Why does money cause so much stress?
Money is stressful. It’s easy to feel guilty about not saving enough, not earning enough and spending on things we believe we shouldn’t be.
For many of us, the idea of opening our personal banking app is enough to fill us with dread: somehow, we always seem to spend more than what we’d planned, even on a good week.
So why does money elicit so many negative feelings? Why do we always want more and how can something so material cause so much distress?
The root cause of money-related stress varies but usually has something to do with security. We need money to survive and have a family, so it’s normal to want to save up for that. However, stress kicks in when we feel guilty about our spending habits and give ourselves a hard time for not being able to keep up with lifestyles on our social media feeds.
What can you do about it?
We unfortunately can’t do much about the fact that you need money to survive but the good news is that we can help you to relieve some of the stress — try the tips below!
Make a list of priorities
Do this when you have some time
What makes you happy? Is it travelling? Going out for meals? Buying the latest designer item or tech gadget? Whatever it is, make a list of your spending priorities and (mentally) go back to it every time you’re about to spend.
It may well be that buying the latest drone is a priority and that’s great — but knowing your priorities will help you rationalise big purchases and feel less guilty.
Track your spending
Do it this evening
Try tracking your spending for two weeks – you may be surprised to find that your spending is not aligned with your priorities
Realising what you spend more than you would like to on certain “low priority” items will really help you to make small savings in those areas. Choosing the tube over Uber is much more motivating if you know the direct impact on your commuting budget!
Don’t give in to FOMO
Do this when you are considering spending on something
We’ve all been there — you’re invited to a dinner/holiday that you don’t really want to attend but go to anyway because you’re worried you’ll miss out.
Every time you’re giving into FOMO, you’re taking your hard-earned money away from things you actually enjoy (check your list of priorities!)
So, do yourself a favour and ask: “Do I really want this or am I just afraid of missing out?”. Not only will you feel less guilty about spending, you’ll also have more to spend (or save!) on things you love.
Limit social media use
Always do this
- We say this a lot, but only because it’s true! Social media does you no favours in terms of feeling good about yourself!
- Looking at everyone’s filtered lives is only going to make you feel worse about what you don’t have, and you are more likely to spend on things you don’t need, just to fill that invisible, unattainable gap
- Try to limit checking social media to once or twice a day, and avoid reverting to it automatically every time you’re bored
Dig a little deeper
Do this when you’re feeling lonely
- Do you notice that you tend to spend more when you are not feeling good about yourself, or you’re stressed?
- Guilt around money can be caused by deep-rooted feelings of self-worth, so rather than trying to push them away, why not ask yourself: “How am I really feeling?”
- Once you know what the problem is, you can start doing something about it!
Speak to a therapist
Do this if you feel like you are having trouble with these feelings
- Speaking to a therapist sounds scary, but it really isn’t! In fact, studies have shown that individual therapy is the most effective way to change thought patterns and negative spiral surrounding money worries