They say money can’t buy happiness, but let’s face it, it can certainly buy you peace of mind. When bills pile up, it’s still a long way ‘til payday, and you can barely scrounge enough funds for tomorrow’s lunch, it can drive anyone mad. This affects millions of people the world over, and it has been revealed as the number one cause of problems in relationships, and even with your health. Chronic stress brought about by money problems causes fatigue, overeating, and heart disease. Yikes.
But short of winning the lottery—which actually brings with it a whole new and different set of stressors—how can you realistically get out of money woes? Financial security is something that you work through over time, but there are things that you can start doing now that would, if not completely remove, lessen the stress you go through about money on a daily basis. Here are five of them.
This might seem counter-intuitive—how can you save anything when you’re actually stressed about not having enough money in the first place? You can do it incrementally, save a few hundred pesos here and there, even coins can help. The Internet is full of viral stories of people who decided to save their five peso coins and 50-peso bills, and ended up with thousands of pesos just after a few months. Saving money is always the first step towards financial security.
Pay Your Debts
Say you got a bonus from work and you decided to use all of it to pay your debts (as you should), you should pay the ones with the highest interest first. Paying off that debt sooner will save you a lot of money, then work your way towards the rest of your other obligations. Paying off credit cards should also be a priority—a 3.5% interest is no joke, and is making a huge impact on your finances without you knowing it.
Write Down a Budget
Not many of us actually sit down and make a list of all our earnings and expenses on a monthly basis. You should. It gives you a clear picture of your finances and you can easily pinpoint where the problem lies. Are you not earning to cover even your most basic bills? Maybe it’s time to get a second job. Are you having way too many glasses of 200-peso frappucino? It might show you that you really can’t afford that new SmartTV now, even if it’s on installment. A well-planned budget is your map towards freedom from financial worries.
Invest and Plan for the Future
Most of our anxiety comes from not knowing what’s going to happen in the future. Would I still be earning enough? Will I be able to send my kids to good schools? Am I set for a long and healthy retirement? Start saving for it then, and make your money work for you. Most companies offer employees stock options and mutual fund investments that could help you manage your finances long-term. Get in on that. Open a small, low-risk business. Invest in the stock market. Nowadays, investing is so easy there are even YouTube tutorials that could help you do it.
When things get too overwhelming, always remember that money is something you CAN and WILL earn. It may not be enough now, but it’s not always going to be like that, especially if you follow the advice above. Don’t let it get in the way of more important things like fulfillment, your relationship with your family or your loved one, or even your health. At the end of the day, these other things are the ones that complete you, make you strong, and make you happy. Because really, money—with all the things that it can give you—can’t buy you happiness.