Plan of Attack in 7 Steps to Put an End to Financial Anxiety
Plan of Attack in 7 Steps to Put an End to Financial Anxiety
When the state of the economy is such that many people are having difficulty making ends meet, a feeling of fear can set in, prompting you to question whether or not you will be able to make it through the difficult times. In this world, there are two types of people: those who allow the stress to get the best of them and financially cripple them, and those who take control of the situation and devise a strategy to alleviate the pressure and make it through the difficult time.
You can use the following advice to help you get started and dig out of the financial hole that you are in if you are currently going through a difficult money scenario but don’t know how to set yourself up with a step-by-step strategy.
This can help you make ends meet and relieve the pressure you’re feeling, regardless of whether you’re concerned about accumulating credit card debt or you’re in a more desperate scenario in which you’re concerned about putting food on the table or traveling to and from work in light of rising gas prices.
It’s possible that certain things don’t have an effect on you, but it’s still important to be aware of them in case you ever find yourself in a situation where they do. In addition, doing so can prevent these problems from being added to the ones you already have to deal with.
Take a few slow, deep breaths, and remind yourself that you have the power to bring this situation under control.
Take a moment to collect your thoughts and inhale deeply before continuing to read (literally). In this particular scenario, there is a glimmer of hope that things will become better in the future. You are going to make it through this difficult time. There have been millions of others who have had the same experience as you.
You won’t be able to think clearly if you allow yourself to remain in a state of terror for an extended period of time. You owe it to yourself and to the people you care about to keep your cool and think clearly so that you can take the steps that will keep you and your loved ones safe during these hard times.
When there is a problem with money, it might make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. Because of everything else going on in your head, it’s possible that you won’t be as effective at work. You can accidentally get short-tempered with your children or your partner.
You don’t need to add relationship issues to the mix; it’s bad enough that you’re dealing with issues related to your finances already. You can get a better night’s sleep and maintain your composure during a crisis by engaging in stress-reduction activities that do not cost anything, such as deep breathing or taking a nice, warm bath before going to bed.
You might want to be straightforward with your children about what’s going on if they’re old enough, but you should try to do so in a way that doesn’t make them feel too worried. They will probably notice that there is tension, and understanding that it is not due to anything they have done will make it easier for everyone to accept future adjustments.
Have a conversation with your loved ones in which you calmly explain that, for a short time and temporarily, you will be making some changes to your finances so that you can better pay your bills and buy the things you need.
Inform them that you will keep them informed of what you will be doing and how they can help, and underline that you appreciate them helping you with the planning. Also, let them know that you will keep them informed of how they may help. It takes a team effort to make sure that everything goes off without a hitch, and children frequently enjoy being able to contribute to the success of the family.
Determine where you stand and set your priorities accordingly.
You need to be completely forthright about the current state of affairs before you can even begin to work toward finding a solution to the problem. This means that you need to take an inventory of your financial condition and be willing to look at it, regardless of how bleak the situation may appear to be.
First things first, check your bank accounts to see how much money you have in them at the moment and whether or not you have any negative balances or are even overdrawn. You need to compile a list of all of your active credit cards as well as any other debts that you have so that you are aware of the total amount that is owing, the amount that your minimum payments are, and whether or not you are behind on those payments.
Be certain that you are aware of the interest rate that applies to any debts that you are currently making payments on. Create a separate list for everything on which you are now delinquent, and use that list to negotiate with the relevant parties in order to get things back on track.
While the situation may not be as dire for some individuals, the precarious state of many individuals’ financial situations may mean that they do not even have enough food on hand, if any at all, to feed their families. You need to compile a list of all of your present immediate needs, and just like you would do with the money that is coming in and going out of your life, you need to do the same with the food that is in your home.
For instance, you could jot down a full meal plan that details how much you spend on groceries to feed your family each week in comparison to the amount of money you have available to spend on food and other supplies. This will help you determine how much you can cut back without sacrificing quality.
Make a list of all the other essentials that need to be purchased, such as clothing, food, gas, and any number of other things. You want to have a clear understanding of what you already possess in comparison to the things you will require in the upcoming weeks and months.
