Looking after your mental health: Cost of living overload
Recently we’ve been bombarded by multi-media reports about the effect on British households’ finances from the impact of inflation, the invasion of Ukraine, the knock-on effects of the pandemic and logistical hurdles created by Brexit.
It's easy to feel the mental pressure building when you’re constantly being reminded that the next year or so could be a challenge for us all financially.
Simply put, the escalating cost of inflation means that our money just doesn’t go as far as it did. Coupled with a spike in fuel and energy costs and an increase in interest rates the average monthly budget is more than likely feeling the squeeze.
However, it’s important to be aware of the impact that this level of ‘noise’ can have on your mental as well as your financial wellbeing. We’ve put together a list of simple steps you could take, if it feels like the pressure is mounting.
It’s easy to feel like there’s nothing you can do to influence what is happening in the world around you. What you can do, however, is a stock take of your current financial situation. Knowing what you have, what's coming in and what is going out and when is the first step in this process.
Once you’ve listed all your outgoings, it's always worth checking to see if you’re getting the best deal or evaluating whether any services and subscriptions you currently pay for, you’re making the best use of. Do you need to cancel anything that has gone up in price? Can you roll up any services into a package deal? Can you do a comparison for any products you’re able to switch? Are there better interest rates available for savings accounts? You can also feel more in control if you make time to regularly review if anything has changed, and keep track of any opportunities to make the most of your money and cut your costs.
Talk to someone
Whether it’s friends and family, or seeking professional advice from an adviser, or support from a charity - a problem shared is a problem halved. Talking through any issues or decisions can help ease the burden and potentially help minimise how daunting some financial scenarios can seem. You can find the contact details for some organisations who may be able to help.
Whether you have a savings goal, need to reduce debt or just want to begin creating a sturdy financial landscape for you and your family, it can be empowering to have a plan.
If you have a specific treat or goal in mind, then create a realistic achievable plan based on what you can afford to put away each month. If you’re looking to pay off debt then you can tackle this in several different ways; by targeting the highest interest rate first, or if you have several debts you could target paying off smaller balances first, so you benefit from the satisfaction of clearing an account. You can find more information and support on our 'Manage your debt' page.
You may feel more in control by creating short, medium and long term savings plans to help ride out the ups and downs of the next 12 months. Take a look at our 'Achieving your savings goals' section.
Take a step back
Headlines are designed to draw you in. And whilst it is useful to keep up to date with matters that impact your pocket, it's important to also understand the impact of constant negative news on your mental wellbeing. Digest what you need to and then, where possible, balance that information with practical support.