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Dealing with Stress: Living on One Income

Many workers have been laid off or lost their jobs these past several months due to companies closing.  Many people still haven’t recovered financially.

Many folks have decided not to return to work/look for work yet due to fear of COVID for themselves because they’re caring for ill family members or they have child care issues.

For working people in partnerships, if one of you had been receiving COVID-related jobless benefits that now are ending (or ended earlier this summer in some states), how will you fare on one income?

Tips to help you relieve stress as a one-income household

  1. Decide what’s critical to you and (pretty much) forget the rest.

Consider your priorities as well as your values. You’ll have a sense of control over your situation: you intend to spend your income on such and such, and you are choosing not to worry about the rest.

Also, by choosing what you’ll focus your spending on, you give yourself the freedom to change your choices if you find that your priorities change. Again: you’re in control.

  1. Develop a financial plan.

This could be a budget, but it doesn’t have to be strict (because strict budgets can create their own kind of stress, and you’re looking to alleviate stress, not increase it right now).

Yet if you have just one source of income, a spending plan helps you regain control over where your money goes. And, as mentioned above, having control over what you decide to spend money on really can decrease stress and anxiety.

  1. Track your spending.

Of course, you’ll track where your money goes, but you might also want to track how you feel when you spend it.

For example, paying rent or the monthly mortgage probably makes you feel safe. Spending on food may make you feel that you’re keeping your family well/free from illness.

Dining out may feel great as a treat, but do you then worry – feel – that you may not be able to make your rent/mortgage this month because of it?

Another question: you may decide that cutting back on streaming services is something you can do as you cut back. But what if binge-watching Hulu as a family is extremely satisfying and makes everyone feel close? Perhaps that spend is a good one (and can be kept while foregoing eating out)?

  1. Aim to start looking at money as a tool, not as something to “spend.”

Here’s what we mean:

Money on its own has no value. Humans give it value. Many of us look at it as something to trade for food, shelter, goods, and fun.

But what if we started to look at it as a tool to give us a more emotionally fulfilling life?

Studies have shown again and again that purchasing experiences/activities is much more fulfilling than buying things. So if we started looking at money as a tool to a more fulfilling life, we could determine what type of spending provides us the more “fulfillment bang per buck.”

So, for example, even if you do get a lot of satisfaction out of eating out as a family and you get a ton out of watching Hulu together, which one gives you the most satisfaction? Since your income is down, chances are you can’t eat out and also stream different channels. So choose the one that’s more satisfying overall.

  1. Obviously, prioritize shelter, food, transportation, and health above all else.

If money is exceptionally tight, focus on keeping a home, feeding your family, being able to get to work for the working partner, and your family’s health above all else. Knowing you have those four things covered can go a long way to alleviating stress.

You will miss the “nonessential-but-important” items, but knowing you can cover essential expenses is – frankly – vital because the peace of mind you’ll have is beyond measure.

Remember: this situation is temporary. Things will get better. Focus now on the fact that you have the essentials covered, and the non-essential/fun/wants/great to haves will return.

Focusing on “now” alleviates considerable stress. Really. It does.

Consider a part-time or remote position

If you have been laid off/let go recently or you can’t return to work because you’re caring for children, an ill family member, or an elder member of your family, have you considered a part-time or remote position?

Hire Dynamics has several remote positions for people with customer service skills/experience. We also have several part-time jobs available in different areas.

Remember: even if none of our current positions applies to you, register with us because our clients continually send us new positions. If you send us your resume/register, we can then contact you ASAP.