Finances are one of the most difficult topics to talk about in any situation. Whether it is discussing salaries at work or budgeting at home, discussing money can make for a tense conversation. Unless you work with money professionally (financial analyst, accountant, etc.), money is something we get the concept of, but could have trouble managing it effectively.
And that’s when nothing is going wrong.
Unfortunately, sometimes life happens and throws us for a loop. No situation creates feelings of stress and anxiety as much as dealing with money problems…
- Maybe your job was furloughed, or your salary was reduced drastically because of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Maybe your entire business livelihood was affected by the pandemic (lower sales, closing down your business, etc.)
- Or maybe you received an unexpected bill for a major expense like a medical issue or house repair
Regardless, if you’ve never dealt with a financial setback before, the first time can be nerve-wrecking. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the situation. It creates a lot of uncertainty and negative emotions, but those negative feelings don’t have to shape or define you.
We want to share some tools you can use to overcome any financial setback.
When you have a financial setback, negativity will start running your thoughts. The only way to overcome the situation is to believe you can overcome the situation. You can choose to sit around and feel sorry for yourself, or you can commit to working towards fixing the situation. You won’t be able to use any of the following tools if you are approaching the situation with a negative/defeated attitude.
Believe in your ability to get yourself back on track.
Analyze Your Current Financial Situation
Once you have mentally committed to approaching the situation positively, the next step is to figure out where you are financially. You need to know all the money you currently have, when new money will come in (like your job salary), and any big expenses you originally planned for. Knowing where your money *could* go (bills, travel, etc.) leads you to the next step.
Budget Like a Boss
The CEO of a company may not know where every penny of the company’s money goes, but they will always make sure they are spending that money strategically based on what makes financial sense.
You must be the same with your personal finances.
In a way, financial setbacks are a blessing because they force you to think about your money differently. When things are “going well”, you may feel it is ok to get an $8 coffee every morning or buy a couple of different streaming services for movies and TV shows.
When you have a financial setback, you should be merciless when looking at what expenses to cut. You cannot afford, figuratively and literally, to spend money on things that are not essential. This may also mean not spending money on the things that typically make you happy (attending sporting events, buying clothes, etc.) This doesn’t mean you are saying goodbye to those things forever – you are just shifting your focus on how you can make the best financial decisions right now.
Set Goals and Review Them Consistently
Once you have sliced and diced your budget down to the essentials, the next step is to plan your future financial situation.
You cannot just tell yourself you are going to “save money” – you need to figure out how much money you are going to save vs. spend and what success will look like. Be specific in your goals so you can easily see if you are reaching them or not.
Create a set of weekly goals to follow to ensure you are sticking with your budget. Weekly goals are ideal because they create a consistent method to follow without spending lots of time every day looking at every expense. You need to create a financial monitoring system that you can sustain so you have just as much energy in week 10 as week 1.
Rest and Take Care of Yourself
This is the most important tool in overcoming a financial setback – resting so you can stay healthy. Stress and anxiety can cause sleeplessness, and the less you sleep, the more stressed and anxious you become. It’s a vicious cycle that can make your situation even worse than it already is.
Taking time to rest is vital to your health, and your health is vital to your mindset. When you are trying to overcome a financial setback, you need to have a clear mind and a positive outlook. When you don’t take time to rest, you lose the motivation and energy to fix your situation.
Eat healthy, exercise, and schedule rest/break periods daily, even if it is just for 10 minutes – anything to get your mind off everything. If you do this consistently, you prevent the chance of getting burnt out.
Financial setbacks can happen to anyone at any time, and it’s not like you’ll get a fair warning beforehand. It is ok to feel nervous or anxious initially, but you have the potential to overcome these setbacks and get your finances back on the right track.