Before the new year had even started, I made a list of goals I wanted to achieve in 2023. It included eating healthier, starting a new hobby, and of course, getting better at managing my finances. With prices going up, the holidays, and my tendency to sometimes (often) not consistently track my spending habits, money was leaving my bank account at a faster rate than normal.

This, in turn, caused an increase in anxiety, stress, overwhelm, and ultimately feeling out of control of my finances and my life, in general – but I’m not alone. In February 2022, according to a study done by the American Psychological Association (APA), 65% of those who responded reported that money is a significant source of their stress. Another statistic, as stated by Bankrate, is that out of those who reported having financial stress, approximately 28% said they worry about it daily.

Now, financial stress is nothing new and you may be wondering why I’m stating the obvious. I mean, most people feel stress about money at some point in their life – right? While this may be the case, anxiety about money and our financial situations is something entirely different and if not managed, can be fairly serious and harmful to our health.

Financial anxiety, as defined by Healthline, generally occurs when you are worried about your income or that something might happen to your finances. This type of anxiety can present itself similar to general anxiety and you may experience physical and/or mental symptoms, such as body aches and pains, trouble concentrating, or insomnia. However, some additional signs and symptoms that occur with financial anxiety can include:

Avoidance. Just as it sounds, this is basically avoiding or not looking at your finances due to fear or overwhelm. This can look like putting aside a bill to check at a later date or not being consistent in looking at your bank account balance (guilty).

Rigidity/Fear of Spending. While there is nothing wrong with saving money, another symptom or sign of financial anxiety can be that you are being too rigid with your spending habits. This looks like planning out your budget to the penny and could prevent you from doing something you enjoy, such as meeting friends for dinner, going on vacation, or buying a new outfit.

Overspending. As the name suggests, this is basically when your financial anxiety presents itself by ‘overspending.’ Despite the fact you may think it would be the opposite, sometimes people shop and spend a lot of money to help forget about their money issues. However, just like other things, this may only provide temporary relief from the anxiety and once it wears off, your worry about finances can come back until your next shopping spree.

Not everyone will experience these signs and some may experience more than one at the same time. Also, it is important to note that there isn’t anything wrong with sticking to a budget. There also isn’t anything wrong with shopping or treating yourself if, just like most things, it is done in moderation and you aren’t putting yourself in debt by doing so.

However, these symptoms above are all examples of doing too much of something or, in regard to ‘avoidance’, doing nothing at all and this is where it becomes an issue and turns into financial anxiety. The good news is that it is possible to manage your financial anxiety. Here are some ways on how to do so:

If you are struggling with avoidance then try starting a habit where every week, maybe even at the same time, you set time aside to look at your bank statements and/or any unopened bills. This doesn’t make you have to check your account every day, but it is good to get in the habit of consistently checking your financial status at least once a week.

If you do find yourself overspending, it may be time to create a budget. This will help you not only track your finances, but help you discover where most of your money is going to and how often. I know for me, I noticed most of my money was going to takeout and expensive coffees out. So, to counter this I started to meal prep most of my meals and make coffee at home. However, I still make sure to treat myself to one meal and a coffee out once a week. Not only does this help save a lot of money, it also makes it more special by doing it less often – sort of like a reward!

Along with tracking where and how often you’re spending money, it is a good idea to also take note of why you’re spending it. Sometimes when I have a bad day, am tired, or just generally feeling down, I will “fix” it by buying myself something from the store that I, quite honestly, didn’t need. While this might make me temporarily feel better, it doesn’t last long and then anything I’m feeling down about, in addition to now anxiety about my finances, returns in full force. If you can relate to this situation or something similar, it may be helpful to get to the root of the cause by talking to a professional. This could be a therapist or even specifically a financial therapist, as they specialize in a combination of financial advice, as well as emotional support, to help you manage financial anxiety.

There isn’t one right away to manage your financial anxiety, but it should be something that works for you, that you can be consistent with, and helps your anxiety instead of adding to it. For example, if you have anxiety about creating a budget, try just starting by writing down all purchases on a piece of paper, the notes app on your phone, or just keeping the receipts. Or if you are used to getting coffee every day, try getting it 2x-3x a week, instead of automatically cutting it out completely. Start small, be consistent, and know there are ways to help you manage financial anxiety.


  1. Mind Money Balance ( Lindsay Bryan-Podvin is a financial therapist who not only has her own practice, but also has a blog, podcast and book all geared towards helping you improve your relationship with money.
  2. Financial Feminist Podcast. Hosted by Tori Dunlap, an American investor and entrepreneur, this podcast was created to help women “make more, spend less, and feel financially confident.” She has also written a book and created “Her First $100K”, which is a financial education company. Learn more at
  3. Finance Books. This website has a list of some of the best books for personal finance in 2023, which include tips and information on budgeting, saving, and debt.

Staff Blogger: Mollie Clupper

Mollie Clupper works for MHA as a Communications and Support Specialist. Using her own experiences, she wants to help bring awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental health. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, drinking coffee, and spending time with loved ones.