To help ease a bit of that anxiety, we’ve collected some helpful tips, hacks, apps, podcasts and books for you to peruse. It should go without saying, though, that you can get proper professional advice if you want to do anything major with your dosh.
Argh, money is stressful, right? If you’re anything like us, you’re pretty much always in a bit of a panic about your bank account. Maybe you’re trying to save for a deposit, maybe you’re trying to file your own taxes, maybe you’re just trying to budget between pay days. Whatever it is, money worries can keep you up at night.
1. Do an inventory of your finances
Not knowing what state your bank account is in will only exacerbate your financial anxiety. Get informed and stay up to date with your statements so you can track your cash flow and at least know what your situation is.
2. Spend less than you make
This sounds like an obvious one, but it’s a simple formula to remember for keeping your finances under control.
3. Listen to this new financial freedom podcast
Australian podcast queens Shameless Media have launched a brand new podcast called She’s On The Money. It’s hosted by millennial money expert Victoria Devine and the first episode is out now. It’s full of non-scary, actually-helpful advice to help you get your money woes sorted. Get it however you usually get your poddies.
4. Pick up this money-making bible
If you need a little help understanding your attitude to money and working on, you know, making some more, you need to grab a copy of You’re Not Broke You’re Pre-Rich: How to streamline your finances, stay in control of your bank balance and have more £££. It’s written by the founder of Vestpod, Emilie Bellet. The Finanical Times call it “a wise investment”.
5. Start a “fuck-off” fund
Women can get stuck in relationships, jobs and living siutations if they don’t have the financial freedom to leave. A couple years ago, Paulette Perhach wrote an essay about why every woman needs an emergency fund – or, what she called a “fuck-off fund”. It’s a special stash of money that you put aside for emergencies, like break-ups, job losses, bad landlords or anything from which you might need to escape.
6. Use this thrifty app to track your money and save, save, save
There are a lot of money-saving apps on the market, but this one is highly rated. Tandem helps you put aside little stashes of money, alerts you when money comes into your account and tells you if a bill is more expensive than it has been.
7. Open all those scary envelopes
If you’re the kind of person who likes to ignore post from your bank, change your ways. Staying informed, reading statements and actually opening your important mail is really necessary if you’re going to tame your financial anxiety.
8. Don’t use a credit card if you don’t have to
Apparently, credit cards tempt us to spend more on impulse purchases, possibly because it doesn’t feel like real money. Experts suggest using a debit card or actual cash to remind you that you’re spending your actual, hard-earned money.
9. Read this book by a bestselling money expert
Money: A User’s Guide is a Sunday Times Bestseller – and with good reason. Money expert Laura Whateley covers just about everything you might need help with: pensions, student loans, renting, buying, saving, investing, shares, stock, love and mental health.
10. Get Monzo so you can keep an eye on your money
Not only will you get a bright pink bank card, you’ll also be able to see every time you spend money, set a monthly budget, pay people easily and access helpful little summaries of where your money’s going. Oh, and when you travel, you can get money out without fees.
11. Ask for help when you need it
A lot companies and banks will help you out if you’re struggling to make certain payments. You can find out more about your options and rights at Citizens Advice.
12. Download this app to start your investment portfolio
Could this be any easier? Moneybox helps you get a start on an investment portfolio by rounding up your spending to the nearest pound and investing the change. So every time you get an Uber, a coffee or a takeaway, the app will take your spare change and add it to a little stash.
13. Invest with an app designed specifically for women
Ellevest was designed to help women invest. It looks at your financial status, your income, your job and your goals and does the investing for you, via an app. The company was set up by women, for women, and takes into account that we are all much less likely to invest our money (and that we’re typically paid less).
14. Understand your relationship to money
Do you save because you grew up without much money? Are you a big spender because your mama was? Our attitude to money is shaped by our history, our family and our upbringing. It’ll help if you understand where you got your approach to money.
15. Deal with your debt
Ideally, you’d limit your debt payments to 40 per cent of your salary. You could work with a financial coach or a friend or family member who is savvy with money and work out a plan to cut your debt sensibly.
16. Look out for discounts
If you’re buying something major online, try leaving it in your cart for a few days or weeks, in case it goes on sale. Grab it then.
17. Resist email offers by unsubscribing
If you accidentally or deliberately signed up to get special offers from some brand you bought one thing from once and you’re tempted by shiny deals all the time, unsubscribe. Use this site to do it easily.
18. Use up all your products
Do you sometimes buy new skincare or makeup before you’ve finished your usual stuff? Stop. Make a little pledge to yourself to finish up all of one product before buying anything new.
19. Commit to slow fashion
Rather than buying new outfits from high street stores every time you need to go somewhere, commit to wearing your beloved old clothes again and again.
20. Talk to your friends about money
Money’s a bit of a taboo, isn’t it? Break that down by talking openly with your friends about money. Share as much as you feel comfortable sharing: your fears, your salary, your goals.
21. Talk about money openly as a couple
Money stress can seriously affect your romantic relationship. It’s infamous for causing squabbles and breakups, so speak about it openly with your partner early on in your relationship, particularly if you’re saving for something together or splitting costs and definitely if one of you makes more than the other.
Women are notoriously less likely to get a pay rise request approved. The gender pay gap in the UK is 18 per cent. If we’re going to fight for pay equality, it helps to know what our peers are being paid. Be open and honest about what you make and ask what people around you make, especially if they’re doing a comparable job.
23. Pay yourself first
Rather than just going for it and spending money freely as soon as pay day arrives, pay yourself a certain amount of money that you’re willing and able to spend on leisure that month, like going out for dinner, new clothes, drinks and activities.
24. Increase your savings gently
Experts always say you should be saving at least 10 per cent of your salary. If that’s not possible right now, don’t panic. Start off by putting aside 1 per cent, then when you can, bump it up to 2 per cent.
25. See a therapist
If your money anxiety starts to really affect the way you live your life, you might want to consider talking to a therapist about it. Sometimes, our financial anxiety doesn’t even correspond with the legit money problems we have (people with plenty of money don’t necessarily stop panicking), so if you feel like you’re worrying excessively, it could really help to talk it out and work on some strategies to stay calm.