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7 Ways to Ease Financial Stress and Manage Your Money

With the current coronavirus pandemic having a detrimental effect on the economy, many people have suffered financially as a result.  

Considering the current state of unemployment, closures of businesses and the uncertainty of the economy, it is understandable that you might be feeling stressed about your finances. 

This stress, however, can have a detrimental impact on your mental health and wellbeing. Not knowing whether you have enough money to pay your bills, eat, or keep a roof over your head is enough to keep you up at night!  

Learning to manage your finances, like anything else, takes time. To master it, you need commitment and a deep understanding of your financial situation.  

These are the first steps to effective fund management. Taking control keeps your financial life in order which is crucial for reducing financial stress. 

If you have money management issues or want to know how to reduce financial stress, here are some tips that can improve your financial habits: 

1. Look on the bright side 

It’s better to focus on the positive aspects of finances rather than the negative ones. Of course, positive thinking won’t magically pay bills or increase your budget, but it can help alleviate your fears.  

It can also help you recognize and appreciate your financial strength, which could solve some of your issues. Take a piece of paper and start listing the positives of your money management skills.  

Perhaps, you have a good job, or you save money regularly through savings or have a great emergency fund?  

Even if things are stressful or money makes you anxious, spending a little time focusing on the right direction can help you stay calm and conscious. 

By thinking about the positives, you can start to develop a plan for the future. 

2. Create a budget 

You may feel overwhelmed and think that creating a budget will only increase your financial stress; but, it’s the best way for you to control your finances and stop worrying about where your money is going.  

A budget allows you to decide when and how to use the money you earn.  

This spending plan will ensure that you can cover your immediate expenses while continuing to work toward your savings goal. Budgeting can also generate extra funds to help you pay off debts quickly.  

Planning and sticking to a budget is extremely challenging; but, once you understand what to do, you can usually reduce the time you spend on it, which in turn reduces the time you spend worrying about money. 

3. Don’t shy away from getting help 

If you have spending issues and find it tricky for you to control your budget, please don’t be afraid to seek outside help. You can take basic money management and investment courses to help you plan your budget and do what you need to do to succeed financially.  

A financial planner can also help you formulate long-term savings and investment strategies to help you meet current needs and plans.  

If you feel that your debts are overwhelming, you can work with credit counselling services to help you restructure your debts, and in some cases, you can also negotiate with creditors.  

If you need help creating a budget and staying on top of your finances, Ceed might be able to help! Take a look at our money management service for more information. 

4. Have an emergency fund 

An emergency fund is a savings account used to pay for unexpected expenses and financial emergencies.  

Take car repairs, for example. They can be expensive and stressful; however, if you know you can use your emergency fund to pay for them, much of that stress will go away. 

If you know that you have sufficient money in your bank account, then you wouldn’t be worried about covering unexpected financial emergencies that may arise.  

Until you’re out of debt, you should have at least £1,000 in your emergency fund. So, your goal should be to set aside three to six months of savings for living expenses.  

Establishing an emergency fund may seem difficult at first, especially if you struggle to make ends meet every month. You should aim to set aside a small amount of money first like £10 or £100 per month. You could also consider selling any unused items around the house to put towards the fund. 

5. Rid yourself of debt 

The first thing to do, if you have debt, is to control it and try to get rid of it. 

If you have credit cards, student loans and other debts; seek to combine them and try to get the lowest possible interest rate. Again, this is about taking the right steps to control your money. 

Some options allow you to combine multiple unsecured debts (such as credit cards, personal loans, and payday loans) into one bill instead of paying them separately.  

If you have only credit card debt and a tight budget, try to pay the minimum amount as soon as possible after receiving the credit card bill.  

Afterwards, if your finances allow you and you come across more money, try to pay the same amount of debt repayment in a few weeks.  

Try to maintain this repayment cycle until your debt is fully paid off. 

