The best way for most people to de-stress their lives is by making a budget, beginning to use homemade household cleaners, cooking from scratch using quick recipes, etc. It’s not that difficult, but the most difficult thing is to get started. You can use a notebook, spreadsheet, bookkeeping program, etc. to create your budget.
How to create a budget – A great reference is “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey.
Basically you need to list all of your monthly expenses, utilities, food, gas for car, debts, memberships, etc., and how much they cost you. (Below is hypothetical for one person)
Car Payment $200
Car Insurance $100
Gas for car $100
Household Cleaners $50
Life Insurance $100
Health Insurance $200
Student Loan $200
Health Club $25
Credit Card 1 $100 minimum
Credit Card 2 $50 minimum
Granted some of these will fluctuate, such as the utilities. Something which has been left out is money for play, such as dinner and a movie. If you can afford to, it’s best to pay more on your debts, such as student loan and credit cards. One way to do this is pay the minimum on all of them, but pay more (if you can afford to) on one of them. Dave Ramsey recommends to pay more on the one you owe the least on because you will pay it off quicker. He then recommends once you have paid that debt off, then use that and pay on top of the next debt you owe the least on. So take whatever you’ve been paying on debt 2 and add everything you’ve been paying on debt 1. This way you will pay debt 2 off even quicker. He calls this the snowball effect. This is good for people who need a reward often and to feel an accomplishment fairly soon. If you are not like this and would like to get out of debt quicker, then you can pay the debt you are paying the highest amount of interest. I’m not talking about the highest interest rate because you could have a credit card you are being charged 10% interest, but only owe $100. Look at how much you are paying in interest on each debt, and use the snowball effect paying the one off which you are paying the most interest on first. Then the next highest interest next, and so forth. Using this method, you will get out of debt quicker, and you’ll pay less in interest.
There is more to consider in adding to your budget such as savings, vacation, investing, retirement, emergency funds, etc. Add money to your budget to go towards your savings, and other investments.