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Inflation weighs on the mental health of many Americans, but it affects women more than men. A recent survey by Stash found that 60% of women said inflation had an impact on their mental health, compared to 52% of men. In this “Financially Savvy Female” column, we chat with Lauren Anastasio, Director of Financial Advice at Stash, on how women can alleviate their inflation-related stress and anxiety.
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 the things or activities that make them happy. You may need to be careful with your spending due to inflation, but that doesn’t mean you should completely eliminate “fun” spending, as it can definitely hurt your mental well-being.
“By allocating some of your monthly budget to ‘play money,’ you’ll feel more motivated to stick with it,” Anastasio says. “After all, you have to spend money on social activities or to treat yourself at some point in the month, so the most responsible thing you can do is plan it. Planning to use the money for something you enjoy will make the budgeting activity a little less daunting. Remember, budgeting shouldn’t be seen as 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 anxiety at bay, find more free or inexpensive activities that bring you happiness.
“Summer is the perfect time to get out more and spend time with friends or family, and there’s no better time to take advantage of free events,” Anastasio said. “Summer is a great time for lots of outdoor activities like festivals, fairs and concerts. Filling your diary with free or low-cost activities means you’ll be less tempted to splurge on a summer excursion. an expensive day out, amusement park, concert or any other event that could blow your budget.
You must also be prepared to compromise.
“You can decide to cut out certain things altogether 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 trade-offs. Yes, things are more expensive and no one wants to have to give up the fun stuff, but as long as you are willing to make sacrifices to make room in your budget, you can still enjoy the things that make you happy. ”
Check your debt
Debt can be a major source of stress, so adding inflation to that can exacerbate those feelings. Consider working on eliminating your debt to help manage your money-related stress.
“If you’re struggling to manage your debt, free resources are available 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 predatory debt consolidation companies. I suggest only considering working with a company with a .org website. You can find more advice on choosing a credit counselor on the Federal Trade Commission’s government 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 you find that your stress is difficult to manage on your own, it might be beneficial to seek professional help.
“I encourage you to be proactive about your physical and mental health by consulting medical professionals about your financial situation,” Anastasio said. “Let your GP know about potential sources of stress so they can give you appropriate advice. It’s also a great opportunity to see a therapist or other mental health professional who can help you deal with stressful circumstances in a productive way.
GOBankingRates wants to empower women to take control of their finances. According to the latest statistics, women hold $72 billion in private wealth – but fewer women than men consider themselves to be in “good” or “excellent” financial shape. Women are less likely to invest and are more likely to have debt, and women are still paid less than men overall. Our “Financially Savvy Female” column will explore the reasons for these inequalities and provide solutions to change them. We believe financial equality starts with financial literacy, which is why we provide tools and guidance for women, by women, to take control of their money and help them live richer lives.
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