When the economy is down, or when you are struggling a bit with your finances, it can be tempting to let that negativity permeate your life — and it can result in even worse finances. Often, a downward spiral affects a number of areas of your life, and that can spill over and make your finances even worse. While you don’t want to ignore financial difficulties, you don’t want to succumb to them, either. So, here are 4 tips for staying positive about your finances:
1. Count Your Blessings
The first thing to do is recognize the good things. Gratitude can be one of the best ways to improve your positivity and increase the chance of achieving the desired outcome. Additionally, focusing on what’s good in your life can help you reduce the stress associated with your finances. You can look to your family, your friends, your health, a treasured keepsake or other items that you are grateful for, and enjoy those positive feelings.
2. Create an Action Plan
Most of us feel better when we have a purpose. Create an action plan to help you get out of your financial doldrums. This can include creating a plan for cutting your spending, or a plan for earning more money (or you can do both). There is a feeling of helplessness that can overwhelm you, and paralyze you. Head that feeling off by doing something. Create your plan, and then get to work. Focusing on fixing the problem can help you feel less anxiety about it.
3. Remind Yourself that Nothing Lasts Forever
For awhile, I was sometimes discouraged about our finances when my husband and I were both students. I had to keep reminding myself that it wouldn’t last forever. Indeed, it is a good idea to keep life in perspective. Just as the good times can’t stretch into eternity, the tough times won’t last forever. Consider this time as a short period, and realize that eventually you will come out of it. You’ll come out of it faster if you have an action plan to help.
4. Recognize the Lessons You Can Learn
Every financial setback comes with a lesson you can learn. In some cases, the lesson learned is that you need to get back to financial basics. Look for the lesson in your current situation. It might be that you need to cultivate income diversity so that you aren’t in as much trouble when your primary source of income is cut off. Perhaps the lesson is the importance of an emergency fund. When I first started out as a freelancer, I had one client disappear without paying me for $2,000 worth of work. At the time, we really needed that money – we were counting on it. I learned that, for larger projects, I needed to get at least half up front, and I needed to make sure that I stopped doing work without regular payment, hoping that eventually the client would come through. It was pretty crappy at the time, but, looking back, I can see the lesson in the experience.
Staying positive can be tough, but if you make the effort, you might find that you feel less financial stress, and that you are more open to opportunities when they present themselves.