Five Ways to Manage Financial Stress During COVID-19
Even under the best circumstances, most of us deal with financial stress in our daily lives. With the additional stress that has been placed on many individuals and families as a result of COVID-19 from job loss or changes in income, and uncertainty about the future, financial worries are even more common. Dealing with your finances at a time like this can be completely overwhelming. Here are a few strategies to help you manage your money worries right now.
Track Your Spending
Often when you’re faced with financial stress, the last thing you feel like doing is creating a budget. But this is almost always the first step towards stress management. Take the time to write all of your expenses down. Break them into fixed expenses (those you can’t change) and flexible expenses (those you can change or cut). This can help give you a complete picture of your financial health. Use real numbers for your budget as much as possible. You can do this by looking at past spending and your monthly bills. Creating an accurate budget will give you the best gauge of your actual financial situation. It can also help you determine the lowest amount of money you need to get by.
Cut Expenses Where You Can
Once you have created a budget, it’s time to get to work on making changes where you can. Are there services you are paying for (such as the gym) but aren’t using either because they are closed, or you’ve currently made other arrangements? Contact these companies and see if you can suspend or cancel your membership for now. If you are having trouble paying bills, contact your service providers to see if there are any suspension options currently in place as a result of the pandemic. Be sure that you understand the terms of these programs and when payments will resume.
Find Resources in Your Area
It can be helpful in times of financial stress to know you aren’t alone. If you are having trouble paying your bills, securing food, or need other services, find resources in your area that you can turn to for help. Look for food assistance programs and healthcare resources locally or at your state level. Reach out for community assistance in paying utility bills with your local community or utility company. There are so many resources out there that can provide help and relief. Become familiar with what is available in your community.
Avoid Retail Therapy
When we’re sad or stressed, we often look for quick emotional boosts. For some people, this means spending money. This can be an expensive habit, and when money is already causing stress it can make a budget go off the rails. Now may be a good time to curb this habit to keep more money in your pocket. If you find yourself browsing online out of boredom or spending money you normally wouldn’t just to feel better, avoiding the temptation to shop may be helpful. One good step to take is to hide or delete shopping apps from your mobile devices. This can remove the temptation and help you save your money for necessary expenses.
Find Someone to Talk To
Feeling stressed and worried about money can be a very isolating. If you are struggling with your finances during this time, finding someone to talk to might help. You can speak to a trusted friend or family member, a member of your religious community, or find an Accredited Financial Counselor® that you can speak to about your worries and concerns. Having someone to share your stresses with can lighten the load. It can also provide outside perspective and help you find solutions to your problems. SaverLife is also partnering with TrustPlus to offer free financial coaching to all members during this crisis.
Times like these can really highlight the stresses in life, and the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly put a focus on personal finance. These are just five things you can do to help manage and mitigate the financial stress that you are experiencing. There are many other ways to manage financial stress. The key is to find the right solution for you!
Kimbree Redburn is an Accredited Financial Counselor® with a background in economic development. She works with her clients to help them understand their financial options and make money decisions with confidence. She believes that financial education gives people a chance to build a better life.