Overcoming Financial Stress and Strain : Financial strain is probably the biggest cause of both individual and family stress in today’s economy and modern life overall. Lost jobs, skyrocketing costs, the depressed economy, it all adds up – and just trying to make ends meet becomes a major chore adding even more stress. The good news is that there is a way out!
Map Out a Plan – It All Starts with a Budget. I know, we talk about this a lot… but if you’re not yet on a budget, you simply must start there! For a lot of people, “budget” seems like an ugly word. Yes, I’ll admit it, there is some work and planning required, but a budget is still your absolute best tool in relieving financial stress. Living on a budget means you’re in control of your money, instead of your money controlling you.
You can get help here! Check local community college classes or even online listings – you can probably find a helpful, free class nearby to give you the education you need to create a budget. And if I may be allowed a “shameless plug” – there’s also our very own “Common Cents” program that will help you create a budget and do a lot more to give you much-improved finance control. You can find more about that program by clicking here.
The key to sticking to a budget is making sure it’s easy to implement. Ask around with friends and business associates… see if they’re using anything for budgeting plans and / or programs to do their own budgeting. But don’t take too long – you can always find a better program later. The key is to get started, and the sooner, the better!
Good Food at Great Prices: Another area where you can save money is at the grocery store. By using online and paper coupons, as well as flipping through the weekly flyers, you can save hundreds of dollars every month! Again, this takes some planning, but it will help relieve a lot of financial strain.
Knowing how much you spend on eating out may come as shocking news to you, it did to me! Find ways to cut back on restaurant food and plan more meals at home. You’ll be surprised at how much money you’ll save and you may even lose a few pounds!
Review Your Automatic Payments: Cutting out automatic payments from your spending will also help you be in control of your money. Check your credit card statement… most people simply look at the bottom line (or the minimum payment) each month and don’t give it a second thought. Check for any programs or services that you’ve subscribed to that automatically deducts money from your account. You may find some you never use that you can cut out. Or perhaps there are better deals to be had elsewhere, so do your research!
Choose Used: One of the best ways to reduce your expenses is by driving a used car. If you’re making a car payment, you’re throwing away money that could be better used elsewhere. If it’s possible, sell your car, pay it off, and buy a used car with the cash that you’re saving on monthly payments. You may have to give up a little pride, but reducing stress and financial strain is far more important than pride! I understand that this is a big step for a lot of people, but if you’re really serious about saving money, paying debts and creating a strong financial future, it’s definitely something to think about!
Tips to Reducing Financial Strain in Your Life: Other ways to overcome financial strain is to supplement your income. You can do this in a variety of ways. Some of them you may even find fun!
- De-clutter your home of “stuff” by sorting through and selling it on eBay, Craigslist, or Kijiji.Clean out your shed or garage and have a yard sale.
- Sell arts and crafts or jewelry on Etsy or eBay.
- Start an online business using skills you already have.
If you’re a good at a particular subject, start tutoring or teaching music lessons. If you’re a golfer or skier, get a second job at a resort or golf club. This will not only bring in extra income, but they probably offer discounts to employees, saving you money while still being able to enjoy something you love.
Get a second job that offers flexible hours. Use the extra income to pay down debt or start saving for your emergency fund.
Having a plan, sticking to a budget, and increasing your income are the best ways to overcome financial strain during these tough economic times. If you’re diligent and determined not to let today’s economy stress you out, you’re sure to succeed!
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