How to Handle

Financial Stress in Times of Inflation

After the events of the past two years, money and health have become two of the biggest stressors in the average American’s life, whether you’re 15, 80, or anywhere in-between. It’s no wonder that as inflation continues to affect families, business owners, and communities, everyone is looking for some relief. During National Mental Health Awareness Month this May, we want to help by providing some tips and resources you can use to manage your finances through tough times. Even though you can’t control the future, you can have control over how and where you spend your money so that you can avoid some hard decisions each month.

Stressor #1: Managing Student Loans

Even with the student loan repayment pause set to continue through the fall of this year, many people still experience feelings of anxiety and depression when viewing their student loan repayment amounts. Around 40 million people have student loans in the U.S., with an average balance of more than $30,000. With inflation straining everyone’s wallets, student loan repayment has often been the last thing on people’s minds. However, it’s not a bad idea to try and pay off some of that debt right now, especially when the interest is paused. Your payments will have a bigger impact on your debts if you make a plan and stick to it. Check out some of our best tips for making debt repayment plans here.

Stressor #2: Paying Off Increasing Medical Bills 

As the pandemic has taught us, nobody can take their health for granted. You never know when a serious illness can disrupt all your carefully laid plans and make it seemingly impossible for you to bring in a steady income. To keep this anxiety under control, now is the perfect time to consider an HSA (Health Savings Account) with Availa Bank.

There are a few requirements to open one, so you’ll want to make sure you do a little research first. However, once you get set up, you won’t have to worry about your contributions being included in your gross income, you can rollover any unused money into the next year, and your money travels with you, whether you change employers or retire. Learn more about HSAs here.

Stressor #3: Inflation

As you hear about all the uncertainty in the world right now and continue to face rising prices at the store or the pump, you’re probably sick and tired of hearing about inflation. We know stress levels are high, but we’re here to help. There are several smaller ways you can fight inflation and all the stress that comes with it, including:

  • Investing in commodities instead of money. Look into investing in gold, oil, or metals, as prices of these items tend to rise during inflation. However, be aware: You should always consult an expert in the commodity you’re researching before making any final investment decisions.
  • Get a strong support group started in your community. Throughout history, many families benefitted from developing positive relationships with their neighbors and being willing to lend a hand when it was needed. When times got tough, people then turned to their neighbors to barter goods and trade services instead of spending money at the store.
  • Start a garden. You don’t need a ton of land to start growing a garden. A few potted tomato plants on your deck or some herbs growing in the kitchen window will do wonders for your home cooking. Do some research before you plant to make sure your seeds will have the perfect atmosphere to grow, then get planting!
  • Spend more time outside. The more time you spend outside, the less you’ll spend using electricity in your home. As the weather gets nicer, spend a few hours doing something you love in the yard instead of sitting in front of your television. On the weekends, explore your local outdoor hidden treasures. Sometimes the best parks are just a short walk or drive from your house!
  • Trade in your car for a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle so you can take some of the sting out of those rising gas prices. If you don’t have any luck finding a new vehicle in the current market, look into public transportation or carpooling with coworkers during the week. You can also consider biking or walking if you live near your work.

Looking for more quick and easy budget advice? Check out these tips to save even more money on a tight budget.

Our Best Anti-Stress Tip? Become a Planner 

One of the best ways to combat stress and anxiety is to plan ahead. If you know you have a lot of financial issues that you’ve been ignoring, it’s highly unlikely that all that stress will go away on its own. This Mental Health Awareness Month, focus on your financial health. Get strong financial advice from an expert, do your research on different account options and investment opportunities, and ask the important questions that relate to your personal financial situation. You’ll soon find your stress decreasing as you create a manageable plan and put it into action. Ready to take the next step and open your own checking or savings account? Talk to an Availa Banker today to get started!