In today’s economy, many people need to cut back in order to make ends meet. And right now, it is quite trendy to get the best possible deal (think Groupon and Living Social) or to be on the tightest possible budget (think Dave Ramsey). No longer can most Americans just swipe their credit card for a full-price purchase without feeling a twinge of guilt, because strict personal accountability when it comes to personal finances is very in vogue.
It is very necessary for many to reduce their spending. However, it is not healthy to spend too much time worrying. Trying to micromanage your finances or worrying excessively about money could easily overshadow your time at work as well as your time at home. So what can you do to reduce the stress of extreme personal accountability, feeling the need to budget and track every penny or even to organize your week around the best days to get the best deals?
A recent Money magazine article simply advises backing off of the strict budget in order to reduce stress levels and actually increase personal effectiveness and money-saving success:
Money (or its lack) is the nation’s most common source of stress, reports the American Psychological Association. Making a detailed budget — a widely advised fix — only makes things worse, says Cleveland financial planner Kenneth Robinson, based on a decade of work with clients; the problem is that people hate to think about where they’ll need to cut back.
Instead of a strict budgeting plan that causes heartburn – or worse – the article recommends having the amount needed for your monthly bills and long term goals automatically withdrawn from your bank account. Then simply keep your month’s discretionary spending within the limits of what is in the account.
(And if it is your long-term goals you are worried about, find a qualified financial advisor to discuss various strategies to balance your portfolio to ease your fears about market volatility.)
The key is ultimately to stop micromanaging every aspect of your life, so that you don’t get burned out on maintaining personal accountability. Indeed, high stress levels and increased worries can negatively affect your job performance and your personal effectiveness. Instead of being susceptible to these problems, focus on being accountable to your family and to your job, and cut yourself a little slack in other areas.
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