As millennials, we are faced with more financial burdens than any generation before. From low wages to living expenses and student loan debt that are higher than ever – it’s impossible to feel financially stable. Especially, because millennials are super driven to reach their goals and find their passions, but money doesn’t always follow suit. Nowadays, twenty-somethings are seeking financial help through many different avenues and unfortunately, we all know that being strapped for cash means stress and struggles with mental health. Feeling financial stress can cause insomnia, depression, and high blood pressure. We have a few hacks to help you take control of your finances and that will ultimately help your mental health. Yes, some of this is hard work! However, once it’s done one time you will feel a great deal of stress lifted off of your shoulders.
We understand that budgeting does not sound fun, however, it’s extremely helpful for taking control of the financial aspects of your life! Utilize a spreadsheet on your computer to input your monthly income vs. your monthly expenses. Add in everything you can possibly think of that you spend money on a regular basis. Here are a few examples:
- Monthly bills and loans, groceries, gas/travel expenses, medical expenses, gym membership, vacation funds, eating out, haircuts, etc.
Even if you don’t do some of these things on a monthly basis, calculate how much money goes towards these bills or appointments in a month. Now you’ll know if you’re overspending (yikes!) or how much money you should have left at the end of the month.
Although finances often seem out of our control – there’s only so many times you can ask for a raise or so many hours in a week that you can work overtime – budgeting helps us take control of an aspect of our lives. With busyness from jobs, chores, and social events our brains can be scattered but having a clear sense of where your finances are going allows you to feel clarity and relief. Plus, being able to cut some unneeded expenses out will eliminate any questioning of where your money is going; you’ll feel less stressed and have more money now that you’re keeping track!
Lowering monthly expenses
Lowering monthly expenses may seem nearly impossible, but with some work, it can be done to make your day-to-day life more manageable. There are various bills like loans and insurance that can be lowered with research and changes to providers. Like budgeting, lowering your bills every month is another area of your finances that you can control, allowing you more freedom and peace of mind.
First, look into consolidating your student loans. Interest rates on private student loans can get very high, very quickly as years pass since your time of graduation. Consolidating can lower your monthly payment and your interest rate, allowing you pay off the loans quicker. In most states, if you have a car, you can take a defensive driving course to lower your monthly insurance payment. Even look into switching your cell phone, cable, or internet providers. These companies are fiercely competitive and will strive to get you a lower rate than what you pay now.
Apps to help you save
If you have your budget sorted and can handle your monthly expenses just fine, maybe it’s time to focus on saving up. Whether you need a car, want to buy a home, or need travel funds, saving is essential to feeling more financially secure.
Applications like Acorns help you save money without a second thought! No stressing about taking a percentage of each paycheck and transferring it to a separate account when your direct deposit finally clears. Acorns will round up your purchases to the nearest dollar amount and put them into investments. This is a great tool because not only are you building your savings, you are becoming more familiar with investing your money. Plus, this is virtually mindless. You will feel more at ease knowing that you are putting away money into savings with almost every purchase you make.
Make a self-care fund
It’s totally reasonable to spend your extra money on things you enjoy. Whether it be going to concerts, buying clothes or makeup, or for a personal trainer, doing things we enjoy are great for our mental health. However, instead of spending this money recklessly with no rhyme or reason, try to set up a self-care fund. This can be used on more traditional self-care activities, like therapy or yoga. However, it can simply be used for the activities you love doing. For example, all month long, put your extra cash in this fund, at the end of the month treat yourself with something you’ve been eyeing to buy or dying to spend money on.
Talking about finances is stressful in itself. However, when you realize that there are thousands of other millennials in the same boat as you, it can help reduce the anxiety we feel around money. Share this article and start the conversation with your friends about money. You can help one another be accountable for beginning to pay attention and take control of your finances. Knowing that there is something you can control in your life that otherwise may feel like it’s spinning out of control can be great to get you feeling secure, grounded, and stable.
To read more on topics like this, check out the lifestyle category.