Suze Orman Says Financial Worries Can Impact Your Mental Health. Here's How to Get to a Better Place

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  • Most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and many grapple with persistent financial worries.
  • Building cash reserves and getting a handle on your bills could help your outlook improve.

You deserve a more positive outlook -- and frame of mind.

If you're feeling down about your finances, and if financial worries are taking up way too much of your brain space, you're not alone. A recent survey by SecureSave found that 75% of Americans are stressed out financially to the point where it's impacting their productivity at work. Given that 74% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck without any money in their savings accounts to fall back on, that's not surprising.

If your mental health has taken a hit because your financial situation isn't so great, it's important to get ahead of that issue. As Suze Orman, co-founder of SecureSave, says herself, "When you can't afford to pay your can impact your mental health and productivity." So rather than continue to struggle, here's what to do.

Build an emergency fund

Orman says that when you lack savings, "you live in a constant state of fear, shame, and anger." And that's clearly not a good thing.

Now, building a lot of emergency savings isn't something you're going to do overnight. But a good bet is to set small, attainable goals that allow you to build up some savings over time.

The aforementioned survey found that 67% of people could not cover a $400 emergency expense with money in savings. So let's say you're in that boat, and your savings account has less than $100 in it. If that's the case, try to save $25 a week. If you stick to that goal, you'll have $100 at the end of the month, and $200 at the end of two months. Keep it up long enough, and you'll grow your savings to $1,000 or more, which buys you more protection against emergency expenses.

Get a handle on your bills

Inflation has been making it very difficult for many people to keep up with their expenses. If you're barely scraping by, it may be time to get on a tighter budget and start cutting some non-essential spending.

To set up your budget, group your expenses into needs and wants. Your needs are your rent or mortgage payments, car payments, food, utilities, and healthcare expenses. Your wants are things like takeout meals, cable, and streaming services.

Once you've accounted for all of your needs in your budget, see how much money you're left with each month based on what your paycheck looks like. That will give you a sense of how much you can afford to spend on wants.

You may find that you'll need to cancel some services or subscriptions that aren't essential to avoid a financial crunch. But shedding those expenses could actually give you more peace of mind, because you won't be spending your paycheck in its entirety. And that way, you'll be able to carve out a little money to save for emergencies.

It's easy to see why so many people are grappling with financial worries these days. But if you make an effort to build some savings and take control of your bills, you might get to a much better place both mentally and financially.

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