If you’ve been feeling the pinch lately, you’re not alone.
With the rising cost of living and back-to-back interest rate hikes, it comes as no surprise that money is one of the biggest drivers of stress in Australia.
Left unmanaged, financial stress can start to take its toll on our physical and mental health.
That’s why it’s important to know the signs of financial stress, understand your money situation, and get familiar with the tools necessary to support your financial wellbeing as early as possible.
1. What is financial stress?
Financial stress happens when money insecurity starts to affect your day-to-day life.
The weight of money stress can impact your mind, your body, and even your relationships. You may notice it in the form of heightened emotions, lack of sleep, not feeling as social, and not being able to shake the money worries.
2. What causes financial stress?
Financial stress is the feeling of not being able to afford the things you need in life – like your bills, rent, or groceries. It can also feel like not being in control of your financial wellbeing.
This can be a symptom of one or many reasons, like:
- The rising cost of living,
- Rising interest rates and mortgage repayments,
- Employment or income stress, or
- Life taking an unexpected turn which means needing access to your rainy-day fund.
3. Tips to manage financial stress
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’ve listed some small steps that you can take to help reduce the feeling of financial stress.
Check in on your budget
When was the last time that you sat down and properly checked in on your expenses and savings?
If you can’t remember, now might be the right time to review your budget and create a savings plan to help manage any upcoming expenses. The more control we have over our money, the better off we feel.
Our financial wellbeing hub is also a great place for tips and tools on budgeting, goal setting, and managing debt.
Look after yourself
The term ‘self-care’ has become somewhat of a buzzword in recent years and for good reason.
Self-care is the simple practice of looking after your mental and physical health, which is a vital part of managing stress.
Self-care isn’t a one size fits all, so make sure to find what feels right for you – whether it’s exercise, spending time in nature, cooking a nutritious meal, or connecting with loved ones.
Reach out to someone
It’s important to remember that asking for help in times of stress is always OK - whether it’s reaching out to friends for help staying accountable to your goals, or a healthcare professional for emotional support.
There is a range of free services you can also access for confidential financial counselling and helpful information, like:
- The National Debt Helpline: Free phone and online advice on how to manage debt.
- Mob Strong Debt Helpline: Free financial advice service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
- Moneysmart: Free online tools, tips, and guidance for Australians looking to take control of their money.
- Beyond Blue: Offering 24/7 phone and online counselling for people affected by mental health problems.
If you feel like your financial situation is becoming difficult to manage, please visit our financial hardship page for more information on what it means to be in a hardship situation.