Face the facts
Not being sure of the extent of your cashflowproblem will only stoke your anxiety. Schedulesome time to go through all your statements andbills. Find out if you really are in the red and, if so, by how much. Knowing what you are dealing with isthe first step to sorting it out. The mental healthcharity Mind suggests asking someone you trust toopen the letters for you.
Create a budget
Once you have a handle on your outgoings, look at your income. Work out how much you haveleft over after you have met all of your obligations. When you know what you can afford tospend each month, you will feel more in control. Free apps such as Yolt and Money Dashboardcan help you track your spending, while online banks such as Monzo let you set spendinglimits.
Ask for help if you need it
If your debts and other payments are too big to tackle, get help. Energy companies and bankswill usually consider lower monthly repayments if you call and tell them you are struggling. Charities such as StepChange and Citizens Advice can help you check that you are claimingany benefits you are entitled to. They can also refer you to other services if you areexperiencing anxiety. Sue Anderson, a spokeswoman for StepChange, says people shouldn'tput off seeking help: "Delaying seeking help often makes problems worse – people often borrowto try to make ends meet and can end up in a spiral of ever more expensive borrowing as aresult.”
Build a buffer
If you can afford to put some money aside each month, create an emergency fund. Adviserstypically recommend aiming for three months' earnings in an easy-access savings account, which you can use for unexpected expenses. If you can't manage that much, any funds youcan build up will be helpful. Some employers offer savings schemes where money is redirectedfrom your salary before you get a chance to spend it. The Yorkshire Building Society recentlylaunched a similar "salary sacrifice” scheme to give more workers the ability to save as theyearn.
Understand your relationship to spending
Not everyone with financial anxiety is on the breadline – it may be that even though you arecomfortably off you feel panicked about spending and tend to hoard your cash rather thanusing it. It is worth reflecting on why that might be. Perhaps you grew up in a family with littlemoney and don't want to return to that situation, or you have had a financial shock at somepoint, or maybe your job or relationship don't feel secure. Ask yourself if having more moneyin the bank would make you feel better, or if the cash could be used to do things to make youfeel happier or safer.