Financial problems may cause stress and can have a significant impact on your mental health. For some people, the financial pressures of life may seem impossible to overcome, but you can get help and take steps to improve your situation.
What is financial stress?
Financial stress occurs when debts build that you are unable to pay. Situations that might cause financial stress include being long-term unemployed, being unable to get full-time work, losing your job or being retrenched, or not being able to deal with the increasing costs of living.
Worrying about money is common, however, if it is affecting your relationships and health or is developing into anxiety, it is important to seek help.
Feeding your family
There are many ways to stretch your budgets such as meal planning and buying in bulk. Community organizations can help with providing ‘soup kitchens’ and food hampers can provide you with a hot meal for free to help ease your burden.
Impact of financial stress
Financial stress can significantly impact your health and your relationships with others.
Signs you may need help with your finances and debt:
- struggling to feed your family
- spending less money on necessities like food
- paying bills late or seeking extensions
- missing credit card payments or only affording the minimum payment
- increasing debt from credit cards or loans
- receiving legal action for debt recovery
- income does not cover expenses
Reducing financial stress
There are various ways to reduce your financial stress and to get help.
Start by calculating your budget, there are many online tools that can help with this. If your budget allows, set aside a small amount of money in a savings account each month for future emergencies, every little bit helps. If your ongoing expenses and bills exceed your income, consider:
- Contacting the people or organizations you owe money telling them you are having difficulties and ask for time to work things out. Make progress payments and set up a payment plan. Many services are happy to give you payment extensions if you call them.
- Approaching a welfare service in your area for help with bill payments like phone, power or gas.
- Contacting a financial counseling service for free, confidential help.
- Approaching community organizations that provide free food hampers or free meals.
- Getting emotional support if you are feeling overwhelmed emotionally or mentally. Talk to a friend, family member, your doctor or counselor.
Are you struggling to feed yourself or your family?
When financial pressures arise it can become difficult to feed yourself and family. Some tips that can help are:
- stick to a budget
- meal plan and only buy what you need for those meals
- buy in bulk when items are on sale
- contact community organizations that can help with supplying food.
Financial stress can impact many aspects of your life, but there is help available. Do not ignore overdue bills and accumulating debt. Get help as early as possible.