7 Tips for Gaining Financial Stability in Uncertain Times

In tough times, many of us feel the pinch in our wallets. It isn’t easy to keep on top of your finances when the economy is unstable. Whether your finances have suffered during a crisis or you’ve been lucky enough to stay on track toward your financial goals, this blog contains useful tips for gaining and maintaining financial stability in uncertain times.

Maintaining financial wellness in times of instability can be challenging. It isn’t easy to stick to a budget when your salary has taken a hit. Even if your personal finances haven’t suffered during a crisis, staying on track with your financial goals when the economy is so unstable can be difficult.

Below, we’ve outlined seven tips for maintaining financial stability in uncertain times.

1. Set Clear Goals

Even in uncertain times, setting goals can provide you with the direction and focus you need to maintain financial stability. Depending on your individual circumstances, you may choose to establish a goal of boosting your income, paying down debt, rebuilding or growing your emergency fund — or all three!

When setting goals, make them SMART:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Reasonable
Timely

When your goals are realistic and can be tracked, you’ll have an easier time sticking to them and seeing them through.

2. Ask for Help

If you’re struggling financially, your banking partner may be able to help. Don’t be ashamed to reach out and ask how your bank or credit union can assist you during these trying times. Some options that may be available to you can include a loan refinance or a debt-consolidation loan.

3. Rethink Your Spending

When money’s tight, it’s important to reevaluate the way you spend it. If you don’t have a budget, this can be the perfect time to create one and learn to stick to it. If you already have a budget, review your expenses to look for ways to cut back. Think subscriptions you rarely use, entertainment costs that can be trimmed and online shopping that takes a big bite out of your budget.

While working through this step, be sure to leave room in your budget to comfortably cover crucial expenses like housing costs, utility bills and insurance premiums.

6 Budgeting Benefits

1Encourages other healthy financial habits

2Helps prevent you from living beyond your means

3Gives you a sense of control over your finances

4Keeps you on track

5Allows you to spend guilt-free by allocating fun money

6Cleans up financial mess by organizing your financial life

4. Find Room for the Things That Bring You Happiness

Times are stressful. Throw in a tight budget and they become even more challenging. As you work toward maintaining your financial stability, it’s important to incorporate small indulgences that bring you happiness. This can be a weekly takeout dinner, a subscription to your favorite music app or a new Kindle book you’ve been dying to read. Just remember to limit your happy treats and to be sure they fit into your budget.

5. Embrace Minimalism

Learning to live on a lot less can be a great way to drastically reduce your spending in a short amount of time. Consider embracing a minimalist lifestyle in which you only live with what you really need. Decluttering your home and your life can be a boon for your mental health, the environment and your budget.

6. Don’t Touch Your Retirement Fund

It can be tempting to dip into your retirement savings when money’s tight. Unfortunately, this can be a mistake that negatively impacts your future financial wellness. Withdrawing your funds early can mean forgoing decades of compound interest growth. Also, many retirement accounts have fees and penalties for early withdrawals. Unless you have absolutely no choice, it’s best to leave your retirement fund alone during a financial crunch.

7. Support Your Community

If you’ve been fortunate enough not to suffer economic challenges during a public crisis like the coronavirus pandemic, consider giving back to your community by shopping local and supporting businesses with service workers who might have been heavily impacted. By keeping your money in the community, you’ll help support local businesses that have served you for years. Order takeout food from a nearby restaurant, buy home-improvement materials at your neighborhood hardware store and shop local for your spring wardrobe. You can also donate funds to help support community organizations and causes.

Maintaining financial stability in uncertain times isn’t easy. By following our seven tips, you can work toward concrete goals, give back to the community and take steps to stay financially fit when times are tough.

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The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.