I’m exhausted trying to make it through to the end of the month while staying within my budget. I feel like inflation is stealing more from me than my money. I lose my joy every day this continues.
Exhausted by inflation
Dear exhausted from inflation,
I wish I could tell you it will be over soon, but since no one knows the future, I avoid trying to predict it. We can only look at the facts and adapt to the reality of our current situation. I hope this answer helps you find your joy again.
Inflation with risk of recession
We are living both a period of inflation and a risk of contraction in economic activity. This can cause great fear and great uncertainty. Consumer confidence is shaken when unemployment rises, businesses close and the stock market becomes increasingly volatile.
On Wednesday, November 2, the Fed raised interest rates another 0.75 percentage points, pushing borrowing costs to the highest level since the Great Recession. More could be to come. Could the effort to lower the cost of living plunge us into a recession? Maybe. The upside is that savers will enjoy higher rates on their accounts. It’s a difficult balance to rein in inflation without tipping into a recession, but it’s a clear sign that our government wants to contain inflation. Perhaps the end is in sight.
Arrive at the end of the month
A Forbes consumer survey reports that current economic conditions have caused 38% to dine out less, 36% to adjust their budget, 33% to reduce the miles they drive and 32% to buy less expensive items. or different than usual. Additionally, 23% of Gen Z consumers plan to take another job.
If you spend less than you earn, you don’t have to worry about a recession or prolonged inflation. How is it possible to spend less than you earn? You either need to make more money or reduce your expenses. Pray for wisdom to make wise decisions. Like the apostle Paul, we can learn to be satisfied in any circumstance, even in the midst of sacrificing comfort.
“He who works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues worthless occupations will have much poverty. A faithful man will abound in blessings, but he who hastens to get rich will not go unpunished” (Proverbs 28: 19-20).
The Harvard Business Review offers the following advice:
- Finding a second source of income will allow you to be better prepared. Whether it’s a part-time job, a side hustle, or selling second-hand items like books, clothes, jewelry, etc., creating extra income will give you a cushion in case of reduction or loss of primary income.
- Remember that investing is a long term financial game. Don’t be put off by short-term market moves. Cost averaging, or investing incrementally in the stock market, is a valuable decision during tough economic times.
- Diversify and remember that stock and real estate assets increase in value over time.
- Tax-advantaged accounts and tax deductions will reduce your overall liability.
- Evaluate your budget every month and highlight items you can cut back on if needed.
- Track your spending and make adjustments quickly.
- Meet regularly with your spouse and/or mentor to discuss your finances.
- Reduce unnecessary expenses and use the money for variable expenses.
- Set aside funds for future needs and delay major purchases.
- Avoid increasing fixed expenses.
- Find ways to reduce major expenses.
- Do not invest the money you may need soon.
- Keep giving while building an emergency fund.
- Aim for $1,000 first, then a minimum of 3-6 months of basic overhead.
- Set up automatic transfers and deposit extra money at the end of each pay period.
Reduce debt and/or increase income
- Pay off credit card balances and all payday loans.
- Negotiate lower rates with card issuers.
- Set up snowball or avalanche methods.
- Do not co-sign the notes and avoid any new debt.
- Consider a 0% balance transfer if you meet the restrictions.
- Don’t take your job for granted.
- Work as for the Lord with a grateful heart.
- Learn new skills and adopt new technologies.
- Be flexible and gladly take on new assignments.
- Be a peacemaker, encourage others, and don’t gossip.
- Honor your superiors and treat everyone with respect.
- Read a lot and study advances in your professional field.
- Have a backup plan and update your resume regularly.
We only have today, so whatever our circumstances or what may lie in the future, we should find reason to rejoice. Every morning that I wake up, I say this verse in my head or sometimes out loud: “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad” (Psalm 118:24, ESV). I then continue to do my duty as faithfully as possible, knowing that it will see me through every storm. I hope your joy will come back today.
If credit card debt adds additional stress during these uncertain economic times, consider contacting Christian Credit Counselors. They are a reliable source of help towards financial freedom.
Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio show, My MoneyLife, featured on over 1,000 Christian music and talk stations in the United States, and the author of his most recent book, Economic Evidence for God?. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.
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