As someone who can sometimes be a little too obsessed with crunching numbers, I can understand the mindset of someone who goes full freak-out mode when things don’t add up. There are some times when you do all the math in the world, but it seems like you just won’t have enough money to make that one credit card payment, or put as much into savings that you’d like.

In these situations, it’s more important than ever to calm down and let a cooler head prevail. Stressing out will only make things harder for you and your loved ones, and it certainly won’t make you any more money. Here are a few tips you can use to cool down a bit when you're dealing with financial hardship:

  1. Know that not everything has to be perfect
  2. Double-check your math
  3. Try meditating or praying

1. Not Everything Has to Be Perfect

There are going to be times when not everything is perfect. There are going to be months when you’ll be able to put more into your savings and investments, and there might be months when you won’t be able to save anything. These periods will balance themselves out, and at the end of the year, you’ll end up looking back and wishing you hadn’t worried so much about that extra $200 you weren’t able to stash away. Don’t stress about imperfection. It’s unrealistic to think that you won’t hit bumps along your financial journey.

2. Checking the Numbers

I can’t stress this enough: Don’t have a fit until you run all of the numbers. If you’re doing your budgeting for the month and you see that you’ll be short, go back through and check all of your math or data entry.

Sometimes your stress can be due to a small clerical error, and you’ll find that you’ve been in a tizzy over absolutely nothing.

There have been several times when an imbalance in my personal budget came down to an incorrect entry in my spreadsheet. Sometimes all it takes is a second look.

3. Meditation or Prayer

If you’re religious or spiritual, meditation and prayer can be a very powerful tool. When things just aren’t looking like they’re going to work out, it’s important to rely on your beliefs and have faith that things will work out. Even if they don’t, it will save you from a lot of stress and anxiety about the unknown.

There have been times in my life when my family didn’t know how we were going to pay our electricity bill, but everything worked itself out, things came up, and we were always fine. Know that everything works out, meditate or pray on it, and things will be fine. It’s never a life-shattering disaster. You can always pick yourself up and jump back on the horse, so to speak.

The Bottom Line on Dealing With Financial Hardship

These three tips will help you succeed in managing your finances when the going gets tough. Some of these tips apply not only to times of financial hardship, but also to life’s hardships in general. It’s important to keep your cool in stressful situations so that you can focus and communicate clearly. Life has an uncanny ability to throw punches that you don’t always know how to counter, but these tips can help you navigate the labyrinth of life more effectively.

Bonus tip: Set up an emergency fund so you can limit your times of financial hardship. Having two to three months of expenses stashed away can keep you out of hot water.