By Stacy Yanchuk Oleksy
Blue Monday 2019 pops up in the already tough month of January. The holidays are done, the decorations are in storage, we’re in the middle of winter, and depending on where you live in Canada, you may have at least 3-4 months left of the white stuff. There’s also a good chance that we’re trying to get back on track with our health so many of us are consuming less alcohol, sugar, starches – you know, the good stuff! And let’s not forget that our credit card bills will show up right around that third Monday of January. Boy, it’s no wonder that it’s considered the most depressing day of the year.
Now what? Well, we could eat our way through our emotions by devouring a package of Oreo cookie and numb out in front of the television.Or,we could try to turn the day around. Remember that saying – it’s darkest before the dawn?
How to Stop Stressing About Money on January 21, 2019
January can feel a little overwhelming especially if we’re stressing about money. But it doesn’t have to be the most depressing day of the year. January 21st could be the day that you connect with yourself and get clear about your money goals for 2019. Or it could be the day that you decide you’re going to get into control of your money and commit to tracking your expenses for the next three months. Or it could be the day you decide that the debt you’re carrying is becoming too heavy, weighing you down more than the cookies and now you want to do something about it. So, let’s begin.
Start with How You Feel About Your Finances
Why don’t we start by getting crystal clear on what we want in terms of finances for 2019? Start with a feeling:
I want to feel at peace with my money.
I want to feel abundant.
I want to feel confident about my money.
I want to feel knowledgeable and competent about my money.
I want to feel in control of my money (instead of money controlling me).
Figure Out What’s Important to You
Now ask yourself – why is it important to me to feel that way? Remember, if it isn’t important, you won’t do anything about it. As the cool kids say, it’s got to hit you in the feels (feelings). You need to feel the importance of this and tie it to a purpose. Simon Sinek talks about knowing your “why”. What’s your why (your purpose, your intention)? It could be anything, for example:
Perhaps it’s important because you want financial freedom; the ability to make choices that work for you, including leaving situations (e.g. relationship, job) that no longer serve you.
Or maybe you want a more peaceful financial relationship with your spouse Sadly, we know that how often a couple fights about money serves as a predictor for divorce, and you want your relationship to be happy and healthy.
Maybe you want to send your kids to post-secondary school so that they can create a great life for themselves.
Or as you think about retirement, you want to travel and explore the world and also live comfortably.
Your reason is your reason and that’s good enough.
Visualize Changes to Your Financial Situation
Now pose the question to yourself – what would happen in my life for the good, if I achieved this feeling about money? Think of what you would gain – control, peace, savings, confidence, competence, and perhaps a good night’s sleep. Think of what you would lose – stress, insomnia, fighting with your spouse, living pay cheque to pay cheque, and maybe even some debt!
The next step is asking yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, how (insert feeling word here) do you feel right now? Example: how at peace do you feel about money today? Any number is okay.
Then ask yourself – how at peace do you want to feel about money? Use the 1-10 scale to help you see the difference between how you feel right now and how you want to feel.
And then finally, ask yourself what would it take (action) to move up the scale from where you are to where you want to be?
Follow Along With an Example
Let’s work through an example together. Perhaps you said you feel about a 6/10 in terms of peace around your money. But where you really want to be is 9/10 in terms of peace around money. Then the next question is – what’s one thing you could do right now to move from a 6 to a 7? One possible answer would be to download the banking and expense tracking apps to your phone. Now, what’s one more thing you could do right now to move from a 7 to an 8? One possible answer could be to review your expenses over the last three months to come up with your budget numbers. And finally, what’s one more thing you could do to move from an 8 to a 9? You could commit to saving all of your coins and cash for a whole year.
Ask for Debt Help to Face Your Finances Head On
If bumping yourself one number higher looks impossible, getting debt help will let you beat Blue Monday by facing your finances head on. From finding ways to pay off credit cards, to considering the pros and cons of a debt consolidation loan, and how your situation impacts your credit score, we are just a phone call away and are happy to answer your questions.
If you’re just wondering why it’s important to track your expenses, need a second set of eyes on your spending habits, or are trying to juggle details about your income and expenses to make bigger credit card payments, we are happy to help.
How to Get Help from the Credit Counselling Society
Getting help from the Credit Counselling Society is as easy as giving us a call toll free at 1-888-527-8999, chatting with us anonymously online, or emailing us. We will answer your questions, provide you with information and referrals, or if you’d like to go over your situation in more detail, we will make you an appointment with one of our Credit Counsellors for the low price of zero dollars. Our appointments are always free, confidential, and without judgement or obligation. You’ve got nothing to lose but your debt.
Blue Monday Doesn’t Need to Be a Depressing Day
Blue Monday doesn’t need to be a depressing day.Just by asking ourselves a few important questions, we can move from stinking thinking to positive action! Blue Monday can become Bright Blue Monday!
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The sooner you start dealing with your debt, the sooner you’ll have it paid off. If you need some help getting started with a plan, or if you’re not sure if your budget is realistic, contact a non-profit credit counsellor for free, confidential help. Typically, the earlier you contact us, the more options you’ll have.