6 Tips To Get Through Hard Financial Times

If the current economic situation isn’t making you pinch your pennies yet, it’s only a matter of time. Everyone goes through hard financial times at some point, and right now a lot of people are in that position. A Modern Wealth Survey found that 59% of Americans are one lost paycheck away from homelessness. Difficult times can increase stress and anxiety and contribute to mental health issues. 

1| Review Your Budget

Unfortunately, difficult times mean strict cuts. So, start by reviewing your budget to cut any unnecessary expenses. Start tracking your spending and see where you can save money, whether it’s buying store brand items, clipping coupons, or skipping on lunches out. You can also use a browser extension like Honey or InvisibleHand to automatically find discount codes when you shop online, whether it’s for online grocery shopping or clothes for the new school year. If there’s money left in your budget, you can pay extra toward debt, but that may need to wait until better times. 

You should work toward building an emergency fund. Financial experts suggest having a minimum of three months of living expenses in a savings fund. If you get sick or lose your job, you need money to fall back on. 

2| Negotiate

If you are paying a mortgage, you may be able to speak to your bank about a payment plan. You may also be able to contact your utility providers to defer or reduce your payments for an agreed period of time. 

You can’t exactly negotiate prices at the supermarket, but you can make an effort to reduce your expenses as best you can. When people are stressed out, anxious, bored, or sad it’s easy to window shop online and spend money you don’t have. It’s an unfortunate side effect many people experience, especially when dealing with financial hardship. 

Instead, look out for free trials and services and cut out the ones that cost you money. You can always resubscribe when things are looking up. But there are plenty of ways to find entertainment in the meantime. 

3| Prioritize 

Life is very different from what it used to be, which means now is the right need to rethink your priorities. Think of this as hitting the reset button. You don’t need to rehash old decisions or tie your emotional or physical well-being to the past. You can look at your current situation and what you want for your future and consider what it will take now to make it happen then. 

4| Pay Down Debt

When you don’t have much money, paying down your debt might seem like a pipedream. And it might not seem like the best way to cope with financial times, but do not underestimate how stressful carrying debt is. It’s a heavy weight on anyone’s shoulders and focusing on paying it down can help you feel a little less worried.

If you’re heavily in debt, you may need to speak to your creditors individually about a payment plan that works. Just be sure you know how much you can afford to pay before you get in touch.

5| Emotional Support

If your financial situation is spiraling, don’t hide the truth from your partner. It’s much easier to tackle these situations as a team and by sharing the burden you will lessen your stress. Besides, two heads are better than one when it comes to finding solutions for how to navigate difficult financial times. You can also bring your friends and family into the conversation if you can share carpool duties and take turns with child care. 

6| Seek Help 

Whatever is going on – if you are feeling overwhelmed by your personal situation, you should seek help. Whether it’s a free online resource, speaking to a friend, or visiting your primary care physician. Many employers have an employee assistance program that can help you with both stress and financial issues. Don’t be afraid to get help.