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Depression & finances  How do I stop stressing about money?

The link between financial stress and your mental health

Are your financial worries leading you to experience increased stress and anxiety? Are you struggling with your mental health because of severe financial stress? Do you always find yourself preoccupied with worrying about money and how you will pay all your bills, while still putting food on the table each night?

In a survey conducted by Sanlam in 2023, 81% of South Africans experienced stress when dealing with their finances. A shocking 17% are content with their current financial situation. 

Additionally, 68% surveyed feel hopeless about their debt situation. 

Did you know: individuals who are financially-stressed are twice as likely to report poor overall health. They are also four times as likely to suffer from health conditions.

There is definitely a link between your mental health and the financial difficulties you are facing. 

Signs you may be experiencing mental health problems due to financial stress 

  1. You struggle to fall asleep because you are constantly worrying about money. 
  2. You start to feel demotivated about showing up to work because your salary doesn't cover all your bills. 
  3. You become easily irritated with friends and family. 
  4. You feel hopeless about all your debt and expenses and the way forward. 
  5. You feel overwhelmed when thinking about your credit card debt. 

What you can do about your money stress

Take a good, honest look at your finances

The first step in reducing stress and anxiety related to your finances is taking a good, honest look at your finances. Unfortunately, wishing and hoping a bad financial state will just resolve itself will not work, and will probably lead you to feeling more anxious about your situation. 

When you do this, you need to look at your previous months bank statements and work out your spending habits and where the bulk of your money is going to. 

You should also make a list of all your debt.

To help you track your monthly expenses and income, you can use our FREE, fully customisable budget template here. 

Set financial goals for yourself

Once you have determined the full amount you owe and your spending habits, you should now reflect on and set financial goals for yourself. What do you want to achieve? If you are stressed about your finances a big priority would probably be getting out of or reducing debt. 

Following this, you also want to set a goal of saving for an emergency fund so that you do not become overly reliant on debt again. 

Choose a strategy for achieving your financial goal(s)

If you are wanting to get out of debt, you will need to choose a debt repayment strategy to tackle your debt head-on. This may include the Debt Snowball Method where you identify the smallest debt and prioritise paying that off first. You do this until you've paid off all your debt. 

Alternatively, you may want to make use of the Debt Avalanche Method where you tackle the debt with the highest interest rate first. By doing this, you can actually end up saving money in the long-run. 

However, chances are, if you are really struggling financially, you don't have any wiggle-room to pay more than your minimum payments on your debt. In fact, you may be struggling to even make those minimum payments, if this is you, there is STILL a way out. 

Your way out is with debt counselling at Meerkat. 

Get out of debt with debt counselling at Meerkat

If you are struggling to make the minimum payments on your debt obligations, you may be over-indebted and need debt counselling (debt review). 

Debt counselling also known as debt review is a programme aimed at South Africans who are struggling or unable to pay all their debt. It's a way of consolidating all your debt and providing immediate relief by reducing your monthly debt repayment amount by up to 50% *. 

Once a Debt Counsellor has confirmed that you are over-indebted (struggling to pay your debt), they will work out a new repayment plan for all your debt that is affordable and takes into account your daily living expenses. 

How is the Debt Counsellor able to do this?

They negotiate with your creditors on your behalf to reduce the interest rates on your loans.

What are the benefits of undergoing debt counselling?

  • Creditors no longer hassle you about paying your accounts. 

  • Immediate relief and ease from financial stress because a new, affordable repayment plan is set up for you. 

  • Your assets like your home and your car are protected from legal action and repossession. 

    Contact me about debt review >>

Who is Meerkat?

Meerkat is a financial services provider who helps South African consumers do MORE with their money. The unfortunate reality is that we can't always earn more money, so how can we do more with what we currently have? That's where we step in. We do this by helping South Africans with debt counselling, getting affordable funeral cover, setting up an emergency savings account, and protecting their finances should the unexpected happen with credit life cover. 


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