Have you ever actually felt, “sick to your stomach” about your money problems? The Guardian Life Insurance company recently released a study that found that anxiety over personal finances is the leading cause of emotional stress in America today. A majority of workers said money was their main source of stress, and that this stress contributes to lower physical wellness. If dealing with collections calls or running out of money during the month and struggling to pay bills has ever given you a headache or made you feel nervous, then you know exactly what this financial stress feels like.
If you’re sick and tired of being stressed out by debt, lack of savings or how to make your budget work every month, then take advantage of any or all of these free (or low cost) resources from the non-profit National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).
Face your finances: You can learn more about your specific financial strengths and weaknesses as well as how to improve them by using the free, interactive “My Money Checkup” offered by the NFCC. Also, by facing your financial problems without making excuses for the behavior, you will be ready to work on solutions. If you have trouble with unexpected expenses, debt or having enough money every month, it’s a clear sign that you are overspending. This free tool can point you toward the problems and learning new financial skills to solve them.
Learn more about personal finance. Once you are more aware of your financial weaknesses, you may feel unsure of your knowledge about handling your finances.The quickest way to develop more confidence in your financial skills is to learn more about managing your personal finances. Discover different ways to pay down your debt, raise your credit, build a cash emergency fund and even start to save money for your future. On the Shopperfund Blog, for example, we write about banking, spending, saving and credit regularly with the goal of giving you tips to improve your finances at every turn.
Consider free or low-cost professional help: In the most recent NFCC poll, 44% of respondents said they were most likely to reach out to a parent or other family member first when experiencing financial distress. While debt collectors and emergencies can put pressure on you to find a fast cash solution, a cash bailout from a family member often does nothing to prevent the situation from happening again in the future. The NFCC advises that family members may not be in the best position to offer suitable solutions because they are often not aware of all your choices and tools available to help solve your financial problems. Credit counselors are professionals who are aware of all your choices and can help you work out a debt management plan with your creditors that fits your budget. Together, you will create a realistic plan based on your exact income and expenses to pay back creditors while improving your credit at the same time. While this route may take longer, it is less stressful in the long run when you stick to it because you are actively solving and preventing financial problems both now and in your future.
Help pay down debt even faster by purchasing your monthly necessities online through your free Shopperfund account. This way you stay out of the stores and you earn PayOff Credits which can be applied to any debt or bill.
The author is a paid contributor to the Shopperfund Blog.