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This is a guest post by Cassie and David from Living Low Key. A few years ago they decided to change their lives by creating a budget, paying off debt, and saving $140,000 and counting!
How many of us spend our whole lives worrying about money? I know I used to. I used to stress about money all the time!
Would I have enough money for bills this month? Would I have enough money to fly home and visit family? Would I have enough money for this or that?? I felt like worrying about money consumed my life and I was sick of it!
Does that sound familiar? I want you to know that there is a way to stop worrying about money. I know it’s possible because I found a way to do it. It’s been quite a while since I worried about money or if I was going to have enough to pay the bills.
I’m not telling you this to brag, I’m telling you this so that you know it’s possible. Even more importantly, I am going to tell you some actionable steps you can take to stop worrying about money.
The best part about all of this is that you don’t have to make a six-figure salary to stop worrying about money. I can assure you there are plenty of “rich” people out there that still worry about money. These steps are meant for anyone on any income level.
Once you stop worrying about money all the time, you’ll be able to live a more enjoyable and fulfilling life. Let’s get started, here are 6 steps you NEED to take so you can stop worrying about money.
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Build A Budget
I’m going to start with what I truly believe was the key to being less stressed about money, A BUDGET!! Back when I was always worried about how much money I had, it was because I didn’t have any control over the little money I did have.
I wasn’t telling my money where to go or how to work for me, I was just trying to keep up with all the bills I had. It wasn’t until I built a budget that I really started to understand my financial situation.
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Living on a budget showed me where every dollar was going so I wasn’t left guessing where it all disappeared to at the end of the month.
Building a budget allowed me to direct my money towards things I truly enjoyed in life like traveling. If you aren’t living on a budget or your budget just never seems to work, I’ve got you covered right here. This is the best place to start if you want to learn how to control your finances.
Don’t forget to join the FREE Iliketodabble Save & Side Hustle Facebook Group for people who want to save more, make more, travel more and most importantly, live more.
Start Your Emergency Fund
Once you have your budget in place, it’s time to start saving for emergencies!
I’d be willing to bet that one of the reasons you stress about money is the thought of an unexpected expense. I know this because I used to be there. I used to be afraid of my car breaking down or something as simple as having to buy a new toaster.
Imagine how it would feel to have an emergency fund. Think about how nice it would be if something where to break and you already have the money saved to fix it. That’s the power of an emergency fund.
Use the budget you created earlier to start saving for emergencies. Aim for $1,000 to start out and then work your way up to an emergency fund that can cover five to six months of expenses. Find out how to build a $1,000 emergency fund in just 3 months here.
Right now, my husband and I have a 7-month emergency fund. That means if we had no income for 7 months, we could still pay all our bills and put food on the table. Having the emergency fund is an immediate stress reliever.
Related posts: How To Create A Budget When You Are Horrible With Money
Pay Off Your Debt
Debt is a major reason that most people worry about money. There is nothing worse than when you know you have bills to pay and you just don’t have enough money to pay them all.
I know that feeling, I’ve been there before. Have I mentioned that we used to suck with money??
There was a point in my life where my husband and I were carrying $30,000 in car loans and several thousand more in student loans. Yea, you could say we stressed about money a little bit.
When we finally decided to pay off our debt we got really serious about it. We came up with a bunch of different ways to save money, even when we were a single income household, so that we could pay down our debt FAST!
It was worth it, we paid off all our debt in under 3 years! I want you to know that if you get serious about controlling your finances, start living below your means, and sacrifice a little bit you too can pay off all your debt.
Once you pay off your debt, you’ll find that your stress levels regarding money go WAY DOWN!! The moment you make your last payment on your last bill, that’s when you’re really going to start loving life! Being debt free opens up a lot of opportunities for you to do the things you love.
Collect Memories, Not Stuff
One of my personal favorite ways to reduce how much I worry about money was by giving up buying new things. My family makes a conscious effort to live with what we have and be happy with that.
We found that by not buying the latest smart phone, getting a 65” TV, or trading in our car for a new one every 3 years, we were much happier and money wasn’t a concern. We saved for the things that would help us enjoy life more and create lasting memories, not temporary euphoria.
