The recent pandemic and UK lockdown have come as a stressful and challenging time for us all.
During times of uncertainty for what the future holds in store for us, both our stress levels and finances can suffer drastically.
At Flexy Finance we know how difficult this can be; therefore we want to help you manage both your finances and your stress levels better - which is why we’ve comprised this list of the following tips, tricks and resources to help you to look after both your financial and emotional wellbeing.
1. Set up an emergency fund and put away what you can
Worrying about money is a vicious cycle, the more money problems you have, the more you worry. And the more you worry, the worse you can feel, making it even harder to manage your finances and look after your mental health.
By choosing to set up an emergency fund and contributing money as and when you can - you can help ease your financial worries by ensuring that you have a bit of extra cash in the event that a financial emergency or something unexpected should happen.
2. If you are borrowing money, ensure your affordability
If you are considering borrowing money such as an emergency loan, then it’s essential that you also consider the following before you apply:
- Are my circumstances likely to change?: If you do believe that your affairs are likely to change during the course of your loan agreement, causing you to be unable to repay - you may want to consider alternative arrangements.
- Will I be able to pay off the loan?: You will need to consider your living expenses in addition to any bills you have when repaying your loan. If you cannot afford to repay your loan and your bills, a loan may not be your best option.
- Can I afford to borrow the loan in addition to interest?: Interest rates of some short-term loans can be high to encourage borrowers to repay quickly. If you cannot afford to pay your loan in addition to any interest, this may cause you financial hardship in the future.
- Could I borrow from friends and relatives instead?: Borrowing from friends and family can be a great alternative to a loan, as in most cases you won’t be charged interest. However, consider that borrowing from friends and family may cause rifts if the money goes unpaid.
3. Try and understand the relationship between your money and your moods
Sometimes when we’re down and in need of a pick me up, we can make frivolous purchases or go on an impulsive spending spree to cheer ourselves up. While initially, this may help us to feel great in the moment, it may be short-lived before we’re looking for another monetary pick me up again.
Alternatively, if you notice that you have feelings of anxiety or panic every time you use your credit card or are unsure whether you’ll be able to repay your next bill, then you might want to take notice of this.
Analyse the way your use of money could be affected by your moods or vice versa.
4. Set yourself a budget and stick to it
Budgeting can help you to live within your means of what you can afford, and still have money left over at the end of the month for an emergency savings fund.
Excel spreadsheets, budgeting apps such as Yolt and even some online banking services can all help you to monitor your incomings and outgoings. By setting a monthly budget to ensure that you don’t overspend throughout the month, you can help yourself to prevent overspending or living paycheque to paycheque.
5. Ensure that you’re receiving the right support
Support, both emotional and financial is integral in times such as these. Without it, both our emotional and financial wellbeing can suffer, which is why you should ensure you’re getting the help and support you need.
If you’re on a low income and are struggling financially use Turn2Us’ benefits calculator to see whether or not you could be entitled to more help. It’s estimated than a massive 18 million pounds in benefits that 8 million people in the UK are entitled to go unclaimed each year.
If you’re struggling with your mental wellbeing, there are plenty of helplines and online resources available at hand to help you through your tough time. Charities such as MIND, the Mental Health Foundation and the Samaritans are always at hand to offer support and find you the help that’s needed.
MIND has a list of helpful resources if you are struggling with Lockdown and the stress of the recent pandemic.
6. Talk to someone about your money worries if you have any
Whether you are worried about your finances or mental health, it can help to talk to someone about your worries. Reach out to someone close, whether it be a friend or family member and talk about your concerns. Voicing your problems can be especially helpful if you feel as if your worries or financial woes are getting out of hand and you’re unsure of what to do.
If you aren’t fortunate enough to have someone close to you who you can talk to about your worries, there are others who you can talk to. Charities such as StepChange and even the Money Advice Service can help you with the next steps to take if you are struggling with bills or money.
7. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep
Sleep is essential for brain function as well as our health and wellbeing. If you are struggling to sleep at night, this could be affecting your ability to carry out tasks such as household chores, work, managing finances and repaying your bills.
Lack of sleep is often associated with things such as an inability to concentrate, low mood, tiredness, lethargy and even feelings of irritability - all of which you’ll want to avoid, so try and get between 6 - 9 hours of sleep at night.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, there are plenty of ways you can prepare yourself for a good nights sleep, these include:
- Drinking a hot drink before bed: drinking a herbal tea or malt drink can be an essential part of a bedtime routine to help you to get a better night sleep - just remember to avoid drinking caffeinated beverages as these won’t help you get a restful night’s sleep.
- Performing meditation: 10 minutes to half an hour’s reflection can be all you need to relax before bedtime. There are plenty of guided meditation apps and videos available online on platforms such as Headspace and Audible.
- Avoid looking at screens before bedtime: avoid looking at your phone, tablet or TV at least half an hour before bed and switch to an activity such as reading or meditating.
- Listen to relaxing music or ASMR: many people enjoy listening to soothing tones or even ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) videos before bed to comfort them.
- Get enough exercise: not moving enough throughout the day can cause us to be more restless at night, so try to get some exercise in the form of a brisk walk, cardio work out or even yoga for at least 30 minutes per day.
For most of us, better money management can help bring us peace of mind - which can help at times such as these!
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