6. Find some secondary income 

We sometimes have no choice but to cut our budget from time to time, and we need to be careful not to let a tight budget become a source of additional stress. Another way to alleviate economic tensions is to take measures to increase your personal profits.  

In the current economic environment, increasing profits may seem difficult, but it is not impossible. 

The easiest way to earn more is to work a few more hours each week if your employer allows you. If you can’t increase hours, you can find other ways to make money. A few new, unconventional, ways to make money through this pandemic have emerged 

For example, you could do some basic online tutoring in your field of expertise and subjects that you are familiar with. Or you could do paid proofreading in your spare time. Taking up some freelance work on the side can help you earn a little extra cash here and there. 

7. Be mildly concerned 

Even though being constantly concerned with money will harm your well-being, keeping some focus on your financial situation can protect you from making poor spending and saving decisions.  

In some cases, mild financial anxiety can be helpful. For example, focusing on the future can motivate you to start saving more seriously. Furthermore, the added precaution of sticking to your budget can protect you from overspending each month.  

Anxiety can also help investment decisions. If your instincts tell you that opportunities are risky, you may need to speak with a financial advisor to invest your funds in lower-risk opportunities.  

Although being anxious about the future is a passive way of dealing with finances, positively respecting money and treating it appropriately can help you plan ahead and control your cash. 

The bottom line 

The most important thing is that staying up late and worrying about money won’t magically make cash appear in a depleted bank account or help you decide how to save for retirement. 

On the contrary, learning to calm your fears and be confident in your financial choices is a matter of education, action, and respect.  

When you find a positive way to control your financial situation, you may find that the anxiety caused by checking bank balances will dissipate, which is conducive to control and trust. 

Finally, if you feel like you need a professional team to advise you on how to effectively reduce financial stress then check out our service! 

Why Tracking Your Progress Is Important

Setting aside that largest and most important assignment to the last minute, whether it be in the workplace or at school, doesn’t sound like a biggie when you are keeping yourself occupied with other small, mundane tasks. You’re still being productive with your time, right? 

Wrong. Due date looms and you’re scrambling to complete that assignment, relinquishing the fact that you clearly underestimated the time and effort needed to finish it. 

Staying committed to what matters most can be difficult when presented with a variety of tedious tasks throughout the day. 

But, how can you change this?

Small tasks that can be easily ticked off the to-do list give us that immediate but temporary buzz of satisfaction, and the pleasure of this tends to signal that we are being productive (which is not necessarily true!). 

Don’t get us wrong, small wins are certainly motivating and shouldn’t be discredited – however, completion bias – where the brain specifically seeks the hit of dopamine one gets from completing a task – can deter us from striving for the completion of larger, more important tasks. 

Smaller, quicker tasks to complete = more frequent doses of dopamine, and so the completion bias tends to nudge us towards easy-to-complete tasks, leaving the larger and more difficult tasks missing a tick off from the to-do list.  

So how do you not let the completion bias deter you from important, meaningful work? 

You should set out a method that acknowledges your progress. 

“Most of us make advances small and large every single day, but we fail to notice them because we lack a method for acknowledging our progress. This is a huge loss.”

Teresa Amabile 

Plan Your Progress To Stay Purposeful 

“It’s important to know your priorities… that may sound obvious but it’s amazing how many people don’t identify their top three to five priorities — or fail to change how they structure their workdays when priorities change”

Gino and Staats

Making plans and tracking progress is incredibly important for productivity.  

Acknowledging both what you have done (progress) and what you are doing (plan) enables you to reflect on your effort and to have more insight into the value you are creating. This naturally makes you more purposeful and mindful about the work you do.  

When you don’t set in place methods for tracking progress, you lose the ability to set meaningful, effective goals – your days instead end up being filled with meaningless work. 

Minimising context-switching of the brain with smaller tasks and being more thoughtful in what one does correlates with an increase in the completion of higher utility tasks and allows one to dive deeper in the notion of ‘quality over quantity’ – deterring us from the cons of the completion bias.  

