If you are worried about the state of your finances know that you are not alone! Countries around the world have been experiencing what has been termed a “cost of living crisis” since 2021, with it not expected to ease off until the second half of 2023. A massive increase in energy & fuel costs & day-to-day household items including food has affected every household, with the poorest households being hit the hardest (as they often don’t have the savings & higher income needed to offset the higher costs).

I have written before on how money worries are massively linked to mental health issues. The strain that money stress puts on you – physically, mentally & emotionally is not to be underestimated. I know for myself I have been experiencing such fear & distress recently about my income levels not being sufficient to match my necessary outgoings.

I felt such shame around my situation. I live alone, caring for 4 elderly animals (& myself) on a very low income. I didn’t feel able to reach out to family as I feared they would be annoyed at me for not going out & earning a “proper wage” or doing a “proper job”. Plus, they have supported me financially for most of this year – I didn’t feel able to ask for any more.

1 – So this is my first tip – please, please, please don’t feel ashamed about asking for help. That’s what family & friends are there for! If they don’t have the financial capacity to help you out at the moment they can offer emotional support which is just as valuable & may be able to advise you on any next steps you can take. Often when we are stressed & emotional we aren’t able to see all the opportunities available to us & getting pointed in the right direction can be invaluable. If you don’t have family or friends you feel you can confide in – there are a number of charitable debt organisations that offer free, impartial advice. I have used them in the past myself & found the support to be excellent.

2 – Budget, budget, budget! This is so important as literally every pound counts in today’s climate. Income levels are not increasing to match expenses so we just can’t afford to spend as before. Look for any areas that you can make cut-backs – do you still need to go out for a meal once a month? Do you still need that Spotify / Audible / Prime / Netflix subscription? If you are self-employed with a variable income like myself it is more difficult but even more important to budget.

3 – Look at ways to increase your income. If you are employed, is there any chance for a pay increase or promotion? Or if you work part-time hours, do you have some free time to dedicate to making more money in other areas? If you are self-employed look at how you can gain more customers or sales. Can you start offering other services or offer special packages to entice clients to buy? Be creative & think outside the box. Again, asking a trusted friend or colleague for ideas can be worthwhile!

4 – Know that there are options for an online cash advance resource. These can be invaluable in an absolute emergency when you are facing an unexpected expense. Be sure to do your research and use a reputable site and read all T’s & C’s carefully before signing up.

5 – Finally, make sure you take some time for yourself. This doesn’t need to involve spending a lot of money. Just being kind & compassionate with yourself during tough times can make all the difference. How would you treat a friend in a similar situation? Taking 5-10 mins for journaling, meditation, some yoga / stretching or spending time cuddling your animals or reading a good novel can all be restorative & remind you that there is more to life than stress & worry!

I hope these tips have helped and please know that my comments & email are always open if you need to chat. Lots of love until next time, Luv, Fi x