Financial wellbeing: managing money worries

Fatmata Kamara
Mental Health Nurse Global Case Manager
26 March 2023
Next review due March 2026

Managing your money can be tricky. If you’re struggling with financial worries, it can impact your mood and make you feel low. And, affect your physical health. Here, I offer some practical advice to help you take control of your finances and look after your wellbeing.

worried person looking out window

How can I stop worrying about money?

Most of us have experienced money worries – more bills arrive, loved one’s birthdays are near and then the car breaks down. Sometimes it can be hard to see how your income will cover your outgoings. And this can cause stress and anxiety.

It can be hard to stop worrying if you feel stressed about money. But, there are steps you can take to help get your finances in order. Using tools like our worry tree can also help to make things feel more manageable. And, following self-help tips to manage stress can help you feel more in control when facing difficult times.

It’s also important to remember that you’re not alone. The UK debt charity Step Change had almost 500,000 new clients contact them in 2021 for debt advice. And, around 39% of these people were also experiencing issues with their mental health.

Can money worries affect mental health?

Money worries can lead to anxiety, low mood and increase the risk of mental health problems. When we’re feeling upset or worried, this can also affect your sleep, which can also impact your mental health.

Unfortunately, it can be a cycle. Worrying about money can impact our mental health. But if you have poor mental health, you might also find it harder to manage your money.

I‘m in financial trouble, what can I do?

If you’re struggling financially, and the pressure is impacting your health, it might be time to try and sort things out. It might feel like you don’t know where to begin. Following the steps below can be a good place to start.

  • Find out what you’re spending. Write down all your outgoings and set yourself a budget. This can help you to cut unnecessary spending and find areas where you could save money. For example, could you cut down on meals out or takeaways? Or why not try making your lunchtime sandwich at home rather than buying it from a café?
  • Talk it through. Many people avoid talking about financial worries through fear of judgement or embarrassment. But talking it through with a loved one can help ease some of the pressure and might make you feel better.
  • Don’t delay. If you’re struggling to pay a bill, don’t ignore it. Call the company and be honest with them. Some companies might allow you to pay smaller amounts or take a payment break.
  • Get organised. Sometimes, putting aside time to organise your bills and documents can make you feel more in control. If you know where your documents are, and what needs to be paid, it can be easier to create an action plan.
  • Reach out. Getting the right support if you’re experiencing mental health issues is another step that will help you feel more able to manage your finances. There are also lots of financial charities available to offer advice on money management and debt.

See the ‘if you need help now’ section at the bottom of this article for more information. And, if you’re experiencing stress, anxiety or depression, visit your GP.

How can I save more money?

Why not try making some of these small changes to help reduce your spending.

  • Save on your commute. Could you cycle or walk all or part of your journey? Walking or cycling to work is often cheaper than using public transport or your car. It’s also a great way to get more exercise and is better for the environment. If you travel by train to work, buying an annual ticket could save you money. Some employers offer season ticket loans to help.
  • Get creative with leftover food. Leftover vegetables can be made into soups and over-ripe fruit can be used in smoothies. Why not try using very ripe bananas for banana bread. Cooking in batches can also help save money. And you can freeze leftovers for work lunches or for a meal on another day.
  • Embrace cosy nights in. It can be difficult to turn down an invite for dinner. But eating out can be costly. Instead, save dining out for special occasions and invite friends over for a home cooked meal instead. Or, enjoy a movie night at home.
  • Affordable days out. There are lots of ways you can spend your free time that don’t cost a lot. Rather than meeting with friends to go shopping, why not meet in a local park for some fresh air and exercise. There are also lots of museums and art galleries that you can visit for a small fee, and sometimes even for free!

If you need help now

If things are getting out of control and you can’t see a way forward, the following organisations are there to offer free advice and support.

If you’re worried about your mental health, our direct access service aims to provide you with the advice, support and treatment you need as quickly as possible. You’ll be able to get mental health advice and support usually without the need for a GP referral. Learn more today.

Fatmata Kamara
Fatmata Kamara (she/her)
Mental Health Nurse Global Case Manager



Lucy Kapoutsos, Health Content Editor at Bupa UK

    • StepChange 2021 client statistics. StepChange. Published 7 April 2022
    • Debt and mental health. Mental Health Foundation. Last updated 10 April 2021
    • Money and mental health. Mind. Published August 2021
    • Organising your finances. Mind. Published April 2021
    • Reducing your spending. Saving money and increasing income. StepChange. Accessed February 2023
    • Money and mental health. Getting support. Mind. Published April 2022
    • If you’re struggling to pay your phone, internet or tv bill. Citizens advice. Accessed February 2023
    • Mental health can affect the way you deal with money. The link between money and mental health Mind. Published April 2022
    • Cycle to Work Scheme Guidance for Employers. Department for Transport. Published June 2019
    • Eating healthy on a tight budget: 6 top tips. British Heart Foundation. Published September 2022

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