By DJ Enga, Account Manager and EAP Consultant
Everything seems to be more expensive this year: gas, groceries, utilities—and holiday gifts. With inflation nearing levels not seen since the 1980s, many families and individuals are dipping into savings and using credit to meet the demand of higher costs.
This strain on our pocketbooks can also leave us feeling anxious, fearful, and stressed. People may wonder, how long will this continue? What happens if something breaks down and I don’t have enough money to replace or fix it? Will prices skyrocket even more? Not to mention trying to fit in all that comes with the expectations of the holiday season.
Chronic stress tends to live in the areas of our lives where we feel a lack of control. With the external triggers of higher inflation and interest rates, it is vital to recognize the need for a financial plan, especially this time of year! If we do not focus our efforts on areas within our control, we can find ourselves in an unhealthy mental state that can impact our work performance, relationships, and even our physical health.
The following tips can help you address concerns in your financial life and alleviate stress—not only during the holiday season but throughout the year:
- Assess your current budget. Sit down and list your monthly fixed and variable expenses to determine whether your current income is enough to meet the demand of inflation.
- Tighten up. If you find areas that are causing a financial burden, it might be time to cut back on spending, at least temporarily, to bring peace of mind. Things like streaming services, going out to eat, impulse spending, and subscriptions are things to consider.
- Address debt. Using credit to help make ends meet is counter to creating a healthy financial situation. If you find that you’re leaning on credit cards to make ends meet, it might be wise to meet with a financial counselor to explore options. Also, if you find yourself struggling to meet your obligations with creditors, it’s always a good idea to contact them and ask about any hardship programs or other potential concessions that might be available.
- Consider an allowance. While allowances are often considered something geared toward young people, adults can benefit greatly from having a set amount of money to spend on “the extras.” By creating boundaries that prevent overspending, an allowance can help you achieve financial goals, which can lead to greater savings and financial empowerment.
- Seek financial counseling. To map out a financial strategy, consider reaching out to your Assistance Program to schedule a free and confidential financial counseling session. Speaking with a certified financial counselor can help you find new insights, direction, and resources and create a higher level of awareness and control to help maintain or restore financial balance.
Over time, financial stress can greatly impact our mental health if we don’t make an effort to be proactive. To improve your financial wellness during this challenging time, contact your Assistance Program for confidential support.
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