28 June 2022
Financial stress is inevitable for the majority of us. We will always have bills to pay, a job to keep, and unexpected expenses. What counts most is how we deal with financial stress and keep our heads from sinking.
Even the most anxious consumer can achieve a sense of control over their financial – and mental – health with a bit of foresight and a lot of soul searching. UASA urges all consumers to be financially prudent by making solid decisions for their households and future goals. Being financially sensible means earning a decent livelihood, putting money aside for the future, and not being in stuck debt.
In this blog, UASA has a few tips that can go a long way towards putting you back in the driver’s seat of your finances.
Face your debts
The first step to managing financial stress is taking an honest appraisal of your situation. Make a list of every aspect of your financial life that stresses you out. Then, set up a time to go over each account and start by organizing your financial statements. Set up alerts for due dates, so you do not miss a payment. If you have multiple bank accounts, consider merging them to simplify the process. Also, look for recurring fees or subscriptions you no longer use and cancel them.
Create a budget
Once you have reviewed every account, track your expenses and create a budget. Using a budget will help you identify leaks in your spending where you could cut back. The act of budgeting and tracking your expenses might seem like a punishment for your past spending mistakes but think of it as the road to salvation. Knowing where your money goes matters if the main goal is to manage your financial stress. Directing your money toward savings or debt payoff with a budget will ultimately lead you to a healthier financial – and emotional – place. If you have never budgeted before, do not get discouraged if you initially overspend in a few categories. Keep tweaking your budget until you find a happy medium.
If a debt is your primary source of stress, the first step should be to contact your lenders and bill providers and ask how to reduce your monthly payments. You can start by calling your cell phone, car insurance, internet, and internet service providers to ask if there are any special discounts or rates you qualify for. Make a list of all your lenders and contact each to see if there is a deferment or forbearance program. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, many lenders have been more understanding toward borrowers experiencing financial distress.
Take care of your mental health
If your mental health problems are worsening your financial situation, you need to consider talking to a licensed mental health expert. This is the first step to developing a healthier relationship with your finances. Depending on your healthcare plan, your medical aid plan usually also covers some sessions with a therapist. Otherwise, you can speak to your Human Resource manager and check if your company has an employer assistance program that includes mental health counselling.
By shining a light on all the financial problems you are scared to face, you will probably realize something important – none of these issues are as scary as they seem, and you are more than capable of dealing with each one.
Ref: www.mint.intuit.com wwww.uasa.org.za