Many Americans today are feeling the ripple effect of financial strain due to layoffs, salary cuts, and small business closings. Some high school graduates are deferring a year for college, directly impacting the higher education system. Hospital bills are putting increasing pressure on families who have fallen victim to the pandemic or other unfortunate circumstances. And the American job market is as competitive as ever, leaving millions in the unemployment system searching daily for new opportunities.
This, among other daily stressors, is the root of financial strain which can also take a toll on your overall physical and mental health. At Dutch Point Credit Union, we care about your well-being. It's important to take a step back and handle the stressful situations life throws at us with a calm mind in order to stay healthy, and we are here to help you every step of the way. Let’s explore the effects of financial strain, and how to cope with high-stress situations so that you can prioritize your financial health when life hands you lemons.
The Impact of Financial Stress on Your Health
There are times in our lives where it can be difficult to remain financially stable. But it's incredibly important for your physical and mental health to stay on top of your finances – and that’s why we’re here to help.
It's important to feel in control, no matter the amount of income that you have. There are always options to get back on your feet and Dutch Point Credit Union can help you in both the good times and the bad. A few common, physical representations of chronic stress that can be a direct result of poor finances include digestive issues and stomach ulcers, insomnia, anxiety, and high blood pressure.
Having chronic stress in your life due to your finances is a dangerous road to travel down. Many Americans avoid doctor visits and year physicals to diminish medical expenses, but this type of preventative treatment can be costly to your health. This can be even worse if you have fallen victim to stress-induced situations such as depression or high blood pressure.
Money stress can also impact your mental health, which adversely makes it harder to focus on your finances. Tackling a pile of bills or taking time off work as a result of financial distress can be a downward spiral, and so on.
Tips To Cope with Financial Stress
Tip 1: Reach Out for Help
- Find people you trust - The first step for maintaining your health in correlation to your finances is to ask for help when you need it. Whether it’s opening up to your family members or asking for help from employers, talking face-to-face with someone whom you trust can relieve stress in it of itself. It helps put things into perspective and allows your loved ones to know right where you are financially and how they can help.
- Work with a professional - Meet with an advisor whose specialty is organizing your finances and helping you get out of difficult situations and into healthier situations. Take the time to meet with one of our experienced financial advisors at Dutch Point Credit Union and ensure that you are set up for success in the future. These advisors can help consolidate debt, create budgets, make cash available with a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), or pay off student loans.
Tip 2: Stay on Top of Your Money
Take a full inventory of all your finances. Where is all of your money coming in from, and where is it going out to? It’s better to face your bills head on, rather than avoiding them and letting the piles grow on your kitchen counter.
List your debts and take the time to see where your money is going and if there are patterns that cause stress. Spending patterns and triggers could lead to poor financial decisions. Does shopping or takeout dinners make your feel better when your bored or unhappy? Try channeling that energy into other activities like learning how to cook or volunteering for an organization. By eliminating this impulse spending behavior, you can save your money and put it towards more important financial decisions. You will also want to look at monthly expenses you are committed to and see if there are opportunities to spend less. You might have charges for streaming services you no longer use, you might be able to save with other bills by looking at competitors, or you may have other areas you could cut back on or eliminate.
Tip 3: Create a Monthly Budget
Need help on getting started? Let the experts at Dutch Point Credit Union help. In the meantime, here are some tips on how to create a monthly budget that fits your lifestyle.
- Start by including your everyday expenditures like gas and groceries, monthly rent or mortgage, insurance and utility bills.
- Take a look at monthly subscriptions such as gym memberships, streaming services, and meal services. Classify these into necessity vs a luxury to understand where you might be able to cut back – at least temporarily.
- Set up automatic payments when possible, to ensure bills are paid on time and avoid late fees.
- Set aside yearly expenses, like car insurance, and divide by 12 to add to a monthly budget.
- Lastly, dedicate a certain amount of money each month for things that you love such as entertainment or activities with friends. Not everything has to be expensive, but quality time with friends and families can go a long way towards a healthier and happier you.
Tip 4: Put Your Health First
Managing your money is crucial to maintaining your health, so staying on top of your stress levels is vital in order to avoid the vicious cycle. Here are a few ways you can help manage your stress:
- Stay active – regularly exercising can boost both your mood and energy levels keep your mind and body happy. Even taking a walk to get some fresh air will go a long way to your mental and physical health.
- Get more sleep – it’s important to have a bedtime routine that fits your lifestyle. Avoiding sleep and feeling tired can lead to more stress and anxiety, so get some rest!
- Eat right – adding the right food to your diet such as fruits, vegetables, and proteins can help improve your energy and mood. Plus, there are plenty of ways to stock your fridge with healthy meal options on a budget.
Managing your financial life can be naturally stressful, especially in times where life throws you a curveball. At Dutch Point Credit Union in Connecticut, we are here to help lessen the load so that you can manage your money more confidently and navigate all life stages. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you improve your financial health.