Ways To Keep Track Of Your Progress 

  • Break up large tasks into smaller chunks: By doing this, you can reek in the frequent buzz of satisfaction achieved from completing smaller chunks which can act as massive motivators and push you towards fully completing the large task.   
  • Establish regular and consistent reviews: Installing weekly or monthly reviews to reflect on the busy work life can help ensure that “what matters most” is kept top of mind. Highs and lows of the workweek can be contemplated to ensure that improvements are made in the future.  
  • Set smaller daily quotas: Finishing the day with 80% of the work still ahead of you can be disheartening – start each day with a brand new daily quota that can be achieved as a forward motion.  
  • Use Ceed to track progress on specific goals and projects: Ceed can help you achieve your long-term goals by supporting you on a day-to-day basis. Through the app, Ceed checks up on you every day to make sure you stay focused on your personal goals and desired habits.  

Ultimately, staying committed to what matters most relies on the valuable insight of your progress, where one can plan the development of purposeful work. Without this methodology, completion bias can detain us from working on large, important tasks and instead propel us towards smaller, easy-to-complete tasks.  

How to Set Up and Maintain your Student Budget

The day has finally come! Money has been paid into your student bank account and you’re ready to start spending. 

But before you make your first purchase, it may be worth figuring out how to manage your student budget. According to the 2020 Student Money Survey, 71% of students worry about making ends meet while living on their student budget. 

Preparing your student budget in advance will reduce financial stress by ensuring you have enough money to live off by the end of term. 

What do you need to consider when setting up a student budget?

 

First, you need to figure out how much money you’re being paid – this can include your maintenance loan, bursaries, and money from a part-time job. 

Then you should roughly estimate how much money you’re going to spendOn average, students spend around £795/month (or £183/week) on living costs, with rent taking up the largest chunk of that spending. Therefore it would be beneficial to reserve your money for larger payments – such as rent, utility bills and transport – so you’re not left with a gaping hole in your pocket!

From the money you have left, calculate your weekly budget. Most will go towards essential expenses like food shopping and textbooks, but some money will be left over for activities including nights out and takeaways. 

So now that you have crafted your student budget, you need to monitor your spending regularly so that it matches your weekly allowance. 

Ways to keep track of your student budget: 

  • Checking your online banking account will simply give you a clear breakdown of your daily spending. 
  • Keeping a journal of your expenses will ensure you have a record on hand to immediately look back to. 
  • Creating a student budgeting spreadsheet can calculate which areas you’re overspending or underspending. 

If you manage to spend less than your weekly budget, congrats! This money can either roll over onto the next week, be saved, or be spent at a later date. 

If you spend more than your weekly budget, then it may be worth looking closely at your spending and setting some goals to help you spend less. 

Here are some tips that can help you maintain your student budget: 

TIP 1: Student discount. There are a variety of discounts available for students at a wide range of shops. Deals such as the 16-25 Railcard and Amazon Prime Student can save you a lot of money over time. 

TIP 2: Earn money. There are several ways of earning money whilst studying at university, such as a part-time job. But, if you don’t have a lot of time to spare then reselling textbooks and clothes you no longer need can give you a little bit of extra money to spend. 

TIP 3: Direct debit trick. As you can only spend what you have access to, the trick involves moving your money into a separate bank account (or a parent’s account) and setting up a recurring payment that transfers your weekly budget into your student account. This prevents you from spending over your allowance. 

TIP 4: Take out cash. When it comes to non-essential expenses (a night out in particular), taking out a set amount of cash can be an effective way to limit your spending. Nobody likes that dreaded moment the morning after a night-out when you check your bank account. Setting yourself a specific, physical limit can prevent you from losing money through reckless spending!

For most people, a student budget will be the first time they’re required to practise money management in their daily life. Understanding how to create and maintain a student budget that works for you will be a valuable skill to use in the future! 

