happy and relaxed woman meditating in her living room

Breathe Easy: 10 Ways to Reduce Your Financial Stress

Let’s be honest – managing money can be a little taxing sometimes. But whether you’re struggling with extra spending or working to pay down those debts, don’t worry! There are several simple ways to start saving more and stressing less.

Quick Tips: From One to Zen

From sticking to a budget to setting up automatic payments, here are 10 quick and easy ways to help take care of your pocketbook and your peace of mind.

  1. Check in with your financial situation.

    Write down your biggest challenge or source of stress when it comes to your finances. (Keep it short, so it doesn’t feel overwhelming.) Next, jot down a few ideas for reducing your household expenses or managing money more efficiently.

    While it can be a little anxiety-inducing at first, it’s a great way to identify your biggest painpoint and brainstorm a few potential solutions. By determining your top priorities, you can take control – and take the next step forward.

  2. Envision a monthly budget.

    It sounds simple, but it’s the single best way to avoid spending more than you have. Once you see the big picture of where your money is going every month, you just may notice a few surprises with your spending habits. Using a budget is a great way to feel more empowered with your finances, too.

Pro Tip:

Try one of these helpful budgeting tools when you’re ready to get started!
How Much Am I Spending?
Household Cash Flow Tracker

  1. Be mindful with spending.

    Already using a budget? It can be helpful to keep the 50/30/20 rule in mind. That means spending:

    • 50% on needs (e.g., groceries, utilities, home and auto loans)
    • 30% on wants (e.g., clothing and eating out)
    • 20% on savings or paying down debts

    You can also reduce clutter by donating or selling items that you no longer use. Remember, expenses like streaming subscriptions, gym memberships, upgrading to a new smartphone every year or hitting the drive-thru for coffee every day can add up, too. Step back, and consider where you may be able to adjust your spending based on your goals.

Everyday Tips For Saving Money
  1. Namaste with auto pay.

    Setting up automatic payments is a great way to ensure your bills are paid on time – every time. Plus, it will help you increase your credit score, stay organized and feel more empowered with your finances.

Pro Tip:

Did you know that you can even receive a 1% discount by setting up automatic payments from your Gate City Bank checking account for auto and personal loans? It’s a quick and easy way to save on interest automatically.

  1. Pay those debts downward (dog).

    There are a couple popular approaches to paying down debt.

    • Avalanche method: Focus on paying your debt with the highest interest rate first.
    • Snowball method: Pay off your smallest debts first. Since you’ll be able to pay off those lower balances faster, soon you’ll be able to make larger “snowballing” payments on your remaining debt.

    Choose the option that feels like the right fit for you, your family and your situation.

  2. young man at the gym checking his savings balance on his mobile appCreate a healthy emergency fund.

    Cutting your spending by just $25 per week will save you more than $1,300 per year – enough to pay down loans or start saving as an emergency fund to help cover unexpected expenses down the road.

    As a good rule of thumb, make it a goal to eventually save enough to cover three months of living expenses. You can even start a savings account and set up an automatic transfer from every paycheck. Start small, and you won’t even miss it!

  3. Add to your balance every day.

    If you use a Gate City Bank debit card, you can use our Simply Save feature to automatically round up your transactions to the next whole dollar. The difference is deposited right into your savings account every time.

  4. Stay centered by consolidating your debt.

    Have multiple loans or credit cards? Simplify your finances by consolidating your balances into a one single payment. It may help you save time, pay off balances faster and lower your monthly expenses.

    Talk with a personal lender about which loan option might be right for you.

  5. Invest with less stress.

    Remember, it's never too early (or too late) to save for retirement. If you have an employer match with your 401K, max it out if you can. But start wherever you feel comfortable, and over time, it will add up!

    If you have questions, Gate City Investment Services advisors will be happy to help you navigate strategies for retirement, investments and saving for college, too.

  6. Get more flexibility with your payments.

    Stretched thin? If you’re having trouble paying bills or staying on top of debts, reach out for help by calling your bank, credit card company or utilities to set up a payment plan.

    At Gate City Bank, we’re here to support you, whether you need a hand with saving, refinancing or weathering unexpected challenges along the way. Breathe easy, and let us know how we can help!