Ease money stress by learning simple strategies from your backyard friends. Squirrels shrewdly save their treasures during times of abundance so they can draw on them during lean times.
Money stress often results from two unexpected events – lost income or unplanned expense. Job loss and divorce account for many bankruptcies related to reduced income. Repairs and rising costs (especially college tuition, utilities, and credit-card fees) contribute to financial strains related to unplanned expenses. Illness, the leading cause of bankruptcy, can cause both lost income and staggering medical expenses. So, how can you ease money stress?
The squirrel knows that winter will arrive and prepares for times when resources become scarce. Shouldn’t we humans (who are a bit smarter than squirrels) understand that the winter of life events will likely arrive at some point and prepare as well? Here are a few suggestions to squirrel away a few acorns for those reasonably expected, unexpected money events.
Open a Squirrel Savings Account
At the bank where you hold your primary checking account, open an interest-bearing savings account where you can easily transfer money between accounts. Each time you resist the temptation to spend money unnecessarily or save money from smart shopping (see ideas below), transfer half of that amount into your savings account. Treat yourself to the other half. Or keep a list of savings and transfer once a week or month. A friendly competition with friends or family might raise the interest (pun intended).
Do I Truly Need it or Truly Love it?
The next time you’re tempted to buy that luxury item that will morph into dust-collecting junk in a few weeks, ask yourself the following questions. Do I truly need it? Do I truly love it? Will I use it within the next year? Rate your responses on a scale from 1-10. Any item eliciting a response less than “8” should be promptly removed from the shopping cart (including the one on Amazon). Remember, if the item is truly important, it can always be purchased later.
Find Cheaper Ways to Ease Stress
Unhealthy habits including drinking, smoking, and fast-fooding offer quick stress relief, but in the long run contribute to health problems. Healthier habits such as deep breathing, meditating, walking, and laughing, cost absolutely nothing, relieve more stress, and promote better health. Eliminating just one restaurant meal a week could save you thousands of dollars in a year. Plus, you will reduce calories and the cost of diet products to compensate for those calories. The jackpot of savings arrives when your doctor tells you that you don’t need any medications or hospitalizations. This will certainly ease money stress.
Process addictions including screening, shopping, and gambling offer the illusion of easing stress, but truly create more of it . . . and depression, and insomnia and relationship problems. Ultimately, these problems will cost even more in divorce, psychotherapy, psychotropic medication, and outrageous interest on debt to finance the addictions.
Finance at Lower Rates
If your credit score won’t qualify for decent financing rates, borrow only enough to build your credit. If you finance a car or roomful of furniture at zero percent, use your interest savings to pay down other credit cards or your mortgage. Speaking of mortgages, always finance for 15 years – that is the best squirrel savings account you can find. Buy a smaller house. After all, the bigger house won’t be necessary if you buy less junk.
Save Half of That Income Tax Refund
Come on. You’re just gonna buy more junk to fill that bigger house that holds more junk. A squirrel would never pass up such an opportunity to save.
Save Half of Car Payment When Paid Off
At least for a few months, save half of the car payment you would have made immediately after the car loan is paid off. You won’t even notice that money missing.
Ease Money Stress by Cutting Costs
Check out money saving tips on auto insurance. Find alternatives to cable TV. Make a more lunches at home. Shop at resale shops. Limit gifts. Turn those lights off. In short, simplify your life.
With a little resourceful creativity, you too can save like a squirrel. Then you will ease money stress when the expected, unexpected events happen in your life.
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