around us. The most common trap for most of us is credit cards. Most of us think these paper-like pieces of plastic have amazing powers to bring things that are impossible to achieve with the power of our monthly wages.
The very simple yet strong truth is “Nothing Is Free”. Credit cards only bring the good to our hands and put the payment to the future. Of course this becomes a great help in certain situations.
I do not blame credit cards or credit card owners. A credit card is a powerful tool like fire, if we use it wisely we can make our day to day life much better and of course if we lose the grip we are doomed!
The most common mistake people do with credit cards is paying the minimum due payment and let the interest add up. I have this great lesson learned from my first credit card. I used that credit card so freely and paid the whole amount regularly in the beginning but eventually I started to pay only the minimum payment due. The interest kept growing and I did not care for about a year and I only realize how much I have paid when I made the sum after my father instructed me. I had paid several times of my initial amount of debt as interest.
After that incident my father gave me a nice advice. He said:
“Id doesn’t matter how you pay or when you pay, you do have to pay your debts someday. The only difference is you have to pay with an extra interest if you pay late, so why not pay it at the first possible time and save the interest?”
5 Make a Budget and Stick to It
Most of us already are good in making a budget. It’s the later part that makes us sweat! How to stick to the budget?
Well, in this case we have no excuses against paper work! We have to have a clear idea on our fixed expenditures such as phone bills, water bills, etc. We cannot skip paying these bills so we must allocate funds to these expenditures as the very first step.
Then make the list of other expenditures you wish to make in this month such as that handy new razor, expensive perfume, New Five star dines, Oh what am I doing? You don’t need examples on this. Do you?
The listing is always fun but then comes the worst part; you have to prioritize these expenditures and cut the less important ones. I know it’s hard! Keep in mind that this is your own good when allocating money…!
Wait…! Before you allocate money for the second type of expenditure we just discussed, allocate a certain amount of money as the saving for the period and consider it as an important expenditure you cannot cut so that you will not consider your saving as an option in the middle when executing your planned budget.
Basically, this is the whole idea behind a happy life with a less (I wouldn’t say “no”) financial stress.
Before we end this discussion, I’d like to remind you that we do need money to live this life and we do have to earn it! The most important thing is we have to make sure that in the middle of the way while trying to make money, we should not forget the fact that we have to use money to bring HAPPINESS into our life.
Money alone can do nothing but money and a wise mind can do anything!
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Cassian Menol Razeek