Financial stress is overwhelming – and more so when every little thing seems to pile on top of each other.
With so many financial issues for you to tackle, sometimes it seems like a miracle is the only possible way forward.
Not so. While financial stress can be overwhelming, small budget saves can help you re-float your boat, save and pay off debt. In short, small changes actually can make a huge difference over a relatively small period of time.
You’ve got to keep it simple. Much like paying off a smaller debt first to gain a sense of victory and motivation, your employees can revise their financial strategies in small ways to make things easier for themselves.
Here are three budget saves you can put into place today that will put you on the path to financial success. They won’t alter everyone’s money situation overnight, but give them some time, and keep working at it, and the benefits will show up.
1. Switch to a cash budget. When someone can’t get their spending under control, they end up compounding their problems by piling up credit card debt and high-interest charges. Switching to a cash budget removes these risks by giving them a limited amount to spend that they know they can afford. Here’s how it works: Decide how much you’re going to spend each week, then take out that cash from the bank or ATM and commit to not spending any more until the next week. It’ll take time to get used to having cash in your wallet (we’ve all become so used to the cashless society) and you’ll need to adjust to new spending habits and plan around what you can and cannot afford. Even if you blow your budget for the first few weeks, just stick with it. You’ll soon see positive changes. One study by the Urban Institute showed that those who were reminded throughout the month to choose cash over credit were able to lower their credit card debt. And, that’s key.
2. Make savings – and payments – automatic. Staying on top of multiple monthly payments, from utilities and rent to credit cards and student loans, can be difficult and barely leaves room for you to think about savings. Switching to automatic payments and savings, however, gives you a chance to avoid late charges and increase your savings without thinking about it. Often, employers will allow employees to set up recurring deposits from their paycheck to a savings account each payday to build up emergency or retirement savings without any additional steps. They can pick an amount that’s affordable and realistic, even $20 per month, and over time they may be surprised by how that amount grows. Using automatic payments for recurring monthly expenses can do the same, streamlining payment processes and giving your employees more time to focus on lowering their stress in other ways.
3. Cut out or reduce one expense each month. If you’re in serious money trouble, nothing dashes your hopes for a solid financial future faster than believing that you’re powerless to change it. One way you can take back control is to identify and reduce – or cut out entirely – one expense each month. This could be your cable or cell phone package, commuting costs, money spent dining out or even a morning coffee. Encourage your family (if you have one) to find ways to lower their monthly bills, whether it’s avoiding a splurge or calling the relevant company to ask about other options. Not only will you lower your overall expenses it will help you reduce your financial stress because you’re in much more control of your cash.
Your Best Money Moves: If your employees are struggling with their finances, gaining some knowledge and feeling support from their workplace can make a big difference in their stress levels, if only by letting them know they’re not alone. You can start by sharing small changes like these and encouraging and celebrating the efforts of your workers. Even when the solution is simple, the work behind it can be difficult and your employees will appreciate your support when it comes to their financial stress.