If you’re anxious about your finances and have an unhealthy relationship with money, you’re not alone. According to a recent study, 90% of Americans say that money affects their stress levels. A further 65% feel like can’t overcome their financial difficulties.
Building a healthier, more productive relationship with money is possible. But you may have to change some of your attitudes and behaviors to get there. If you want to beat your financial anxiety and take control of your money, here are four unhealthy habits and mindsets to avoid.
Beating Yourself Up Over Money Mistakes
One unhealthy money habit I’m guilty of is beating myself up over financial mistakes. If I slip up and spend more than I’ve budgeted for the month, I criticize myself pretty harshly. But no one is perfect, so we have to treat ourselves with compassion when we mess up and seek to learn from our missteps.
Instead of blaming myself, I’m trying to figure out what leads me to overspend so I can prevent it from happening in the future. By observing my spending patterns without judgment, I’ve learned that I usually break my budget when I’m stressed out. So I’m working on developing healthier emotional coping strategies so I don’t shop to alleviate my anxiety, such as seeing a therapist or going for a walk.
Determining why you slipped up and changing your behavior is healthier and more effective than beating yourself up over your money mistakes. So if you’re hard on yourself like I am, try to go easier on yourself the next time you get off track.
Ignoring Your Finances
Ignoring my finances was another unhealthy money habit I used to engage in. When I was nervous about my spending habits and worried I overdid it, I would avoid checking my credit card and bank account balances.
But sticking your head in the sand and pretending your financial problems don’t exist doesn’t make them go away. If you don’t face your debt or overspending habits head on, it will only make your financial situation worse and increase your anxiety.
To break this bad money habit, I made checking my account balances a daily part of my routine. That way I always know what my money situation looks like and can stay on top of it, which helps prevent overspending and debt accumulation.
Refusing to Budget
Many people think that setting a budget is restrictive, limiting, and a form of self-deprivation. But creating a realistic budget and sticking to it is actually a form of self-care that can really help your mental health.
When you refuse to budget, it’s harder to meet your financial obligations and save for the future. If you don’t create some kind of spending plan to guide your financial decisions, you’ll probably end up living paycheck to paycheck. Feeling like you’re running out of money at the end of the month is ultimately much more stressful than budgeting.
Budgeting may seem difficult, but there are so many apps out there designed to make things easier, such as You Need a Budget. There are also countless videos and articles online about how to make a balanced spending plan that allows you to enjoy life while saving for your financial goals.
Comparing Your Financial Situation to Other People’s
The last unhealthy money habit I’m going to mention is comparing your financial situation to other people’s. The internet makes it easier than ever to see how your peers are doing financially. Many people have their own personal finance blog or YouTube channel and post updates about their net worth and career growth. I’m guilty of watching these channels and feeling defeated that I don’t have six-figures in my investment account yet.
However, you have to remember that everyone’s financial journey is different. It can be difficult to watch friends, family members, or online influencers hit financial milestones like buying a house or getting a new car before you. But you just have to focus on your own path and try to do the best you can with the resources and opportunities you’ve been given.
Are there any unhealthy money habits that you want to break? Let me know in the comments section below!
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