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7 ways to reduce money worries

AD – Blog post shared as part of a paid collaboration with Zopa Bank.

You’re not alone if you’ve been worrying about money recently. Research from the Financial Conduct Authority found that, during the pandemic, 14.2 million of us considered ourselves to have low financial resilience and, as a result, were experiencing stress or anxiety. 

There are always crunch points in the year that get us worrying about money more than others. Maybe it’s Christmas time or maybe it’s a big bill, a job change or a big move that has increased your expenditure and you’re worried about getting back on track. More and more of us twenty-somethings are feeling the pinch as the cost of living rises, so we all need to look at ways we can reduce our money worries.

We’ve teamed up with our sponsors Zopa Bank, one of the UK’s leading digital banks, to share some helpful tips for how to improve your financial resilience! It’s important we let you know that some of the links in this post are sponsored. #ad

Here’s a checklist of a few ways to reduce money worries and improve your financial resilience:

1. Figure out where you stand with your money

The first step is to not bury your head in the sand and actually work out where you stand with your money. You can only make informed decisions about your finances if you are actually informed! So what’s the situation? How much money is coming in? How much money has to go out in bills? 

Learning simple budgeting tips is key to improving your financial resilience. At the beginning of the month, have a money date where you sit down with your bank account and work out where your money is going!

2. Understand your Borrowing Power

Getting a clear picture of your current financial health is invaluable – so you can make the best decisions for your current situation. So as well as figuring out your ingoings and outgoings, it may also be worth checking out your financial resilience and if required, taking the steps to improve your credit score. 

Zopa Bank have a great, simple to use tool called Borrowing Power. It’s free to use in their free app. Borrowing Power will give you a clear view of how Zopa see your financial health with a simple 1 – 10 rating – with 10 being that your financial health is in good shape. But if you’re not a 10, it’ll give you personalised tips on what you need to do to improve your score over time.

3. Spend less than you can afford

The tip that no one wants but we all need to learn, sadly. This is one of the hardest things to do, but inevitably is the answer to reducing your money worries. 

Scared you’ll overspend on a night out? Ditch the credit cards and take cash, you’re much more likely to stick to your limit.

Want that new outfit you know you can’t afford? Find it cheaper on Vinted, eBay or Depop.

Tempted to eat out for the 10th time this month? Eat the food you have at home.

That last tip we all need to be permanently reminded of!

4. Build your emergency fund

An emergency fund is essentially a buffer to help you through difficult financial times and reduce a lot of worries about money. In the times where your financial situation is good or comfortable, start putting aside money for your emergency fund. Aim to save 3-6 months of expenses so that if anything were to happen, and you couldn’t work for that period of time, you’ll have less to worry about. 

We recommend setting up a Zopa Smart Saver account to store your emergency fund so you can make sure you are earning interest on top of your savings!

5. Look for new sources of income

Making lifestyle changes to reduce expenditure is key when money worries arise. However, if the maths just simply does not add up and what’s going out is way more than what’s coming in, then you may want to consider boosting your income with other sources of income.

It’s much easier to get more money from someone who is already paying you than starting something fresh, so the most obvious place to start here is working overtime, if it’s possible to do that in your role. Failing that, you could also approach your employer with a solution to a problem you know they are facing in the business and you could ask to be paid extra for taking on this additional responsibility. 

However if neither of the above are possible you may need to look to outside sources to produce new streams of income. 

  • You could freelance using skills from your current role but for other smaller businesses part-time – make sure your contract allows you to do this and if you’re not sure, check with your manager.
  • You could start a side hustle and build a small business on the side based on something you love

One thing we have to mention about side hustles is that often they take a while to take off and sometimes they actually take up more time than it’s worth for the extra money so only start if:

  • You genuinely enjoy doing the work
  • You are learning new skills by doing so
  • You can see some form of return on investment within the first 6 months
  • You have some potential customers/clients in mind 

And remember, don’t burn yourself out!

6. Invest in your emotional resilience

Money can be an emotional topic so, as well as taking care of your financial resilience, you should also take care of your mental health. This could be as simple as talking to someone you trust about how you are feeling about money or perhaps journaling to understand the feelings you may have surrounding money. Whatever you do to look after yourself doesn’t have to be expensive, it could just be investing time in yourself. 

7. Get help

There are many great resources out there with professional support and guidance for those experiencing financial worries. We would recommend the following: 

  • Payplan: a free, confidential advice service is available to anyone worried about money, and can help reduce the amount people pay towards your debts each month
  • StepChange Debt Charity: the UK’s leading debt advice charity. They help over 635,000 people each year deal with their money worries with free, impartial and non-judgmental advice
  • Turn2us: helps people in financial need gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial help – online, by phone and face to face through partner organisations
  • The Money and Pensions Service: Set up by the UK government, offers free and impartial money advice