The rising price of gas is an issue pertinent in all of our seminar topics. How does the rising price of gas fit into a work/life discussion? Very easily! In this economic climate, Americans are constantly stressed about finances. I regularly see people beginning to spin out of control. The biggest key to work/life balance is being prepared to handle whatever is thrown your way, and the rising cost of gas is a big obstacle to manage. Every person and every family needs to regroup and take another look at their budget.
The fact is, a financial plan or budget is something that has always had a work-in-progress stamp on it. We have been here before and will be again, so my company, Balancing Life's Issues, came up with some step-by-step ways to monitor your finances in a way that will keep your buckets balanced.
You must be realistic. In New York, the price of gas will most likely reach $5 a gallon by Memorial Day.
2. Stay Positive
Complaining won't change reality. In fact, negative emotions provoke a downhill spin.
3. Make a Plan
- Calculate how much more money you will need per week to compensate for the rise in cost.
- Where will it come from? Look at your spending habits and highlight areas where you see yourself splurging.
- Brainstorm: What other options do you have? This is the time to get creative. Come up with at least 10 ideas for cutbacks in your budget. Some money-saving tactics that my clients have shared include working from home, carpooling, biking to work, Skype or e-meetings, and cutting back on off-site meetings.
4. Share and Include
Once you have worked through your budget and brainstormed ideas, it is time for the family to regroup and discuss. Weekends and teenagers count! Keep them in the loop about your family's finances so that they know to be fiscally responsible.
5. Focus on Free
The best part of financial crises is that we learn to be introspective. The hard times teach us new ways to navigate through our problems. In focusing on free, create a list of 10 things you do (with or without your family) that are free. Here is the catch—they can't involve restaurants or money. After some serious introspection, they realize that the possibilities are endless. For example: watching sunsets (even when you’re bundled up in the snow), bubble baths, cooking with friends and neighbors, cleaning (yes! it can be awesome with the music blasting), a good old conversation with a loved one, board games, playing with pets, exercise, etc.
A well balanced person is up to the task of handling all that life throws at them. They swing with the punches, re-group and ask themselves how they are going to tackle any roadblocks. A positive attitude is the stepping stone to a well-balanced life and being resilient enough to get started.
Wendy Kaufman is the President and Founder of Balancing Life’s Issues, a national corporate training company. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.