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Inflation is affecting the mental health of many Americans, but it has been affecting women more than men. A recent survey by Booking found that 60% of women said inflation was affecting their mental health, compared to 52% of men. In this “Financially Savvy Woman” column, we’re chatting with Lauren Anastasio, Director of Financial Advice at Stash., on how women can relieve stress and anxiety related to inflation.
Spend on things that spark joy
The Stash survey found that nearly half (49%) of respondents admit that inflation has forced them to cut back on things or activities that make them happy. You may need to account for your expenses due to inflation, but this doesn’t mean you should cut out “fun” spending altogether, as this can certainly take a toll on your mental well-being.
“By allocating a portion of your monthly budget to ‘fun money,’ you’ll be more motivated to stick with it,” Anastasio said. “After all, you will surely spend money on social activities or at some point in the month, so the most responsible thing you can do is plan it. Anticipating the use of money for something you will enjoy will make budgeting a little less daunting. Remember that budgeting shouldn’t feel like a chore, it’s a habit that helps you stay in control of your money, not the other way around.”
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To keep spending anxiety at bay, find more free or inexpensive activities that bring you happiness.
“Summer is a great time to get out more and spend time with friends or family, and there is no better time to take advantage of free events,” Anastasio said. “Summer is a time for many outdoor activities like festivals, fairs and concerts. By filling your calendar with free or low-cost activities, you’ll be less tempted to splurge on an expensive day trip, amusement park, concert or other event that could blow your budget.”
You must also be willing to make some compromises.
“You can decide to eliminate some things completely or reduce what you spend on certain items to keep more of the things that bring you joy,” Anastasio said. “The most important thing to remember is that it’s about commitment. Yes, things are more expensive and no one wants to have to give up the fun stuff, but as long as you’re willing to make some sacrifices to create space in your budget, you can still look forward to the things that make you happy. ”
control your debt
Debt can be a major source of stress, so adding inflation to it can exacerbate these feelings. Consider working on eliminating your debt to help manage your money-related stress.
“If you are having difficulty managing debt obligations, there are free resources available to you through credit counseling,” Anastasio said. “It is very important that you do your research and find credible non-profit organizations that offer free credit counseling and avoid abusive debt consolidation companies. I suggest only considering working with a company with a .org website. You can find more guidance on choosing a government credit counselor from the Federal Trade Commission website.”
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seek outside help
To manage money-related stress, Anastasio recommends meditation, exercise, yoga, journaling, breathing exercises, budgeting, and financial journaling. However, if he finds his stress difficult to handle on his own, it may be beneficial to seek professional help.
“I encourage you to be proactive about your physical and mental health by consulting with medical professionals about your financial circumstances,” Anastasio said. “Let your primary care doctor know about potential sources of stress so he or she can provide you with appropriate guidance. This is also a great opportunity to consult with a therapist or other mental health professional who can help you deal with stressful circumstances productively.”
GOBankingRates wants to empower women to take control of their finances. According to the latest statistics, women own $72 billion in private wealth, but fewer women than men consider themselves to be in “good” or “excellent” financial condition. Women are less likely to invest and more likely to have debt, and women are still generally paid less than men. Our “Financial Smart Woman” column will explore the reasons behind these inequities and provide solutions to change them. We believe that financial equality starts with financial education, so we provide tools and advice for women to take control of their money and help them live a richer life.
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