I read a hundred little articles a day on various subjects. Okay, well a hundred maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but I do read a fair amount. Some are interesting, some eye rolling, and some are even helpful. Whenever I find one I think a friend will like I email them the link. This morning I read this piece on stress and money. I have found a great many people in my age range, 23-30, are just starting out, graduating, trying to find jobs, paying off student loans, and money can be tight and it sucks. I was very luck that my parents paid for my entire undergrad and even gave me spending money so I didn’t have to work during the year, however, I did work in the summer. Law school and grad school, financially, are my responsibility. I, again, am lucky because I received scholarships to pay for my tuition, but I did have to take out loans for living expenses and books and now I have the joy of paying those back.
What makes bills so frustrating is that instead of spending my hard earned money on things I want, like maybe that new dress or a vacation, it goes to rent, student loans, groceries, etc.. living at home with my parents never looked so good. What I’m trying to say, is that lack of funds can be stressful and learning to deal with the stress of no money and even different types of stress can be just as tough. Every time I sit down to pay bills and balance the checkbook I remind myself that while money is tight, it’s not as bad as it could be. John and I still get to go out to eat occasionally, I still get a few new things that I want each month, we have 3 pets that we can afford to take care of, we can go out for ice cream at Cold Stone, I got two new dresses from the J. Crew Clearance Center for a wedding we just went to, the small things that I tend over look when I see that ending balance for the month. Sometimes it can be hard not to be selfish or materialistic and get bitter about having hand-me-down furniture instead of the new coffee table from Pottery Barn that I’ve been eyeing. But at the end of the day, I have a coffee table and there are a lot of people starting out who don’t have any furniture. I actually do have a few really nice pieces of furniture…I really do dislike our couch though, I’m sorry, but I hate it.
My husband and I were talking about “starting out in life” and we have some friends who have never had a financial problem a day in their life, and probably never will, but some of these friends are not thankful for what they have. Being strapped for cash, as I have said, sucks, but while it can take a negative toll on your relationship, but it can also bring you closer. Instead of going to the bar or to some crowded place to hang out with each other or friends, John and I hang out at home and read or watch Netflix together, we walk the dog, go to the pool, just hang out. Relationships, both friends and romantic, can be clouded by all the stuff and social activities to where the core can be lost. Some of the best nights we’ve had with our friends have been hanging out at someone’s apt or townhouse. These days remind me a great deal of college, and I like that. I miss college days and lounging about with friends, and I feel like lately, we’ve been getting back to those days, just instead of classes on Monday morning we have work.
Now that I’ve given a good long rambling, here is what I initially wanted to post. I found these tips on how to deal with stress and some of them are actually pretty good, others are common sense (you wouldn’t believe how many people don’t practice them), and others I just glossed over. Either way, it’s not a bad read and if you’re stressed, take it from the queen of being stressed out, sometimes you have to take just 5 minutes to look at the things you have or have bought or done in the past week to see that sometimes, it isn’t all terrible. I mean you did stop by Starbucks and get a drink without thinking about it, right? Cause I totally stopped and got a giant Kit-Kat this morning.
Handling Stress in a Tough Economy: When money is tight, we get tense. Here’s how to manage the stress that often comes with financial instability.
By Katherine Raymond
Money can’t buy happiness. But let’s face it, money trouble sure can make you unhappy. Though Wall Street number-crunchers may tell us the economy is on the rebound, millions of Americans are still feeling the pinch in their wallets — and the stress that comes with it.
Concerns about making ends meet can take a toll on your job performance, your personal relationships, and your sense of well-being. We asked Carmen Wong Ulrich, personal finance expert and author of The Real Cost of Living (Perigee, 2010), what you can do to feel more in control of your financial situation. Here are five ways to keep money troubles from getting you down:
1) Control what you can.
2) Don’t let money matters distract you.
3) Don’t be afraid to talk about it.
4) Take responsibility for your money.
“It helps to take a step back and view your finances as if you were the CFO of a company — or your own accountant,” Wong Ulrich suggests. Approaching your finances from a more empowered perspective is good for your bank account and your stress level.
5) Focus on the positives.
Financial issues don’t go away overnight. But if you stay positive and focus on smart long-term choices, you’ll feel more empowered and less stressed.