The #1 Way to Cope with COVID-Related Spending

The Finance Therapist

COVID has thrown us through a loop, can we all agree on that, regardless of where you sit on the topic of masks, vaccines, isolation, shut-downs, etc?

According to one study, over 64% of people have a concern over finances and debt that actually gets in the way of their day-to-day quality of life.

That’s not even including the people who simply are stressed about money, these are the people who have it as daily angst.

Even for those who are paying off their debts, the reality of how much they are paying in interest, and for how long, can get quite depressing. For those who have college loans still outstanding, are paying for expensive babysitting centers or preschools, have parents that they may be taking care of, are trying to get out of living paycheck to paycheck, and are working to consolidate debt, the stress gets even more pronounced.

There are also beliefs about money, such as money in some way corrupts people or that only “certain” people are lucky with money. Add to this the shame and guilt of having a financial stressor, one can see how having debt can create anxiety; in a world where money is not exactly flowing and fear, anger, outright rage, protests and political unrest are the norm, people are feeling broken, not just broke.

If you want to get emotionally and fiscally in check, this one area will help you.

Control.

There are many things you can’t control in life, but how you address debt is one of them.

First, realize that having debt isn’t a personal failing. Our economy is actually set up to lure you to purchase way over your head. It’s hard to stay afloat when you realize that you are under. Even having a debit card primes your brain to just swipe and obtain, so when and if you use a credit card or similar type of card, you are primed to expect a reward. When we are in stress, as we are now, our dopamine dips and we feel depressed and unfulfilled.

Purchasing anything you do not need, is a coping strategy that probably isn’t serving you purpose.

Scrolling on Amazon, your favorite store or even Facebook, you will see advertisements, temptations and see what others are buying, doing or where they might be going – even if locally – that requires a purchase. It’s very overwhelming for the mind, and because you are in disconnect, you might be feeling that it’s just a way to pass time or you’ll potentially make excuses why you need or desire the item or experience.

Coming clean about your spending and debt is the first step in experiencing empowerment and addressing the situation. You don’t have to TikTok it in rhyme, you don’t have to Tweet or Post about it.. you simply have to own it to yourself and make an agreement to make a change. It might be a good idea to tell a trusted friend or family member, that you want to curb your spending and address debt, so that they can be a support to you if they see you spend what might be frivolously, and save you from compounding debt.

These are all forms of self-control and they are all quite doable. I’m not asking you to rip up your credit cards, nor make big changes.. just be aware of what emotions are under the purchases you wish to make, address the emotions without purchasing if possible, own your awareness and address your anxiety – you might do all or just one of these and that is still commendable. No self-shame, guilt or feeling that you are not able.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to email me at Michele@michelepaiva.com

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