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How to deal with money stress

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According to a recent poll, women have been hit hardest during the recession.

The ComRes poll, which was commissioned by BMI Healthcare, found that half of all women have experienced an increase in stress levels leading to sleeping problems and/or feelings of depression since the recession, with four out of 10 eat less healthily because of limited budgets. Men seem to be significantly less affected, with only 37% confessing to facing sleep deprivation or depression issues.

Entrepreneur, TV money and debt expert and founder of the JBW Group, Jamie Waller says that panicking about your money situation can leave you feeling overwhelmed. We spoke to him for his advice on how to think about and take control of your finances in a constructive way...

Draw up a sensible monthly budget for your spending

List all monthly payments and expenditures and make sure they are covered by your monthly income. Make sure you stay within your budget guidelines.

Try to find extra income

Do anything you can (as long as it’s legal) to bring in extra money to help tide you over until you’re back on your financial feet. Even if you have a full time job you could work overtime, try babysitting, tutoring or using any skill you can to bring in a little more cash.

Use cash instead of credit cards

Have one primary credit card and use it only for emergencies or major necessities. Put your credit card away in a safe place, not available for everyday use.

Try and save something every month

Especially for planned spending like holidays and Christmas. Set up a standing order to a savings account. You will be surprised how quickly you will forget you are saving. Knowing you have a safety net to fall back on will ease your money worries significantly.

Pay off the credit card bills with the highest interest rate

Firstly, pay all balances to below 50 percent of the card limit, because balances above this level are a threat to your credit score. Then pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate. Next do the same with the card that has the second highest interest rate. Continue until you reach the credit card with the lowest interest rates.

Cut down on unnecessary expenses

It may sound obvious, but small things like bringing lunch to work rather than eating out, or using your mobile phone less for social calls can make a definite difference towards cutting outgoings. Before you go grocery shopping, write a list of everything you need and if it’s not on the list, don’t buy it!

Become a savvy shopper

Look for deals and bargains. You’d be surprised at how much you can save if you take the time to shop around. Check out the price comparison websites such as Shopping.com and MoneySupermarket.com. Swapping events and parties are also growing in popularity – they’re a great way to indulge your passion for shopping, whilst saving cash.

Evaluate your housing situation

Your housing costs should be no more than 33 per cent of your household income, including mortgage payments, tax and insurance. You can shop around for lower insurance rates, refinance your mortgage, and look for cheaper utility plans.

Avoid borrowing to cancel out debts

Especially consolidation loans, it’s easy to be convinced that this is a way of helping you get out of debt, however, consolidation loans are simply a means of combining all of your debt. You could end up having everything repossessed because you’ve tied it all up in one loan.

Get organised

Working your way through tight economic times is all about organisation. Organise your paperwork and important documents in a folder, label them clearly and lay your financial information out in a system which you understand. Knowing every detail of your situation puts you in control and will instil a positive frame of mind to make all these changes.

Picture credit: Getty images

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