Put a Temporary Halt on Certain Expenditures
Now is the moment to put a stop to spending money on things that aren’t necessary. Before you or anyone in your family expresses regret over the loss of comforts and small luxuries, make sure you know that this situation won’t last forever and emphasize that you know this.
You are going to have to put it on hold until you are able to regain control of your financial situation. After that, you will be able to work on reintroducing these items into your life as they become more affordable. Take a look at your past financial accounts to see what you are spending money on that is not an absolute requirement in your life.
You may believe that you just cannot miss your favorite television show, but the reality is that it is possible to do so. You are free to cancel your subscription to cable TV as well as any of the streaming networks that you now use.
You no longer need to stop at Starbucks on your way to work first thing in the morning. If you really need to, you can make your own pot of coffee at home. It doesn’t mean you’ll never go to Starbucks again, but it does mean that for the foreseeable future, the financial security of your family will be more important to you than your own wants and needs.
If the price of gas is having a significant negative impact on your financial condition, you might want to consider leaving your car parked in the driveway and starting to rely on public transit instead. Obviously, this is something that is highly dependent on the location that you call home as well as the quality of the public transit system in the city.
If you are used to leaving your job in the middle of the day for lunch and going to a restaurant with your coworkers or even buying fast food, you need to stop doing that and start bringing your own lunch to work until things are under control.
There are a lot of other things that could be regarded as little luxuries that can be completely cut out of your budget for the time being. These include activities such as going to get your nails done, getting a massage or a haircut every once in a while, or getting your hair cut.
Modifications to One’s Income That May Be of Service
Next, you need to examine the ways in which you may make modest adjustments to your income in order to cut your expenses while simultaneously raising the amount of money you bring in. Let’s begin with the premise that you should try to reduce your spending.
If you examine your bank accounts and monthly budgets for the past half year, you will be able to determine where the majority of your money is being spent and make adjustments as necessary. You may also see how many different kinds of small spending habits can add up to something important over time.
For instance, if you are the type of person who doesn’t mind leaving the television on for your pets while you’re at work or if you are the type of person who leaves the lights on and the air conditioner set to 68 degrees when no one is home, those are changes you can make that will easily cut back on your outgoing responsibilities. If you are the type of person who doesn’t mind leaving the television on for your pets while you’re at work, those are changes you can make.
You must demonstrate responsible behavior when using all of your appliances. If you use appliances in your home that generate heat, such as your clothes dryer or oven, this might make it more difficult for your air conditioner to bring the temperature of your home down to a comfortable level.
Wait until the hottest part of the day is over, and then try to use these appliances during the cooler part of the night if at all possible. Additionally, make it a habit to adjust the temperature of your home so that it is slightly warmer during the summer months and slightly colder during the winter months whenever it is possible to do so.
Be sure that, in addition to your appliances, you are not wasting any water either inside or outside the house. It is not as vital for you to maintain a green lawn as it is for you to put food on the table, so prioritize how you use water and power in the most effective manner possible.
You could also want to take a look at the plan you have for your phone to determine whether or not you can save costs in that area. It’s possible, for instance, that you now have access to an endless variety of amenities through your plan, which you can scale back on while you’re in this difficult financial circumstance.
If things have gone so bad that you are behind on your utility payments, contact the provider to find out if they have an assistance program for customers in your situation. When people are having trouble paying their water or electricity bills, these organizations frequently have a built-in system to assist those individuals.
If you have fallen behind on the payments for your house, even your mortgage company could have a program that can assist you in getting caught up. These are not meant to permanently lower people’s payments. Instead, they are meant to help people get through a short-term financial crisis.
You can also ask the establishments to whom you owe money, such as your credit card companies and other creditors, for assistance in dealing with your current financial circumstances by contacting them. In order to help you get back on your feet, many of them will temporarily halt your payments or considerably cut them without charging you any further fees.
Again, companies will offer you a little leniency, at least temporarily. Because of this, it is imperative that you address the matter aggressively so that when your brief reprieve is gone, you will be able to pay your payments in a manner that is satisfactory.
If you have a significant amount of debt, one option to explore is enrolling in a debt consolidation program. Consolidating your debt into a single payment per month at a slightly reduced interest rate can assist you in paying it off faster as opposed to making a number of smaller payments spread out over a long period of time at high-interest rates.