We bought our first house in 2017. It’s not a big house and we always talk about how we don’t need that much space, we would just end up accumulating junk. We saved up $20,000 in a single year so we could buy that house.
Could we have bought a bigger house? Yes, but it would have cost more and had more space to accumulate things we didn’t need. We wanted to have money to do the things we love in life, not be broke because of a huge mortgage. Remember, we are trying to collect memories not stuff.
I want you to try this for just one month, buy only the things you absolutely need. When you’re not buying things that give you temporary happiness you can focus on the things that truly bring joy to your life. Not to mention you won’t be wasting money on things that will just collect dust on a shelf somewhere.
Related posts: 22 Creative Ways To Turn Your Clutter Into Cash
Diversify Your Income
You’ve probably heard people say you need to diversify your portfolio but they’re generally talking about your investment accounts. I want you to diversify your portfolio, but when I say it I want you to think of it as your income.
Right now, you probably have one job, maybe two, that provide you with an income. What happens if you were to lose that job? You’d be pretty stressed out!
Now think about what it would be like if you didn’t have to worry about losing your job because you had other sources of income. That would be amazing, wouldn’t it??
To really reduce your stress levels regarding money, I want you to start looking for ways to diversify your income. There are so many different ways to make money, you just have to find the one that works for you.
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Plan For Retirement But Enjoy The Present
We talk about saving money and retirement planning a lot on our site Living Low Key. It’s important to plan for the future so that you can retire comfortably. What I don’t want you to do is get tunnel vision on retirement and not enjoy your life!
It’s easy to stress yourself about whether or not you’re saving enough for retirement. You get so focused on how much you need to retire, are you saving enough each paycheck, how old will you be when you retire, or what retirement account should you use.
Don’t get so focused on retirement in the future that you miss living in the present time.
What I recommend is you find a mentor or a financial advisor that can get you started on the right track. Use that person to help you get your retirement savings put on autopilot.
The best thing you can do for yourself to stop worrying about how much money you’ll have for retirement is start early and set it up to be automatic. Don’t miss out on life because you’re too focused on something that will happen decades from now!
There it is, 6 ways to help you stop worrying about money. Keep in mind that money troubles don’t go away overnight. Think about it as a long-term game and you’ll have to be willing to work hard to get there.
I can promise you that once you get to the point where your finances are the least of your concerns, that’s when you can truly start enjoying life!!
Related posts: 12+ Side Hustle Ideas To Make Extra Cash This Month
Resources That I Can’t Live Without
Below are my top recommendations for saving money, making money and living a more frugal and sustainable lifestyle.
Trim: Trim will negotiate lower bills for you without you ever having to do a thing besides entering your bill and bank info when you sign up. Trim negotiated a savings amount of $17.40 a month on our AT&T bill. This will put us on track for a yearly savings of $208.80 just from lowering our cell phone bill with no consequence or loss of quality!
Nielsen: Nielsen will pay you for your internet usage. All you have to do is download their app and register your devices. It is noninvasive, will not impact your device’s performance and is 100% secure. Then you get rewarded for using the internet like you do any other day! I currently have it installed on all of my devices and it is nice for a little extra income.
Swagbucks: Swagbucks is where you can earn points called swagbucks or SB that transfer into real dollars. Earn money by taking surveys, shopping online, watching videos, discovering content or downloading other apps. Every 100 SB = $1.00 USD.
Cashback Research: Get paid up to $75 per survey and $150 per clinical study. Sign up with my link to get $5.
HealthyWage: You can participate in individual weight loss challenges where you set a specific goal using their calculator and get paid when you reach that goal. There are also jackpot challenges where you compete as an individual or as a team and if you win you can split the jackpot, or step challenges where if goals are met you can split the pot of earnings.
Magic Ears: Work from anywhere you want through their online teaching portal and be your own boss, no degree required. (Updated 12/8/2018: They now require a bachelors degree or above) You will make $26 per hour for your time and their application process is pretty painless.
Inbox Dollars: Inbox Dollars will pay you to read emails, take surveys, play games, complete offers and much more. You basically get paid to play around on your phone to pass the time when you are bored. Did I mention they pay you an additional $5 just for signing up? Click here to learn more.