Budget Wisely, Communicate and Set Goals to Avoid Financial Stress

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American Consumer Credit Counseling provides consumers with six tips to avoid a stressful financial life

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Although it can be uncomfortable, talking about your financial concerns, being honest about your financial limitations and taking concrete steps to strengthen your financial situation can help to reduce stress.

Money is one of the leading causes of stress and despair. In fact, consumers consistently cite money as a major concern and worry, with as many as seven in 10 Americans admitting they have cried over their finances.

Financial stress can stem from all sorts of challenges: not making enough money to make ends meet, overwhelming debt, and trying to save for college, a home, or retirement. The pressure of challenging personal finances can strain health and relationships. Fortunately, there are some reliable ways to minimize this stress, according to national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling.

“The stress of finances can hit especially hard during the holidays when consumers are spending more than usual,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Although it can be uncomfortable, talking about your financial concerns, being honest about your financial limitations and taking concrete steps to strengthen your financial situation can help to reduce stress.”

According to a study by Northwestern Mutual, 87 percent of consumers say they are most happy and confident when their finances are in order. The study also found that 54 percent of consumers experience anxiety due to finances, 52 percent experience insecurity, and 48 percent experience fear. Money is a dominant source of stress for most people surveyed (48 percent) – far outweighing personal relationships (25 percent) and work (18 percent).

To help reduce financial stress in your life, try these simple steps:

1. Make a budget – Budgeting is the cornerstone of responsible financial planning. Making a budget helps consumers decide how they will be spending their hard-earned money each month. Consumers should use a budgeting worksheet to outline their budget and customize their spending plan.

2. Communicate – Although uncomfortable at times, it can be helpful for consumers to talk about their financial fears to their spouse or family members. By communicating with family about this delicate topic, people can work together to find a solution and reduce stress.

3. Track spending – Consumers should try to track their spending each day and review their expenses at the end of each month.

4. Track progress – By tracking milestones on their road to a stronger financial picture, consumers can find positives while visualizing progress towards their financial goals.

5. Start an emergency fund – Get rid of the “what if” worries by building an emergency fund. This way, if one of those unexpected expenses pops up, consumers will have money saved to cover these expenses.

6. Set goals – Consumers should set goals for what they want to achieve financially, such us saving for retirement, buying a house, etc. They should make sure their goals are measurable and definitive to help prioritize spending and saving each month.

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx

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Marissa Sullivan
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