Falling into a difficult financial situation can lead to an extremely stressful time. Here at The Logic of Money, we appreciate that setting up a heavy financial budget planning strategy may only add to this stress, which is something you'll want to avoid.
Dealing with financial stress is essential for a happy life. However, we all need life's little rewards, such as our Netflix or Spotify subscriptions, or our regular coffee dates with family or friends.
Unfortunately, strict budgeting strategies would most likely conclude that these things aren't vital, and would try to eliminate them from your life until your financial situation is back under control.
When it comes to having a happy and stress-free life, strict budgeting techniques probably aren't the way to go.
However, to alleviate this stress, you do need to find a way to manage your finances. Luckily, budgeting is not the only way to do this. Here we tell you everything you need to know about our favorite anti-budget budgeting strategy to reduce your financial pressure without adding more. Flexible budgeting may be your perfect compromise.
Types of Financial Stress
If you are a young adult facing financial stress, it most likely falls under one of these three categories:
Inherited Family Financial Stress
This tends to occur for people who have been used to a household where money was always an issue. For example, growing up, you may remember your parents constantly arguing about their financial situations. If this is the case, your brain will recall money to be a stressful topic, which can easily continue to be the case in later life.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald people who struggle with inherited financial stress often follow one of the following two patterns:
• They will - as the phrase goes - bury their head in the sand, and will make no attempt at financial planning and budgeting. However, ignoring the financial stress often means that it becomes a bigger issue later, as financial matters aren't discussed, and budgeting will not occur.
• They will over analyze every aspect of personal financial planning, meaning every choice will seem like the wrong one.
If your financial stress is caused by debt, we can confidently guess that credit cards will have been the cause of your issue. We can also presume that there was more than one adding to the financial load. If this is the case, we'd guess that any personal financial planning has been disregarded.
The average American household uses four different credit cards – which can result in some major financial issues. In fact, the average credit card debt for each household was an astonishing $8K in the second quarter of 2020.
Obviously, debt can be caused by things other than credit cards, such as car loans or mortgages. However, it seems to be credit cards that are causing the biggest stress loads.
You might have opted to invest in the stock market or various properties. While this can sometimes work in your favor, it can become very stressful once the market starts crashing, and your money disappears.
If this is you, we're sure you currently wish you had more savings to cover any losses – this is something to bear in mind for the future. Financial planning and budgeting can really help.
Financial Budget Planning Is the Solution
We are here to tell you that all is not lost, as our specialty is to help you deal with financial stress. The ultimate solution is to reduce or completely eliminate your debt while ensuring you always have enough savings to sustain life's everyday spending.
It goes without saying that the best way to do this is through budgeting strategies. However, we know that budgeting techniques are hard to stick to and can be very tedious. We understand that you work hard for your money, and shouldn't have to spend life feeling limited due to budgeting restrictions.
If strict financial budget planning is taking away life's little rewards, or negatively affecting your mental health, then in our opinion, it's not worth it! If the solution is the cause of a separate issue, then it's not a solution at all. Instead, why not try a more flexible budgeting strategy?
The Anti-Budgeting to Dealing with Financial Stress
This anti-budget budgeting strategy is ideal for those wanting to alleviate financial stress. Here are the four simple steps – follow these, and say goodbye to your financial pressure.
The Snowball Method to Pay Off Your Monthly Debts
The snowball method is a simple concept. It involves paying your smallest debts first, whatever the interest rate may be. If you dedicate as much money as possible to paying this off each month, then you can move onto the next smallest debt once this has been repaid.
The idea works on the presumption that as you watch your debts disappear, you will gain momentum to continue, as the power of small wins psychological theory suggests. Minor milestones are just as important as big breakthroughs, which are also much rarer.
The snowball method has been validated multiple times by researchers and can be observed within Harvard Business Review.
Pay Your Basic Necessities
No matter what your debts may be, your fixed expenses will always be around, and these are crucial. These may include rent, mortgage, car loans, insurance, just to name a few. It's a good idea to work out how much money you will need for such necessities each month, and set this aside. Treat it as money that you don't have, so you won't be tempted to spend it. Managing salary each month can be a very efficient way to alleviate financial pressure.
Choose and Automate a Saving Rate
In our opinion, a good saving rate will be the equivalent of approximately 20% of your income. However, we appreciate that this may need to be adjusted if you are suffering from a lot of financial pressure. Whatever the figure, any savings are a step in the right direction – just remember to automate it, so you're not able to use that money for anything else.
Start by dedicating a small percentage of your earnings to your savings account. Even if you can only contribute a small percentage each month, anything is better than nothing. You can always increase this figure as your financial situation improves – which it will.
Let's say you are only able to save about 5-10% this month (and that’s okay!), you can always increase that amount by 1% each following month.
If you make $3000, one percent is $30
If you make $6000, one percent is $60
If you add an extra 1% to your savings each month, at the end of the year you’ll be saving 12% more than your saving rate today. In 2 years, it will be 24% more than today.
If you do need to use all of your income on other things and don’t have enough money to save, alternatively you could have made extra money each month to cover the 1% saving.
Live on Whatever You Have Left
It's important to adjust your lifestyle and learn that managing salary is crucial. Hence, you can live on whatever money you have left. We don't suggest that you deprive yourself of anything good in life, but it's good to prioritize certain things.
Don't forget – your financial struggle will not last forever. Once you've fulfilled your financial responsibilities by using our simple 4 steps of anti-budgeting strategy, your future will be brighter and less stressful.
You might have to miss out on that cup of coffee today, but you'll be able to have many more in the future. We can guarantee you'll appreciate the efforts.
Here at The Logic of Money, we believe that personal finance shouldn't be stressful – it just takes a plan and the ability to stick to it. You can trust us to give useful, tailored advice, whatever your financial situation may be.