Avoid Cash Anxiety with Careful Management; Getting into a Frenzy about Finances Will Do Little to Smooth out Your Bank Balance. Managing Spending Is the Key to Being a Calm Consumer. ADRIENNE McGILL Reports

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Byline: ADRIENNE McGILL

WITH the exception of perhaps Madonna and Guy Ritchie, everybody gets stressed about money, from time-to-time. But rather than pushing it to the back on your mind - now is the time to deal with it.

Stress can be the result of many things - relationships, health or fear of crime. Yet, according to research, young people worry about money more than anything else, and across all age groups financial worries are second only to fear of crime.

Where possible, it's important to try to address the root cause of the anxiety. And with recent figures from the Bank of England showing that consumer borrowing is rising, it's no wonder we all get frazzled with our finances.

Compared to 30 years ago, consumers now are much more comfortable with spreading the payments over time for purchases, rather than waiting until they've saved the full amount. Yet many of us don't look carefully enough at how to do this in the most cost-effective way - and as a result could be wasting hundreds of pounds.

Advice from the British Bankers Association is "Don't try to cope alone."

The organisation says: "Use the free help and advice services that are available. Don't ignore the problems and hope that they will go away - they won't. Do talk to your bank and to any other creditors - silence in not golden."

Most borrowing is the result of large purchases bought with finance deals such as a car, furniture or carpets. Yet many of the finance deals available on this type of purchase charge very high rates.

If you're paying an interest rate of nearly 20 per cent to buy a carpet, when you could be paying under 8 per cent, you're simply throwing money down the drain.

And, if you've got outstanding credit or store card balances which revolve month after month without any structure to help you finally clear the balance, it's likely you'll be stressed about this.

Often, payments seem large and unmanageable, but one easy solution is to combine all these debts into one simple, fixed payment through a personal loan. …