No one likes to be stressed. And unfortunately, money can be a huge source of stress if you aren’t careful. Whether it’s an unexpected expense, a job loss, or inability to meet your savings goals, money stress is real, and it can completely derail you. Fortunately, while you can’t avoid every money woe, there are plenty of ways you can better prepare yourself to avoid sticky money situations. Not only that, but you can work on altering your reaction to money stress so it affects you less. Here are 5 things to do if you’re stressed about money.

1) Get Organized

Living in a chaotic state can cause you more stress than you may even realize. Like anything else, it pays off to take time and organize your finances. When you organize your money, you know exactly when each bill is due, how much money you will have in your bank account at any given month, and you can know exactly how much you need to save in order to meet your financial goals. To start organizing your finances, one tip is to create a money calendar. First, you can write down every pay day. Then, write down when every bill is due. From there, you can calculate to ensure that you have more than enough money in your checking account to cover every bill without over drafting.

2) Build an Emergency Fund

Peace of mind is priceless. Without an emergency fund, you may be left in financial despair when a sudden, unplanned event occurs. If you stress over wondering how you will pay for unexpected expense (and even if you don’t stress), an emergency fund is a must. And you can start small. Even an extra $500 can go a long way to cover you if you’re ever faced with a financial emergency.

3) Change How You View Your Budget

Budgets don’t just exist to tell you how to spend your money. This view of a budget can feel restricting, and you may grow to hate your budget. Instead, view your budget as an invaluable resource to bolster you to your financial goals. In fact, your budget is the way you can afford the things you dream about spending money on. So instead of focusing on what a budget prevents you from spending money on, key in on how a budget allows you to spend money on the things you care most about. This mindset shift is imperative to removing financial stress from your life.

4) Stop Comparing Yourself

Keeping up with the Joneses is stressful. Ultimately, the Jones effect happens when you compare yourself and your lifestyle to those around you. Most of us are guilty of feeling pressure to keep up with what our peers are doing. And it’s a fascinating phenomenon – we spend a lot of money and create a ton of stress for ourselves by trying to keep up with our peers who we may not even like, or share the same interests with. Once you free yourself from comparison, you can focus on spending money on the things that truly are important to you.

5) Learn More

You don’t need to be an expert in every job, responsibility, or area of life. Everyone, however, needs to be educated about money because, like it or not, money plays a huge role in most everyone’s life. There’s no shame in admitting you could stand to learn more about money – in fact, even most financial gurus will admit there is always more to learn. Commit to educating yourself. Fortunately, there are endless resources at your disposal for little to no cost. From blogs to books, and from podcasts to newspapers, you can always find a new tool to help teach you more about money.

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