How to Reduce Your Financial Stress

Help to reduce financial stress in military families

Everyone experiences stress for different reasons, but one of the most common causes of stress is FINANCES. Financial stress can be especially prevalent in our military families, where life is unpredictable, the future is always uncertain, and spouse employment is challenging. Add in the out-of-pocket expenses from frequent PCS moves or deployments, and it becomes clear that military families need support to work through financial stress.  Let’s explore the ways financial stress impacts your mental health, and some easy steps you can take to improve your financial wellbeing.

Financial health is part of overall wellness 

Think about it: if you’re stressed about making it to the next paycheck, or finding a job, or being able to afford housing, how can you be fully healthy in the other areas of your life? 

Here’s how financial stress impacts your well-being:

Thoughts: Financial stress can be distracting and prevent us from focusing on current responsibilities. You may struggle with regret after making purchases, or find yourself constantly worrying about upcoming bills. 

Actions: Concerns about money can get in the way of your health and well-being, causing you to put off self-care and basic necessities until you can afford them. You may be caught in repeated habits, without a clear way to break the cycle. 

Feelings: Everyone has emotions about money. Emotions can be positive or negative. In a couple, it’s common (but not ideal!) for people to question, blame, or feel frustrated about their partner’s purchases. Other people feel guilt about not meeting their goals. During military moves, there can be a lot of anger about the financial impact on the family. 

Coping: Some people cope with financial stress by avoiding the topic of finances or trying not to look at their credit card bill. This won’t solve anything! To reduce financial stress, you have to be willing to face the situation and learn more about how your money is working.  

Here’s the good news: being more mindful with your money and more conscious with financial decision-making can help you reduce stress, accept yourself, develop positive habits, and boost your mood. 

Financial stress in military life

We all have to make choices about our money every day: what we spend it on, how we spend it, how much we save for the future, and what efforts we make to earn more. For many people, money (and the jobs we work to earn it) consumes the majority of our day. 

So isn’t it wild that no one ever officially teaches us how to make healthy choices with our money? When I first married my Marine, we had to make so many “adult” financial decisions in our first year of living together. We had our first baby. We almost bought a condo (thankfully we didn’t, because he got orders a few months later!) Then we bought a house. I left my high-paying job and started paying for grad school. Then he deployed. It was a huge financial whirlwind, and I guarantee our budget looked different every month of that year… except we can’t know for sure because we didn’t have an official budget then! 

Does that sound relatable to you? Maybe you are lucky and learned a bit about saving and investing from your parents. But if you’re like many Americans, you also learned some bad money habits while you were growing up.  

  • Maybe your parents frequently spent more than they earned and didn’t talk to you about managing debt.
  • Or you learned to spend money as a type of therapy or reward when you wanted to feel better. 
  • Perhaps you are burdened with student debt, and no one ever discussed how long it would take to pay it off. 
  • Some people grow up in a paycheck-to-paycheck household, then when they finally have their own income, they buy all the things they could never afford before. 
  • Your family may have taught you how to balance a checkbook (back when that was a relevant skill!) but not much about getting a loan, preparing your taxes, or saving for future purchases.  
  • Do you even know what your Credit Score is, and the various ways a credit report can impact your life—all the way from monthly utility bills to the interest rate on your mortgage? 

The reality is that most of us are novices when it comes to managing our finances. And many of us are stuck in repeated bad spending habits. Even when we know we could do more with our money, it isn’t always clear how to break the cycle and find our way to a healthier lifestyle. 

Free financial resources for reducing stress

Today is always the best day to start taking care of yourself, and to make the financial choices that are best for you! There is a way to find balance and wellness with your finances, but it looks a little different for each household. The first thing to do is learn more about your money choices and get educated about what’s working for you and what needs to change. 

  • What if there was a way for you to catch up and get answers to all your money questions?  
  • Would you feel relieved if someone taught you the basics about finances in an easy-to-understand and encouraging way? 
  • Would you feel more confident in making financial decisions if you could easily compare different payment options? 
  • Could you sleep better at night if you knew you had a plan for the future, and the money you are earning is moving you closer to your goals? 
  • Would you feel empowered if you found a convenient way to research and learn about all the ways to make your money work smarter? 
  • Would it reduce your financial stress to know that you were spending and saving strategically? 

If your answer to any of these is yes, then I have great news for you: there is a resource that can walk you through all these financial decisions and improve your financial well-being! And it’s free! I want you to take an honest look at your own financial wellness, so we can take the next step forward together.  

GoVA is a company focused on empowering the military community by providing free access to financial tools and resources. Our digital membership platform, The Edge, is free to service members, Veterans, and their spouses, thanks to scholarships from our donors.  

On the Edge, you can find hundreds of articles, courses, calculators, and tools on a huge range of financial topics. You can search for information about buying a house or should I get an auto loan? You can look for tips about paying off student loans, saving for your child’s education, or preparing for retirement–and you’ll find great user-friendly information on any of those topics. But a special element of The Edge platform is their focus on monitoring financial stress to improve your well-being.  

The Mindfulness tab has tools to help you measure and reduce your financial Stress Score. There are Meditations and Journaling sections to help you get in the right headspace about money choices.  

  • Start with a 1-minute assessment to get Your Stress Score. Then you’ll see recommendations to help you improve it! 
  • Choose from 24 different Money Meditations, on topics like Releasing Stress, Building Financial Self-Confidence, Income Anxiety, or Recognizing Your Financial Stressors.  
  • Use the Journal to keep track of your thoughts and mood related to finances.  

You can learn about Your Money Personality, which is a quiz combining questions about your emotions, your outlook on money, your focus on the present or future, and the influence others might have on your money decisions.  

All of this is valuable information that puts YOU in charge of your money choices, and empowers you to take steps towards a healthier financial future. The best part is, it’s completely free! We make The Edge membership free to service members, Veterans, and military spouses. We are able to do this through scholarships provided by our donors.  

So take advantage of your free membership to The Edge today. Reduce your financial stress and take control of your financial health, to improve your overall well-being! 

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About Our Partnership with TowneBank Mortgage

At GoVA, we’re proud to partner with a lender that delivers peace of mind to those who have served and continue to serve our county. Together, GoVA and TowneBank Mortgage are committed to helping our military service members achieve their dreams of homeownership, as well as providing them with valuable resources along the way. As experienced lenders, TowneBank Mortgage understands the need for a quick and easy mortgage process, especially during life’s transitional moments. Headquartered in Norfolk, just miles from the world’s largest naval base, TowneBank Mortgage has had the honor of helping thousands of military families through their VA loan offerings. Their team is knowledgeable about VA products and the local market, and in-house operations allow them to respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner. Together, we can get you to closing in 30 days or less. Trust TowneBank Mortgage and GoVA loans to get you home.

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