It’s past midnight, and no matter how badly you want to drift into dreamland there’s a jittery electricity lighting up your brain—you’re stressed. There’s a credit card due and not enough money in your checking account. Or maybe you want to buy a house but you’re imagining your student loan that’s the size of a down payment. Even now—you get a deep feeling of yuck in your gut just thinking about it.
You’re not alone. The American Psychological Association (APA) has been tracking what stresses Americans out the most. Since they started publishing their reports in 2007:
- Stress about money has ranked in the top five every year.
- More than 60 percent of adults say money is a frequent stressor.
- This top ranking stays consistent regardless of economic climate.
So is this money stress making us sick?
Stress is hard on your body
Walk with me briefly down a sciencey lane. We’re just strolling here: no sprinting required. Our body was meant to handle stress with agility and grace (think: caveman days). There’s an element of stress that’s good for us. We even have a handy little hormone called cortisol that acts as our built-in coffee pot—making us feel alert and energized. When we’re under constant stress (bill collector keeps calling, bank account keeps dropping), it’s as if this built-in coffee pot is stuck “on” and starts overflowing.
What this looks like in real life is a mix of consequences. An overflow of cortisol in your system may cause:
- A decrease in your body’s lymphocytes. That means fewer white blood cell warriors that stave off infection.
- An increase in inflammation. Over time, this can lead to chronic issues like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and cardiovascular problems.
- A higher likelihood of catching the common cold. This is likely due to your body’s reduced defenses under stress.
Money frequently causes stress, and stress drops your defenses against sickness.
Ok, so stress is not fun. We knew that. But how can we manage it? Well, you can manage your stress, or you can manage the root of your stress. We like to dig deep around here, so you can guess where we’re headed…
You can manage your stress, or you can manage the root of your stress.
Take back control of your money
If money stress is making you sick, we can help show you the way toward financial freedom: a budget. Yep, we felt you wince there. But hold on—a budget could be your path to peace. Maybe you’ve tried budgeting before and it just didn’t work out, or it was so stifling it didn’t last more than a week. Well, you’ve never budgeted like this before.
A common root of this money stress boils down to a specific expense: the unexpected one. A car repair, Christmas gifts, a twice-a-year insurance payment—these unforeseen expenses sure know how to wallop your checking account. It’s just downright stressful. But in our proven YNAB four-step method, we teach you how to see those blows coming and prepare for them. We call it Rule Two: Embrace Your True Expenses.
We teach you more about how to do this, along with three other rules that will change your outlook on money forever. Because here’s the thing: a budget shouldn’t be a restrictive tool that makes you feel guilty and ashamed every time you overspend. It should be a map that you design based on your values and priorities. A budget gives you freedom.
It’s your roadmap out of debt, it’s how you finally break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, and it’s the light at the end of the tunnel toward peaceful nights, peaceful days, and getting that spring back in your step.
Are you ready?
Make today the day you get your financial immune system on the road to recovery. Sign up for a free 34-day trial to learn more about how our four rules can change your financial life forever.