I did not win the Powerball last month.
And chances are, if you’re reading this, neither did you. My husband and I always buy a Powerball ticket when the amount goes above 100 million. Because anything below that is just pocket change, right? 🙂 Once the tickets are bought we start to dream of how we would spend the money. We would live on the family farm and pay off all our sibling’s houses. We would give more, we would travel the world with our kids, we would have a college fund fully funded for them, etc. etc. etc.
The thought of not having to worry about money is so enticing. It’s not so much the trips we could take and the money we could give – it really is the thought that we wouldn’t have to think about the cost and we could do as we prayerfully and thoughtfully wanted to do. And the stress of money would be gone….
And then we watch the numbers and out of four Powerball tickets we realize we only got one number. Back to real life.
Money is stressful. Every month when I go to check our account and pay our bills, I get in a cranky mood because I think of all the ways we could have saved more. Why did my hubby have to buy that pop and chips at the grocery store? We didn’t need it. Why did I buy that piano music on Amazon that I had been wanting? Could I not wait until my birthday?
Here’s five tips to relieve some of the financial stress. There isn’t a miracle solution. I don’t really think there’s something that can ever make money worries go away 100%. Not even the Powerball. There is always going to be something that pops up that can bust your budget. But we can take the baby steps towards financial confidence that can lessen the stress so that we’re reaching towards freedom and not toward bondage with our money.
Set a budget and follow it.
I’m probably a broken record here, but if you don’t know how much money you’re making and where that money is going, you’ll soon find yourself overwhelmed. There is so much freedom in telling your money where to go.
Splurge a little.
Even when my husband was in grad school and I was staying at home with our son, we splurged every week on a dinner out. It wasn’t a fancy dinner, and it wasn’t really that expensive of a dinner but it was a splurge none the less because of our very, very tight budget. It feels good to live a little, so make sure you do.
Talk about it with your spouse.
We have a joint checking account. We share the bills and the money that comes in 100%. That was a commitment we made on our wedding day. But if we don’t talk about it, we stress about it. That stress builds individually until an explosion happens. Sit down once a week and talk through your money.
Pay off your debt.
There is nothing more stressful than debt hanging over your head. Our house and our van is the only debt we have. I wish we didn’t have our van, but that’s our reality and we’re working towards paying it off. When we got married, we had a bit of credit card debt and as soon as we were able to pay that off, there was a HUGE weight lifted off our shoulders. If you have debt, work hard to get rid of it.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
It’s hard to not play the comparison game of what others are doing and what others have. Being content with what we have been given, is an everyday heart check. (Darn you Facebook and Instagram pictures.) But we really do not know the story of others. We’re only in control of our own. Work toward your goals and keep the blinders on when it comes to looking at what others financially have. It’s hard, I know it. But as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.
Since we’re not planning to go Amish anytime soon to enjoy life unplugged, it’s important for my husband and I to take baby steps toward taking control of our finances. Knowing where each little penny is, is very freeing. If we don’t keep those things in check we see how much we could miss out in the future. It’s the trips I imagine missing out on, it’s the calm and balance to our family dynamic. That is what is important.
If you’re looking to bring peace and control to our finances, I highly encourage you to take this Quiz to get yourself started. Using your money wisely is a day to day challenge. It’s baby steps towards your goals.
We all must try.
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. When you feel confident about your money, you can save for your goals and spend knowingly on what matters most to you.
The onUp movement was created to guide millions of people one step at a time towards a more financially confident life without ever losing sight of the moments that matter along the way.
Join the growing number of people transforming their stress into positive motivation to move onUp.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.