So it’s tax time. This is typically a stressful time of year for many people. Even under the best of circumstances finances tend to raise anxiety levels. Most of us have debt so this is a common concern. Every month we pay a mortgage or rent, a car payment, credit card debt, student loan debt, utilities, child care, etc. Debt is almost inescapable. How we view and respond to debt is what dictates how we feel and act.
Because money-related issues tend to raise anxiety people tend not to talk about them openly. If you’re in a relationship where you share debt with someone this can exacerbate the worry and stress, particularly if you have different views on spending and saving. But talking about money worries is one of the things that can help lessen the stress we feel. Any time we can talk openly about our worries we lessen the heaviness of them.
In addition to talking about these worries it’s critical to have a plan. Because shopping is an enjoyable activity for some people, it is sometimes used a stress reliever. But if your stress is about money, then shopping to relieve stress will actually make the problem worse, not better.
To begin to change your financial concerns, get everything out on the table with your partner. It’s important to take an honest look at your financial picture and how you are spending money. Then make a plan. If you have a goal in mind, such as being debt free or taking a vacation, it’s easier to skip the daily Starbucks or the impulsive purchase at the mall.
Be sure to create a plan to deal with stress if shopping is one of your stress relievers. You’ll need to replace that with something that doesn’t cost money, such as reading, meditating, listening to inspirational podcasts or TedTalks, etc. It’s not enough to stop spending. If you don’t create other strategies to decrease your stress you are more likely to give in to the temptation of pampering yourself through shopping.