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Choose your financial mindset during unexpected times

FRANKLIN LIVING—In good times and bad, it’s important to be smart with our money. In thinking about this, considering all the recent events our society has adapted to, it can be challenging to determine what is “smart.”

I believe this really all comes down to your personal financial situation. For me, it feels like I’m spending more at the grocery store, but I am eating out less. I’m not spending money going to the movies or getting my hair done, but I am buying more loaded teas and have had some pretty sporadic online shopping purchases.

Some articles you read say you should “treat yourself” as a form of self-care, while some doom-and-gloom articles recommend hoarding up every penny because you don’t know what’s yet to come. In a way, both tips are accurate. The key is to determine what works best for you and your family.

Here are three tips that can work for everyone:

  1. Save – If you haven’t noticed, that’s always going to be No. 1! We should maintain our saving strategies as best we can all the time. If your income has recently been affected, you might be saving less, but continuing to set at least some money aside will keep you on track.
  2. Budget – I think everyone’s budget has recently changed. We are all spending money in different ways. It might be time to take a look and evaluate what’s working (or not). Also, look for spending hot spots.
  3. Challenge – After you have assessed the financial picture, challenge yourself to make the needed changes. If your financial picture is looking different these days, find the cuts or changes you need to make for right now and make those. If you see some spending hot spots, challenge yourself to reel that back in. We can all challenge ourselves to “no spend” days, weekends or even weeks.

Most importantly: don’t panic. Have faith and evaluate your financial situation. Make the adjustments as needed and try not to begrudge mistakes along the way. Everyone is on a learning curve right now, and nobody has a playbook.      

Emily Mays is vice president/senior marketing director at Community Spirit Bank in Red Bay, working in finance for 14 years. She is an enthusiastic social media marketer, financial literacy advocate and go local supporter. She lives in East Franklin and has one daughter, Lola.