Ceed is here to help students with money management  a life coach can provide advice on ways to improve your student budget. 

What is a Life Coach and What Do They Do?

We all know what a coach is: but what is life coaching and how can it help you achieve your goals? 

To put it simply, a life coach is a professionally trained individual dedicated to helping you reach and extend your full potential. A life coach helps you identify your goals, discover motivation and hold you accountable on the path to fulfilling your objectives. They provide encouragement when you need it and give you a helping hand on the path to bettering yourself. 

It’s helpful to imagine a life coach as an accumulation of many different roles – they are both a supportive, encouraging friend and a motivating, wise advisor. They give you both the helping hand and the firm push.  

In the process of becoming a life coach, they will undergo dynamic training that teaches them how to ask the right questions in pursuit of setting achievable goals. They learn how to communicate in an effective way and truly understand the root of your problems.  

How does a life coach help you? 

Life coaches are well-trained specifically to help you tackle both personal and professional problems. Generally, the life coaching process involves a similar order of events: 

  • identify a problem or goal 
  • reframe this goal into achievable steps 
  • nurture your growth and account for setbacks.  

This is a repeatable process designed to help individuals create a sustainable model for success.  

A life coach is there to hold you accountable to your designated goals and give you a helping hand when you need it. They help you keep focused on your initial goal and provide you with the tools to succeed. 

What can a life coach do for me? 

The list really is endless. A life coach’s prowess is in their ability to listen, understand and plan. A life coach isn’t merely a means to an end but a tool for fundamental change – by telling them your specific goal they can help point you in the right direction.  

Whether it’s going for a promotion at work or achieving weight loss, a life coach uses whatever information you give them to develop strategies in pursuit of your goal.  

According to the Institute of Coaching, 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence, and over 70% benefit from improved work performance. Those numbers are pretty impressive.  

But it makes sense, right? If you have somebody there holding you accountable and simultaneously giving you that first helping hand, it’s no surprise that you’d see marked improvements. 

This isn’t just exclusive to individuals, either. Among the long-list of personal benefits, there are also clear benefits to businesses utilising the skills of a life coach. 86% of companies that invested in coaching reported that they recouped that investment. Many of those companies reported an increased individual performance and higher staff engagement. 

So, there you have it. Hopefully, this article helped you to understand exactly what a life coach does and how hiring one could help you and your business to maximise its potential. 

Ceed’s goal is to make life coaching accessible to everyone who needs it. For more information on our services, check us out here. 

How Coaching Can Help With Financial Anxiety

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with a climate of financial uncertainty and difficulty. Jobs are being lost, workers are being made redundant and people are struggling with debt.  

Anxiety is prevalent during these times, and research has found that 9.5 million UK adults have suffered from mental health issues due to serious money woes.  

Whilst the economic implications of the pandemic will continue to unravel for years to come, there are ways that positive financial behaviours can be supported, so that as an individual, you are able to cope better with money. 

The solution? Financial coaching. 

What’s The Difference Between A Financial Coach And A Financial Advisor? 

financial advisor knows every jargon in the book. They recommend specific and qualified financial products to clients, and can discuss more complex situations.  

financial coach guides you towards your financial goals, taking more of a holistic and overall account of you and your money situation. They are not authorised to recommend specific products, but are able to attend to your relationship with money and its implications on your mental health. 

Why Hire A Financial Coach? 

The aim of a financial coach is to guide you through your financial journey, helping you to build a healthier relationship with money and alleviate stress. 

Money is the most common cause of stress in the UK

A coach will work with you and empower you to make coherent decisions by taking a holistic account of your ongoing personal lifestyle and financial goals. 

Financial coaching is all about making you much more aware of your financial situation so that you make coherent decision-making processes that will contribute to a more fruitful money situation. 

During a period of financial anxiety provoked by the current pandemic, Ceed can coach you on governing your finances better and alleviate the stress that money problems cause. 

Learn More About Ceed

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