Financial stress can cause a lot of damage to your life. It can cause problems in your marriage, lead to fights with siblings, with your parents, and can even cause physical pain through constant stress. Worst of all, money stress can be extremely confusing and frustrating for your children.
Protect Your Relationships
Do whatever it takes to avoid the blame game. It’s really easy to blame one spouse for losing their job or blame another for spending too much, but unless there’s been some sort of financial infidelity, you’re in this together. If you split now, you’re both still in it, just forced to handle it on your own.
Financial infidelity occurs when one partner takes on debt that the married couple must pay back without informing the other partner. It’s hurtful, damaging, and badly injures trust in the relationship. The cheating partner needs to be aware that fixing the situation will take serious work. If the cheater can’t do the work, the relationship may not survive.
Take responsibility for the money challenges you brought to the relationship. Be ready to learn how to better manage your spending. Check out options for cutting where you can. For example, if your spouse started a training or degree they never finished, look into continuing education options that will allow them to learn what it takes to make more money. Always be honest with your partner about your financial concerns, once you have these conversations, you can begin to trust that both of you are doing all you can to overcome the financial hardships.
Control What You Can
If credit card debt is ballooning, put the cards away. Take cash to the grocery store and try to stretch your weekly grocery purchase to last ten days. If you spend $100 a week on groceries, or approximately $400 a month, stretching the groceries to cover ten days save $100 a month, and $100 a month can help you bring down your debt.
If you get direct deposit and put that check into a commercial bank, switch over to a credit union. Check out their options for
- Money management classes
- Consolidation loans, and
- Credit repair loans
There’s absolutely no reason that you can’t learn to better handle your money. Even more important, education is empowering. It can be the difference between feeling helpless and building a sense of hope in your future.
Get Help When You Need It
If your debt level is completely unmanageable, or you’re facing a garnishment, or you’ve just lost your job, it’s time to get some help. Discuss with your spouse the pros and cons of debt settlement. Avoid debt consolidation loans unless you can get something with a logical interest rate, such as on a 0% APR credit card.
A word about 0% APR credit card offers: These are most effective if you can
- Use the full offer to completely wipe out at least one high-interest debt
- Take that new debt and divide it by the length of the term of the offer
- Make regular payments until the debt is gone
If you plan to consider using the card that was charging such a high-interest rate, don’t do a consolidation. It will just put you further into a financial hole.
Maintain your gym membership. Even at $2.00 a day, a gym membership can allow you to burn off stress, engage your body, relax your mind, and even entertain your family. Review options in your community for group activities with your kids. Go for a visit to local museums on a free day, pack a picnic lunch, and enjoy some fresh air with your family. You don’t have to spend money on every activity.
If at all possible, spend some time either allowing your spouse time for a workout or working out with them. Put the dishes in the dishwasher together and go for a walk with the kids. If older children can be trusted to watch the little ones for a time, step away, and just hang out with your spouse. Support one another with time if you can’t afford gifts.
The pandemic of 2020 has left many in near financial ruin. If you’re struggling to stay afloat, make sure you get what help you can from churches, non-profits, and other organizations that support those in financial distress. Gain financial control by going back to cash. Talk to a professional if needed.