SkimmU·8 min read

Skimm Money: Higher Bills, Financial Anxiety, And Guaranteed Income

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Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
September 30, 2022

Eyes On

Bills, Bills, Bills

The only thing more exhausting than hearing about inflation is seeing it hit your bills. ICYMI, costs for necessities like energy and groceries are skyrocketing. Plus, the near-record 98-day streak of falling gas prices is officially over. And the prices don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Some estimates predict that the cost of heating a home will rise an average of 17% this winter

Your move: 

  • Make small home improvements. Stay warm without blasting your heat 24/7 by applying insulating film to drafty windows and installing under-door draft blockers.

  • Save at the grocery store. Soups, stews, and chilis make excellent budget meals. Bonus points if you make big batches and freeze smaller portions for later. Psst…here are more tips to save on groceries.

  • Find more room in your budget. You might be locked in with the energy provider you’ve got. But you can save on other bills. Check alternative cable, internet, or wireless providers to see if you can get a better deal. Or call your current provider and negotiate.

Money Tip of the Week

Shop around for a better savings account.

One benefit of the Fed raising interest rates is a better return on your savings. Read: If you’re not earning at least 2% APY, you can probably find a better place to stash your cash. Explore online banks and credit unions for the best rates on high-yield savings accounts. But interest isn’t everything. Compare fees, minimum balances, and more before you decide which is the best savings account for you.

Financial Goal Unlocked

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Design:theSkimm | Photo:iStock

The Goal: Manage your financial anxiety

A Winning Mindset: Worrying about money now and then is normal. But obsessing over it is not. Address your financial issues head-on and get the help you need to manage your money and your mental health. 

A Winning Strategy: You may not be able to fix everything about your finances. But you can take steps to manage money-related anxiety. If financial worries are keeping you up at night here’s what you can do…

  • Take control. Track your spending and create a budget to get a clear view of your finances. Then see where you could be spending less and saving more. 

  • Set a goal.Building an emergency fund and paying down credit card debt could help you feel more secure and ease your mind. 

  • Get help. Speak with a pro (think: a financial therapist) who can help you address your money anxiety and develop healthy coping mechanisms. 

  • Boost your income. Because sometimes money = fewer problems. Consider getting a second job or a side hustle. Psst…don’t forget about passive income

theSkimm: Addressing your money issues directly is the best thing you can do for yourself and your finances in the long run. And it’s possible with the right strategies and help.

And Also…This

Who benefits the most from guaranteed income programs…

Low-income parents of color. Data from more than 20 basic income programs (think: cash for new moms, checks for formerly incarcerated people, etc.) shows those who receive money with no strings attached typically spend it on food and other necessities. 

Who’s not getting student loan debt forgiveness…

FFEL borrowers. This week, the Biden admin announced that people who have private loans guaranteed by the fed (think: Federal Family Education Loans and Perkins Loans) will not be eligible for forgiveness. The change affects around 770,000 borrowers.

Who might help you get your next job…

A casual acquaintance. A recent study of LinkedIn data found weak social ties could be more beneficial in helping you get a job than stronger ones.

What’s replacing air fryers on wedding registries…

Hint: It’s not honeymoon funds.

ICYMI: SkimmU Money

Cancel your Friday night plans. We’re doing hot investing shi…you get the point. If you’ve been wondering how to save for a wedding or how to get started in the crypto space, we have the answer: Investing. Watch our SkimmU Money courses on creating a short-term investing strategy and adding crypto to your portfolio, taught by financial experts. Want to watch all four investing courses? Check ‘em out here.

Asking for a Friend

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Design:theSkimm | Photo:Lauran McGoodwind

Q: How can you prepare yourself, and your career, for uncertainty in the job market?

Lauren McGoodwin: I have three pieces of advice that I think are crucial. And everybody should try these, regardless of an impending recession or not. 

1. Know your monthly expenses. 

Write it all down. Take note of every recurring bill, every annual bill that always sneaks up unexpectedly, and every bill that you might be able to put on the chopping block. Include a column for lifestyle creep items. These are your "really-nice-to-haves" that you can lose to save more of your monthly income. Take stock of your rent, your utilities, your groceries, your entertainment, your debt, and every necessity and non-necessity. Knowledge is power. Know what it costs to live a month's worth of your life. 

2. Audit and expand your skills. 

Remember that job you didn't apply for because you didn't have that one piece of experience? Now is the time to make sure that you have it. Take the steps necessary to level up to the next step in your career. Follow thought leaders in your industry and be on top of the skills and expertise needed to excel in your industry. In fact, take the steps to be a thought leader in your industry. Once you've finished a course that licenses you as a master of spreadsheets, tell the town. Update your LinkedIn profile, notify your boss, and implement your new skills into new, sleeker reports. In short, learn the most lucrative skills and tell everyone about it. 

3. Network for freelance opportunities.

If your current job allows, keep your eyes open for freelancing opportunities. Freelancing is an excellent way to network without really networking. Take on small jobs that don't take away from your primary career. In the case of a recession or unexpected job loss, you will have an active network to reach out to for more opportunities. 

Lauren McGoodwin is the founder of Career Contessa, a resource that helps women build successful careers on their terms, author of “Power Moves,” and host of “The Career Contessa” podcast. Her answer has been edited for length and clarity.


Tell Us How You Really Feel: ICYMI, the WFH vs. RTO debate is getting heated, and we want to know where you stand. Take this poll to tell us if you’re team WFH, team RTO, or team hybrid model.  

Last week, we asked you to share your best piece of money advice for other women. Here’s what a few of you told us…

“Don’t skip the freebie money in your 401(k)! Thousands of dollars a year are left on the table by employees who don’t at least contribute the percent their employer matches. Also, set up your 401(k) for a 1% auto increase each year. With most employers providing at least a 1% salary bump yearly, it’s money you won’t miss!” — Amanda M, Charleston, SC 

“Talk about finances with friends, family, coworkers, and, most importantly, your partner. The taboo around talking about money makes it difficult to learn from mistakes or realize you're not getting paid what you're worth. Speaking about finances with your partner is also essential to building a healthy lifestyle together that helps you reach your shared goals.” — Caroline E, Philadelphia, PA

“Track your spending. It helps you see what you are spending your money on so that you can later reflect on how you feel about your spending. Not pleased that you spent $50 on coffee this month? Find ways to reduce that spending. But, on the other hand, that $50 spent on concert tickets or a really nice night out may be worth the experience, and it's good to recognize that.” — Elizabeth R, New Providence, NJ

*Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

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