With Tiffany Hollinger
October 12, 2020
Dealing with Financial Stress? We are now 7-8 months into the era of Covid-19 in the United States. The impact of a global pandemic is still alive and well. Unemployment remains high, small, medium and large companies are closing their doors and we are in a moment of political uncertainty. Americans of any age, gender and or race are dealing with a lot these days. In one of my previous articles, Monday Monday’s with AskTiffanyH, I shared tips on how to save and provided resources to help weather these challenging financial times. And while I am not a psychiatrist nor a psychologist, I wanted to share over the next couple series a few tips to deal with financial stress during these times.
Our financial picture is just one piece of the puzzle of our entire life. So we should not only use some of the tips I’m going to provide to reduce stress, I’d like to suggest to please also find tools and resources to deal with our emotional stress that may be occurring as we are dealing with the impact of this current global pandemic. Even if that non-financial assistance is seeking some meditation, spiritual counseling, therapy or whatever, just please take time to ensure your entire being is well.
Now, to address dealing with financial stress that is not related to the lack of resources (income), but more so dealing with the uncertainty of what the future holds. In this article I have to reiterate the critical importance of CREATING A BUDGET. Yes, a budget!!!! While this seems so minor, it is critically important to deal with the day to day necessity of life. A budget in writing, is one of the best tools to reduce financial stress! How you ask? When you have your expenses written down together with all of your income in writing you can “SEE”!!! You can see the amount of money coming in and you can see the money going out. It also provides you a snap shot in real time, on if you have more expenses i.e. money going out, than income i.e. money coming in. When that is the case it can then shed light on why we end up spending more on our credit cards or find ourselves paying late fees, etc.
Think of it this way. You are going on a road trip out of state. It’s better to have the directions in writing (by the way GPS is in writing) then to have someone verbally tell you the directions and you try to remember, along with driving, navigating traffic, keeping an eye on the speed limits, etc. When these other driving factors happen, they can present themselves as a distraction, but when the directions are in writing you can refer to them to stay on track. There is a powerful connections when things are in writing. Thus having your income and expenses written down provides a power tool to reduce stress.
Most people confuse a budget with a restriction or some limited amount they can spend on a monthly bases. “I only have $20 budgeted for coffee this week”. Not so, it is only a small piece of the entire budget puzzle. Primarily, when you have your income and expense written down, you are better able to see a potential pit fall that may arise in the future. For example, you have your income in writing showing $4,000 a month and expense of $3,850 that leaves $150 of discretionary income. So, if your child sports team needs $250 next month to cover uniforms and traveling for away games. You will immediately know that there is a short fall. Now that doesn’t mean that the answer is no, but you can look at your budget and see if there’s another expense that you cannot incur. Like maybe no coffee for two weeks, or no nail appointment or even be able to ask if the payments can be broken down in two installments over two months. But what happens when income and expenses are not in writing, we say ok, because we feel like $250, in and of itself, is not a lot and we can afford it. Not realizing it will cause a financial shortage that many times leave us putting other needed expense on credit cards, etc.
The saying ‘knowledge is power’ is so true. When you know and see what money inflow and outflow is, you are better equipped to deal with and make adjustments accordingly. This leads to reducing stress of having unknown short falls. When we are informed, empowered and educated about our finances, stress is greatly reduced. Need help reducing stress by creating a budget? Contact me, I’m here to help!
Any questions, more details, or tips, please contact me at AskTiffanyH@gmail.com or on Instagram at @Ask_TiffanyH, Financial Planner & Realtor.