Feeling anxious about money is normal, but it doesn’t have to be all-consuming. There are simple steps you can take to reduce stress and build more confidence in managing your finances.

Here are six steps to help lower your financial stress, according to Royal Bank of Canada.

  1. Understand your spending habits: Knowing how your money is spent is an important part of making more informed financial decisions. It can help you determine what’s really worth spending money on and where you could cut back.
  2. Create a budget: Start by organizing your spending into key categories, such as housing, bills and entertainment, then set a realistic spending limit that aligns with your monthly earnings. Revisit and revise your budget as income or expenses change.
  3. Build an emergency fund: Having money set aside for an emergency, such as home repairs, medical bills or unexpected travel, can make a big difference in easing financial stress. While the size of your emergency fund will depend on your income and ability to contribute, it’s important to consistently set money aside for emergencies and unexpected expenses.
  4. Chip away at debt: Consolidating your debt may be a smart move that saves you time and money. For example, if you have balances on multiple credit cards or loans, you could save on interest costs by consolidating your debt to a line of credit with a lower interest rate.
  5. Talk about your finances and create a plan: Simply talking about your finances and creating a financial plan can also help you feel more in control of your money. Consider speaking with a financial advisor who can provide guidance, answer questions and help you build a plan that works for you.
  6. Maintain your physical and mental wellbeing: Depression and anxiety are common side effects of financial stress, so it’s important to maintain your physical and mental health. Simple things like going for a walk, seeing friends and family, and eating a healthy meal can help lift your spirits and make you feel more able to take control of your money.

Find more tips to help you navigate financial stress at rbc.com/mymoneymatters.