After you have ensured that your urgent requirements are met, you will want to get started on paying down your debt. As a result, once you have food on the table, a way to get to and from work, and all of your medical needs are met, it will be time to reduce your debt so that you are no longer in a vulnerable financial situation.
There are many approaches you may take to managing your debt, but the most prudent one would be to prioritize your obligations in terms of the interest rates you are currently required to pay. The debt with the greatest interest rate should be paid off first, followed by the debt with the next highest interest rate.
Many people like using the snowball technique, in which you pay off the item on the list that comes first. However, despite the fact that doing so may make you feel better, it is not the most financially astute action that will help you keep more of your money in your pocket and is not recommended.
It is a significant step toward achieving financial stability to take care of the ever-increasing bill totals. On the other hand, you should also start thinking about ways in which you might boost your revenue. Your first step should be to talk to your boss and ask for a raise.
You should go prepared with an explanation of why you deserve it and an estimate of how much money you anticipate receiving. This may or may not work out, but many people are too intimidated by the prospect of asking for more money, and as a result, the corporation does not feel forced to step up and do it for you since they do not feel it is in their best interest to do so.
If you are currently working on an hourly basis, the next step is to request a raise in your hours. If you need money right now, you can take on those extra shifts that will start earning you over time. This will allow you to meet your urgent financial obligations.
You could also consider picking up a part-time job on the side. If you already have a regular job that keeps you busy from eight in the morning until five at night, you can supplement the income you make on the job by picking up online employment in the evenings and on the weekends. This will allow you to make ends meet.
Consider picking up shifts as a ride-sharing driver for Uber or Lyft, or delivering food and groceries using Instacart, Door Dash, or Uber Eats if you prefer to work offline during those times.
You can generate money doing internet work for other people by freelancing for them. You might be able to ghostwrite their blog posts, develop graphics like eBook covers, or even operate as a virtual assistant for them to handle administrative jobs that they don’t have time for.
You may find work opportunities on websites such as UpWork, and you can even create your own work opportunities on websites such as Fiverr. You could also become an affiliate marketer and sell things online. You could also make your own information products and sell them on sites like Warrior Plus, JVZoo, and ClickBank.
Swap out some of your indulgences for some necessities instead.
There are numerous items that can be used as suitable substitutes for one another. Earlier, we discussed reducing or eliminating spending that is unnecessary. In addition, one of the topics included in that list was going out to eat at restaurants or fast food establishments.
As a matter of fact, this is more of a substitute that you will be making, as you will be packing your own meals rather than spending money unnecessarily on food that you can buy on the run. You also have the option of using some other things in their place.
When you go shopping, whether it’s for cat litter or cereal at the grocery store, you should avoid paying more money for brand-name products whenever you can. For instance, you should quit buying cereal at the grocery store. Even though you may have a personal preference for a particular brand of soft toilet paper, such as Charmin, that does not mean that you have to pay more money per pack only for the comfort of using that brand.
For illustration’s sake, a single unit of a 12-roll pack of Charmin costs $16.99 at Albertson’s. You can acquire a bundle of twelve rolls of toilet paper from their store brand, which is called Signature, for just $12.79. That’s a difference of $4.20, and if you apply that over your entire shopping basket, you’ll end up saving a large amount of money overall.
When looking for ways to save more money, you might not always need to switch brands, but you might be able to switch the sort of product that you are purchasing instead. For example, you might be used to buying Purina Tidy Cats Lightweight Litter, which costs $11.99 for 20 pounds.
However, if you choose to purchase the Tidy Cats clay litter instead, you will still receive 20 pounds, but each bag will only set you back $6.49. You’ll save $5.50 on each bag with that discount. When you start planning your purchases in advance like this, it’s easy to see how quickly this may mount up.
Not everything revolves around going to the supermarket, either. Always make sure to do comparison shopping before shelling out any cash for a purchase. Not only can you get better deals online, sometimes with free shipping if you look for a coupon code, but you can also find deals by buying in bulk or even buying locally, where you drive up and they bring the item out to your car for you. This is in addition to the fact that you can get better deals online, sometimes with free shipping.
