10 Ways to Decrease Financial Stress

Image Credit: Milenko Bokan/iStock/GettyImages

We all know that stress, like a sprained ankle, is nothing to play with. And when it comes to finances — we don't know about you but: Whooooooo! Stress through the roof.

Here's are ten easy action steps that will help move you towards being more happy when it comes to your money.

1. Dump your negative attitude.

Being a "Debbie Downer" isn't going to correct your finances. You have to fix your mental before you can do anything else because, trust me, you're not going to be successful if you don't change your way of thinking. Know that there is hope, regardless of your current situation. You have to believe that things will change for the better. You may have to make some tough choices for your own well-being. There's no room for any type of negativity.

2. Make a list of your current financial issues.

This is where you take some serious time and consideration to begin getting your financial life in order. Think about all of the frustrations you've experienced when dealing with your finances. Are you always coming up short? Struggling to save any money? Not enough income to accomplish the things that you want? Whatever your current issues may be, write every single one of them down. Be honest with yourself!

3. Set goals that are reasonable based on the list of issues you wrote out.

Now, take a look at the list of financial issues that you have and create a goal for each one. For instance, if you wrote down that you are always coming up short, you'll need to track your spending. Example Goal: Track my spending down to the penny for the next 60 days. Once you finish listing your goals, give yourself a pat on the back and remind yourself that you can and will accomplish these things!

4. Create a budget and stick to the script.

If you're not on any type of budget, that can make things a little stressful. Making a plan for your money eliminates surprises and takes the guesswork out of your spending. It's time to get organized!

5. Cut back on those expenses.

A lot of us overspend without even realizing it. Stay on top of your spending and see where you can cut back. Do you eat out for lunch every day at work? Try bringing your lunch from home instead. It'll save you a TON of money and feels good, too.

6. Decrease and eliminate debt.

This action step is MAJOR! If you haven't done so already, make a list of all of your debts from smallest to largest. Create a plan for attacking those debts. As you start cutting back on your expenses, you'll have a few coins to put towards your payments. Once you decrease some of your debts, you will be able to free up even more of your money. Ideally, this 'extra' money should be used to attack the remaining debts that you have so that you can start using that money to save and build wealth.

7. Have your emergency fund built up.

Y'all, an emergency fund eliminates so, so much stress! When those random things happen that you have to come out of pocket for, you won't be scrambling to come up with the money (or reach for that credit card). Ideally, you'll have at least 3 months of expenses saved up. That's a lot of money, take your time, but out the work in.

8. Start considering retirement.

You don't want to wake up one day and be ready to retire and BROKE do you? It's never too early to start thinking about your retirement. The younger you are, the better off you are because time is on your side. If you are not already contributing to your retirement plan, do some research and enroll.

9. Shop smarter.

There are a few ways you can shop a little smarter: Use coupons for everything, shop for clothes off season, plan your meals, stick to your list and don't go over budget. When I grocery shop, I have my calculator out and I calculate everything that I pick up and put in my cart to ensure that I'm staying in my lane (literally).

10. Treat yo’ self!

Have you hit one of your goals? Use this accomplishment to do something good for yourself! Take a bubble bath, give yourself a mani/pedi, cook yourself a special meal, take a day off of work and binge your favorite movies, invite besties over for a night full of laughter. There are a ton of things that you can do that's good for yourself without breaking the bank.