“It’s all just a nightmare,” you tell yourself. Unfortunately, you realize it isn’t. The car’s gas gauge is on empty, you need to pay the rent, the bank account just went into the negative, the kids need money for their field trip, and you’re starting to feel that tickle in your throat that signals you are getting sick. If this situation sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone.

Financial stress puts a weight on you that is difficult to get rid of. That is why it is important to do something as soon as possible or the burden is going to take its toll on your physical health. The good news is that there are 4 Ways to manage the stress and move forward with the energy you need to do something about your financial situation.

Get a Grip and Admit the Truth

First of all, it can be difficult to come to terms with the fact your financial situation is dire. No matter how many times you say, “I can fix this,” it isn’t going to be fixed until you’re realistic. How much do you really owe? Which debts are causing you the most problems? How much do you really have to pay toward your debt? This can be overwhelming, but don’t let it get the best of you. There are a lot of people that have been through bad situations and been able to come out of them. You are no exception to this possibility.

Evaluate Your Expenses

Gather your last 3 months of bank and credit statements. Add up how much money you have had going out versus how much coming in. You might be amazed to see that what is going out is greater than what’s coming in. Figure out how much money you are spending on dining out, groceries, and entertainment. Look at the big things as well and see how much you can cut. Is it possible for you to use less electric so you can reduce your electric bill? Can you carpool to work to save money on gas? Be realistic and look at the things you can reduce or cut completely. Maybe you have an extra car you don’t use. Selling that car could pay off some of your debt. You are in the driver’s seat of your finances, so it’s time to show that you do have more control than you thought.

Re-evaluate Your Spending Attitude

Sometimes, people spend what they do because they feel they deserve the things that they buy. It’s true that we deserve to treat ourselves because we work hard. However, think about how much you deserve to be broke. No one deserves that. You need comfort and, a lot of times, that is a rather worthy reward for hard work.

Create a Budget and Stick to It

Lastly, you need to create a budget. It’s a word that no one likes, but it can help you get out-of-control finances under control. You will have an exact plan of how you’re going to get out of your mess. This might require making some telephone calls and some payment arrangements, but it’s worth it when you take control and do something about your situation. All in all, you have to think about your financial future.

Eventually, you are going to have to worry about things like retirement. This means that your budget is going to have a permanent place in your life. Perhaps, eventually, that budget can include investments and other savings instruments so you can have a more comfortable future. Even millionaires keep budgets so they don’t go overboard. While this can be a lonely journey, it’s one that will pay off in time and you’ll be glad that you took steps to improve your financial life.