The rapid rate at which their children develop can be a source of financial stress for many parents because it increases the frequency with which they must make purchases of new clothing for their children. These days, the concept of going thrifting is very popular among young people, and even those who have lots of money participate in this practice.
You can purchase at one of the many online thrift stores that offer wonderful prices of up to 85–90% off on brand names, or you can travel to local thrift shops to locate great clothes that are still in good condition and that will fit your family.
You Might Need to Make Some Important Changes
Now comes the challenging part: sometimes your financial situation is so out of hand that making a lot of little adjustments won’t add up to enough to save you even if you try really hard. It depends on how far it has come and how much money you can make at that time.
You can make one of these four changes that can assist if you want to undertake a complete overhaul that will immediately reduce a large portion of the huge financial stress you are currently suffering from. If you do this, you will be able to get your life back on track.
Because a lack of food is a primary issue for many households right now, if you are having trouble in this area, you should first insist that we make a stop at your neighborhood food bank to pick up what you require to make it through the current crisis.
When you visit one of the many food banks in your region to pick up what you and your family require, they will not interrogate you in any way and will not make you feel uncomfortable about doing so. These include church groups that make their food pantries accessible to the community so that individuals can stop by and pick up their foodstuffs; hence, check everywhere.
Second, you have the option of going and registering for food stamps. Despite the fact that this is a process that many people do not choose to go through, it is quite inconspicuous, and you can simply use your card to purchase the food that you and your family require during times of financial strain.
The second thing you can do is something that is dependent on your current housing situation. In the past few months, a lot of folks have seen their rent go up by double, treble, or even four times as much. If you are in danger of losing the place where you sleep, you should seriously consider moving as soon as possible.
Because of this, you might have to break your lease or lose your security deposit, but in the long run, it might be better for you to be able to afford the place where you are living now. You and your children may need to have a conversation about sharing a room, or you may need to reduce the amount of space that you have available for your family as a whole.
There are even some families that are moving on to the same property with their elder families, sharing their home or even building a tiny home or living in a camper in the back while they get their finances in order. This is something that some families are doing in order to save money.
Reducing the size of your vehicle is the third suggestion we have for you to think about. Because there is a current shortage of automobiles, which has led to an increase in the price at which they are being traded, you could be able to get more money for your vehicle if you decide to sell it than you would have in the past.
After that, you will be able to get something that is dependable, although it might not be as luxurious as what you had before. There are certain individuals who decide to completely switch over to a different form of transportation.
For instance, rather than driving a gas-guzzling automobile, they might decide to purchase a motorcycle or even ride a bicycle to work if doing so is realistic in terms of the amount of time it would take and the amount of distance that would need to be traveled.
There’s also the option of carpooling with your fellow employees. By doing so, you will reduce the amount of wear and tear that occurs on your own automobile, as well as the amount of money that you have to spend on gas.
You may love where you work and the people you work with, but if it does not offer the type of income you require or want, there are many other employees who are begging for people to come work for them at this time. The final difficult decision you may have to make is whether or not you want to keep the job that you are currently doing.
It’s possible that the new type of employment you went to feels like a step backward in terms of position. You may, however, make more money stacking shelves than you would in an office job because many chain stores are currently rewarding new workers with higher compensation just to be able to keep their doors open. This is so that the stores can continue to meet customer demand.
Make reevaluating your financial strategy a monthly ritual in your life.
After you have made all of these adjustments and the pressure starts to ease off of you, you will want to make a specific plan to revisit your financial situation at least once every four weeks. You should do this as soon as the pressure starts to ease off of you after you have made all of these changes.
You will be able to examine your spending patterns in this manner and determine whether or not there are any additional ones that can be curtailed. You will also be able to renegotiate with your creditors to determine whether or not they are able to change the interest rate that they are charging you.
You should create a checklist of the numerous items you wish to follow up on in order to determine whether or not there is room for improvement in that area. You will eventually reach a point where you are able to relax and acknowledge that your financial situation has significantly improved. At that point, you can start bringing back some of the comforts and luxuries you used to enjoy, but you’ll do it in a way that won’t put you at risk for the foreseeable future.