Image by photocosma (Cosma Andrei)
Disclaimer – please take note: I’m not a trained financial advisor, which is why I’ve aggregated specialist resources that have far more knowledgeable people than me working to provide help. I simply want to give information to readers who may be finding it tough right now.
1 in 4 people in the UK report money worries impacting their performance at work (for example, due to lack of sleep), according to recent research by CIPD and Close Brothers Asset Management. The research found that the highest group reporting problems due to financial worries were 18-24 year olds and those working in London. A different survey by Mintel found that 4 in 10 respondents believe they would never be able to retire.
Mental health charity Mind looks at the link between money worries and mental health; poor mental health can make staying on top of finances harder, and worrying about money can impair mental health.
This state of our minds – and wallets – along with widespread economic uncertainty, prompted me to research and write this post. If you’ve got money worries, what can you do?
What’s your current situation?
For many of us, this can be the hardest part. We can stick our heads in the sand about money worries until they grow from a small annoyance into a huge, raging beast. Debt charity Stepchange offers advice and, to show you you’re not alone, has this infographic about the link between debt and sleeplessness. National Debtline has simple steps and guidance for dealing with debt.
Can you reduce outgoings?
The Money Advice Service lists 20 ways we may be wasting money. The Shopper Stopper is a free experimental tool from The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute to help people curb online spending. For example, you can set it up to stop you shopping online late at night. The Telegraph offers ways to save in 2017.
Can you increase income?
Could you do extra part-time work? I appreciate if you’re already working long hours this may not seem feasible, but if it’s the only way you can earn more it’s worth doing some homework. If you do take on an extra job you may (contractually) need to let your employer know. I remember the smart young guy who worked weekends at my local supermarket was at that time an intern in a big tech company – he’s on the payroll now. My brilliant OU psych tutors all had day jobs. And there’s the ambitious schoolteacher whose gift for simplicity ensures he’s in demand at a popular tech store every Saturday. Search locally – it’s not all mopeds and mopping – on sites such as Indeed.
Could you sell your stuff? Apps like Ziffit and We Buy Books will buy their picks of your groaning CD/DVD collection. Or try ebay and Gumtree for selling anything from shoes to sofas. Tips on selling online from The Telegraph.
Could you make and sell stuff? A former colleague held sales of her own jewellery designs twice a year. One of our neighbours has a nice side hustle with his landscape and wildlife photography. See MoneyAware’s ‘20 weird and wonderful ways to make money’.
How can you wise up?
If finances frankly baffle you it’s worth learning about them. The Open University has a free course on just that, ‘Managing my Money’. Or you can turn to Martin Lewis and his website for budgeting advice. Prefer a podcast? Try Share Radio.
For other aspects of your wellbeing, you may also find this post useful: 10 ways to look after your wellbeing.
Dawn is the author of ‘The Feedback Book’, available now at bookstores and on Amazon.