Financial stress and how to manage

Updated: Jul 6

Money is seen as a dirty topic in our society; however, it is one of the main sources of stress and anxiety both for individuals and families. Money as they say is the root of all evil, and of many of life’s problems. If our financial situation has gotten out of hand, or we have suffered a job loss, it can be even more daunting to face it.

With financial stress there can be a paralysis in not knowing where to start or how to go about getting on top of it. If this is something you’re struggling with, I’ve put together some easy-to-follow steps to get you on top of your financial situation.

Step 1:

Work out what is coming in and going out. This sounds really basic, but a lot of people don’t keep track of where money is going. You can set up a budget like the one below for normal household expenses. I use excel, but feel free to use word, a notepad, anything that feels comfortable for you.

You can download our basic budget tool here:

Sample Expenses
Download XLSX • 12KB

In it I’ve included a tab to help calculate bills. As bills come at different times (Monthly/Quarterly/Annually) it can be difficult to figure out how much to put aside from each pay cycle. By working out how much everything is annually and then dividing by how often you get paid it makes it easier. You can just update the sample numbers with your own in the sheet.

If you’re past the point of basic and are looking for something more detailed, Steph My Life has a brilliant sheet on sale here.

Step 2:

Separate your accounts. I for one have NO impulse control and find it incredibly difficult not to spend money if it is in a current account. So, I have about 9485002 bank accounts. Not really, but it’s not far off. Most banks will let you set up an instant savings account from their mobile app.

For bills in particular, it is important to have a separate account. As car insurance for example only comes around once a year, the money set aside for it can look like spare money if it’s floating around your normal account and it’s easy for it to get spent. Then comes the crippling massive bill because nothing was put aside. Some accounts we have are:

  • Credit Card

  • House Deposit

  • Bills

  • Travel

  • Emergencies

  • Groceries (I don’t get paid weekly, so we put this money aside every paycheck)

If you’re a couple it really helps to have separate ‘fun’ accounts. This means an amount of disposable income (if you have it) every week/fortnight/month each that can be spent however you want or saved for things only you need.