It has been a rough few years for most of us, both emotionally and financially. In the wake of the pandemic, many people are experiencing reduced hours, rising inflation and cost of living, and significant portfolio losses. Today, the American Dream seems more like a fantasy, especially for those who are dealing with financial fatigue.
What Is Financial Fatigue?
If you are unfamiliar with the term, financial fatigue refers to the burnout you feel when you have been pushed to your financial limits. Those who reach this state may have an imbalance in their spending habits or have an unhealthy relationship with money. Whatever the root cause, it leads people to constantly stretch or exceed their budget for long periods. After many months or even years of this financial strain, you may find yourself in an extreme state of financial fatigue.
How Can You Recognize the Signs of Financial Fatigue?
Humans are adaptable and we adjust surprisingly quickly, even under adverse conditions. You may already be experiencing financial fatigue and not even realize it. So, how can you recognize the signs?
The leading causes of financial fatigue usually relate to saving and budgeting. If you are struggling to hit your monthly goals or take care of your financial obligations, it is a good indication you have a problem. Some signs would be living paycheck to paycheck, the inability to pay your bills, or making your money last through the end of the month.
And, when people have no other option, they often rely on credit cards to get by. However, this isn’t a permanent fix and will only put you further in debt if you do it month after month. Instead of solving the problem, it compounds it. It’s no wonder people stress and lose sleep over their financial troubles. Even worse, financial stress often affects your physical health.
What Can You Do?
Once you realize you have a problem, the next step is to figure out what you can do. Here are a few steps that can help you regain control and break the cycle of financial fatigue.
1. Assess your situation.
You can’t avoid your financial problems forever, or your situation will only get worse. When you decide to regain control of your finances, the first step is to assess where you are. Once you know where you stand, you can make a plan and take action.
2. Set goals.
After you have a plan in place, set short and long-term goals for yourself. Then, be sure you regularly check your progress and celebrate the small victories along the way.
3. Create a budget.
Creating a realistic budget will also help keep you on track. Understand what your limits are, and adjust them whenever you need to.
4. Improve your credit score.
One way to fast-track your goals is to improve your credit score. Start by limiting your credit card usage and paying off your balance each month. You can also contact the credit bureaus and try to have damaging items removed from your report. And, be sure to report all your utilities and qualified expenses as well.
5. Practice self-care in your professional and personal life.
Lastly, practicing self-care will help you maintain your momentum. Monitor your progress and stay focused on your goal. It will become easier with time, but we all make mistakes. The importance is that you learn from them.
You can also use several resources to help you. There are budgeting apps to keep you under limit and autopayments to save you on late fees. Online banking makes it easier to check balances and manage your accounts as well. However, it’s always a good idea to have a financial planner who can offer you expert advice.
When things feel hopeless, it’s normal to feel like giving up. But the only way back from financial fatigue is to take control of your financial issues. Examine your spending to identify habits that are costing you money, and find areas where you can trim your budget and save more. All of these budget and savings strategies will move your closer to your goals.
- Tips for Sticking to a Debt Pay Off Plan
- Learning How to Live on a Limited Budget
- 5 Emergency Costs You Should Leave Room in Your Budget For
Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.