Today’s financial climate is ever changing and the uncertainty of it all can take its toll on our nerves. Stress is a natural component in all of our lives. But many of us are experiencing a “cumulative effect”: job loss, or reduction in hours, rising fuel and food costs, back to school shopping and Christmas is on its way (hate to break it to you). Then, throw in a broken washer or an illness and you can overload. It can all be too much if we don’t find ways to manage the stress.
Suzanne Klenk with Washington State Employees Credit Union joined Margaret to provide us with some tangible tools for managing financial stress and taking your life back.
For more information about the ways that Washington State Employees Credit Union can help you and your family, please click here.
To contact Suzanne with a question or to request a financial workshop at your business or organization, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are the tips Suzanne shared today, plus a few more:
There are a few key components to managing financial stress…and just stress in general. The first of which is communication.
Communication is key. Talking about money and our finances is difficult for many, but it is truly the key to letting go of a majority of the stress.
Communication is good…but knowing whom to communicate with is important. You say to begin with yourself?!
Well, maybe not out loud…but you do need to decide for yourself where you want to be and what you are willing to do to get there. Decide and then move forward
The next is your spouse, that seems like a given…shouldn’t it be?
Yes, but we all know that stress over money is one of the leading causes of divorce in this country, so a little bit of communication can not only save on your stress, but your relationship as well. Talk with your partner about goals and find some common ground. This is not the easiest conversation and will have to happen often…forever J
Kids and Extended Family are next. What does that conversation look like?
Kids, let them know where you are financially. Make them problem solvers and stakeholders in the process. You will find that they actually have some good ideas and are more apt to get on board with frugal spending when they think they have a voice. Extended family is not too in depth, just a simple statement that your family is choosing to make different decisions with regard to your finances. Christmas may look a little different this year. We are not going to love you with our money any longer. Your time and energy are much more value than anything you could every purchase for them anyway.
And you round it out with communication with your credit union and your creditors. That might be intimidating…
It can be, but it is imperative for your own wellbeing. Talk with your credit union and find out what they can offer you in the way of services that will serve you better without costing you any money. Also, contact your creditors, set guidelines for communication. Times they can call with assurance that you will answer, i.e. not during dinner or after a certain time in the evening….never at work. Make it a point to initiate contact once per month in writing explaining where you and the payment agreement as you understand it.
Finally, get your spending on paper. How does that help?
Tracking your spending allows you to make good choices about where your money goes. Without a plan, your money may not be working as well for you as it should. Try keeping track of everything you spend for a full two weeks. EVERYTHING! This will give you a good idea of where your impulse or miscellaneous spending is and how to redirect those funds to higher priorities. Knowledge is Power and once your know better you can do better.
Stress is always with us, but if we manage it well, we can weather these financial times with our families and our sanity intact. And again…utilize your credit union professionals to assist you on this journey. Together, we are better and will get to the other side stronger and faster.