Simple ways to be happier with your financial situation

One of the top sources of stress many people cite relates to their financial situations.

When you’re facing debt, low savings or struggling to make ends meet each month, being happy or comfortable with your standing is difficult. Not only that, but being complacent about these issues can be harmful to your future.

On a positive note, you can use this source of anxiety to motivate you to make the changes you need in order to tackle your trouble areas. Once you gain more control over your finances, you will become more confident in your progress and continue working toward your goals.

Listed below are several ways to help you better your financial condition and take the first steps toward financial independence.

1. Look at the entire picture and set your priorities

When you’re in a bad financial condition, reviewing credit card or loan statements and trying to reorganize your finances can make you feel more dejected. However, this is often the worst part of creating a roadmap to improve your circumstances and it may enlighten you to common spending mistakes you are making that are harming your fiscal health. Once you know how much you owe across one or several accounts, you can revamp you budget to prioritize your payments. The same is true if you’re trying to save more money each month or reduce your spending. Knowing what you’re trying to accomplish gives you a firm goal to build your spending around.

2. Restrict spending to items that enrich your life

It’s not uncommon for individuals who are facing debt or are unhappy with their lives to spend frivolously on items they don’t need to cheer themselves up. However, this “retail therapy” pattern results in a worse financial situation, which only perpetuates these negative feelings. Instead of spending on materialistic items that hold little life value, consider focusing your discretionary spending on items that give you experiences and memories, such as taking a cooking class, planning a weekend vacation with friends or running a 5K. When you’re stressed or overwhelmed by the events in your life, this type of spending can be truly therapeutic.

3. Get help when you need it

When it comes to financial woes, many people are too embarrassed to reach out to friends, loved ones or a professional. However, doing so not only gives you an outlet when you need to unload your worries, but also allows you to build a support system and potentially learn about new money management solutions to which you were previously unaware.