Money is one of the leading causes of stress in women. According to a recent study, approximately 80% of women report that money is a significant source of stress in their lives. That’s not surprising when you consider that women are more likely than men to live in poverty, be the primary breadwinners for their families, and shoulder the majority of financial responsibility for their households.
So, what can you do to reduce the financial stress in your life? Below are some practical tips to help you get started.
Create a Budget
The first step to controlling your finances is creating a budget. A budget will help you track your spending and make sure that your expenses are aligned with your income. If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of online resources, and apps that can help you get started, like Mint or You Need a Budget (YNAB).
Communicate with Your Partner
If you’re in a relationship, it’s important to talk to your partner about money. Discuss your financial goals and priorities as a couple, and come up with a plan for how you will manage your money together. It’s also important to be honest about any debt or financial problems you may have. Transparency is key to maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner—and your finances.
Make a Plan for Your Debt
If you’re carrying debt, it’s important to develop a plan for paying it off. Start by listing all of your debts, including the interest rate, minimum payment, and balance owed for each one.
Then, prioritize your debts by interest rate (you should always make the minimum payments on all of your debts, but additional payments should go towards the debt with the highest interest rate). Once you’ve done that, you can start working on a budget and creating a repayment plan.
Debts with higher interest rates should be paid off first because they’re costing you more money in the long run. For example, let’s say you have two credit cards—one with an interest rate of 12% and one with an interest rate of 6%. If you only make the minimum payment on each card every month, it will take nearly twice as long—and cost nearly twice as much—to pay off the card with the higher interest rate. So, even if the balance owed on the high-interest card is lower than the balance owed on the low-interest card, you should still focus on paying off the high-interest debt first.
Track Your Progress
It can be easy to get discouraged when trying to get out of debt or save money. That’s why it’s important to track your progress along the way.
Seeing how far you’ve come—even if it’s slow going at first—can give you the motivation you need to keep going when things get tough. And once you’ve reached your financial goals? Make sure to celebrate your success! You deserve it.
Women face unique challenges when it comes to money and financial stress. But by taking control of their finances and making a plan, they can overcome these challenges and build a bright future for themselves—and their families.