Apr 16, 20193 min read

Managing money and mental health.

Daisy Buchanan portrait

by Daisy Buchanan

Make some tiny tweaks to your finances, and keep calm when it comes to cash.

Managing our finances doesn’t just test our maths skills – for many of us, trying to stay in control of our cash makes us stressed, depressed and anxious. The charity Money And Mental Health has found that money worries cause mental health problems for thousands of us. However, it only takes a few changes to feel significantly better about our finances – and when you start to change your money mindset, you can move towards financial freedom. Here’s how.

Money is emotional – embrace it!

Money fills us with feelings. What we earn can have an impact on the way we value ourselves, and the items and experiences we spend it on certainly does. Think about the purchase that made you the happiest, and the one that made you feel the most disappointed. Do you buy a payday treat to celebrate your hard work, or to cheer yourself up because you don’t enjoy your job? Bring a little bit of mindfulness and emotional awareness to the way you spend, and you’ll soon start to learn more about your individual relationship with your cash.

Assess your situation.

According to a 2018 study, many of us are too nervous to check our bank balances, and we’re losing sleep over money worries. This can’t be a coincidence. Looking at the number in your account is never fun, but it’s always more enjoyable than lying awake in the dark at four o’clock in the morning, worrying about what it might be. Work out exactly where you are with your money and you’ll feel much happier in the long run.

Know you’re not alone.

When we hear about people who have tips on how to make their first million, or how they bought their first house by giving up takeaway coffee, it’s not necessarily inspiring – especially if you’re struggling. Instead, try going online and searching for stories from people who have struggled with money. It will put your experiences into perspective, and stop you from feeling lonely and isolated. This website has some great personal stories.

Start small with savings – and make a money goal.

Many money gurus will say it’s best to pay off your debts before you start saving – but if you can put even a pound aside every month, it will make you feel as though you’re in charge of your money, and not the other way round. Saving for something very specific will inspire you. Instead of saving cash for a house deposit, which can feel quite distant and abstract, put money towards visiting a restaurant you’ve always wanted to go to, or a train ticket to see an old friend who lives on the other side of the country. The more focused you are on a particular goal, the easier it will be to save up – and you’ll feel so proud of yourself when you achieve it that you might set yourself a new one.