How to Deal with the Stress of Inflation

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If the stress of inflation is getting you down, you’re definitely not alone. A survey about stress in 2022 found that the vast majority of adults were worried about money this year.

Inflation was reported as a source of stress for the vast majority of adults (83%), and the majority of all adults also said the economy (69%) and money (66%) are a significant source of stress. Of those who said money is a source of stress, most said that stress is about having enough money to pay for basic needs. Slightly more than half of adults who reported money is a significant source of stress (55%) said money is a cause of fights or tension in their family compared with 41% of the general population who said the same. This may be partially due to having to make different choices due to lack of money.

Nearly three in five adults (57%) who indicated money was a source of stress said that having enough money to pay for things in the present—like food or rent/mortgage—is their main source of stress regarding money, while more than two in five adults (43%) reported feeling that saving enough money for things in the future is their main source of stress.

Dang. I feel that on a personal level.


If you aren’t feeling the heat, this article isn’t for you. Statistically, though, more than 8 out of 10 of us are worried.

When you are worried and stressed out, it’s hard to be effective. You may feel the urge to work non-stop or to eschew all things fun and pleasant. Alternatively, you might feel paralyzed by what seems like an insurmountable situation.

If you can manage your feelings of anxiety, you’ll be in a much better position to get through this. Here are some tips for managing the stress of inflation.

Avoid the urge to be constantly productive.

Going into hyper-productivity mode works for a while to combat the effects of inflation, but nobody can keep up the pace forever. You can set yourself up for a terrible cycle of stress by taking on too much. You’ll find that you quickly move into a state in which you simply can’t “shut it off.”

I get it. When things go sideways, all I want to do is fix it as fast as possible. But working yourself into the ground isn’t the way to do that unless your issue is strictly short-term and finite. If you are dealing with a big-picture, long-term financial crisis, going non-stop isn’t the way through it, no matter how much you want to fix it, fix it, fix it.

There are several risks when you try to be constantly productive:

  • Poor sleep – I don’t know about you, but when I work from the time I get up til the time I go to bed, sleep is elusive at best and absent at worst. Insomnia is not your friend, and while you might be able to get by short-term with a sleep deficit, eventually, it will catch up with you. You need some downtime before bed so that you can wind down enough to get your rest.
  • Weakened immune system – When you are constantly busy, chances are you aren’t eating well or sleeping well. This affects your immune system. Lack of sleep will also make you more susceptible to illness. When you’re in a weakened state, you are more likely to get sick, and that means a) you have to spend money on a doctor and medicine or b) you miss work, or c) both of the above.
  • Difficulty managing emotions – When I’m stressed, I get moody fast. I am more prone to snapping at the people I love, more likely to be upset over something trivial, and find it difficult to be cheerful. This stuff all conspires against me – my bad mood then makes everything feel more hopeless, and that makes my situation even worse.
  • Burnout – Finally, pushing yourself too hard for too long will lead to burnout. It’s not pretty – Colette wrote about it here. Burnout can affect every aspect of your life, from your professional skills to your personal relationships to your health. Once it happens, it can take months, if not years, to recover.

Take my advice – you have to pace yourself.

Know what you can control and what you can’t.

There are a lot of things you can control – the meals you plan, the money you spend on discretionary things, and choosing activities that don’t cost money for entertainment.

But there’s a lot going on right now that you can’t do a darn thing about. No matter how angry you get, how much you feel like you know the right answer, or how desperately you want to, there is absolutely nothing you can do about the overall economy. You can’t singlehandedly reduce inflation, control government policies, influence corporate decisions, or affect national decision-making. While I believe it’s important to stay informed, immersing yourself in all this day in and day out will just make you feel angry, helpless, and frustrated. (I wrote more about what you can and cannot control here.)

Focus your energy on the things that you can control and limit the attention you give to things you cannot. You can’t control the economy, but you can definitely mitigate the stress of inflation.

Let things go.

This is really hard, but sometimes you have to let things go. We’re in an economic situation right now in which our old way of life may no longer be sustainable.

Are there expenses you can cut even though it feels like a sacrifice? (Colette wrote about that here.) Perhaps it’s lessons or a hobby. Maybe you need to switch to being a one-car family. It could be that you need to change your entire living situation to be able to keep your head above water.

While the decision to let things go may be difficult, the relief you will feel afterward is immense. (Although I’ll be honest – sometimes it’s mixed with sadness.)

Make time for pleasant activities.

This is the place a lot of folks find to be a sticking point. When they’re feeling the stress of inflation, they feel guilty for enjoying themselves when their financial life is in shambles. I cannot encourage you strongly enough to try and get past that. You might be struggling to make ends meet, but you still deserve to be happy. Punishing yourself by living a spartan life with no joy will not help you through this situation any faster.

This website is absolutely loaded with ideas for entertaining yourself and your loved ones without spending much – if any- money. We have all sorts of suggestions for delicious yet frugal food, for family activities and special occasions, and for having a good mental attitude. Life is too short, and this economic situation will last too long for you to eschew all things pleasant until the situation resolves. Being miserable will not get you through this any faster.

I’ve noticed that after I give myself a little break, when I come back to the problem, I’m often able to attack it with a fresh perspective and more positivity. That is far more effective than sullenly trudging through my days due to the stress of inflation.

Is the stress of inflation getting to you?

If the stress of inflation is getting to you, you’re definitely in good company.

How are you managing it mentally? What concrete steps are you able to take? Let’s discuss how we’re handling the stress of inflation in the comments.

About Daisy

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.

Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • I’m finding the cost of food being the most stressful for me. I live on $200a month in foodstamps and it’s not getting any easier. My daughter in law gets $600 in foodstamps which helps but she has kids to feed and I don’t want to take food from them. She also gets food from the school and sometimes a food bank. She does better than I do and she often includes me in meals. I do what I can to help but it’s not much. Food is my stressor and I know when they move out soon it will only get worse

    • Something that helps my food budget is baking my own bread. Lots of videos on YouTube teaching how to make no-knead bread. Very easy and tasty and is less than a third of the cost of store bought.

      I also eat a lot of soup. A Costco chicken costs $5, from it I make a week’s worth of sandwiches, a quiche for breakfast and a big pot of soup.

      A crockpot or Instapot is wonderful for making soup, especially if you are working outside the home. You don’t have to be there to tend it constantly. I’ve found crockpots to be very cheap at thrift stores.

      For salads, think about growing micro greens in the house, in front of a sunny window. Look into the Kratky method of “poor man’s” hydroponics. Lots of videos on YouTube.

      If you have a home on a bit of land, think about gardening. A small plot can yield a lot of food. Last year I raised more than a hundred pounds of potatoes in a space about the size of three card tables. I also have several laying hens. They don’t take much space and give me lots of eggs.

      You can also raise food on a balcony or terrace. Many towns also have community gardens. Perhaps your landlord will let you set up a container garden in the parking lot?

      I also eat more legumes, a much cheaper protein source than meat. And I stock up on everything when local stores have case lot sales.

      Perhaps there is a food bank near you, or a seniors center which has discounted or free meals?

      It is possible to eat well for not a lot of money, but it does require some ingenuity and the willingness to learn some new ways. That’s what makes it challenging and fun!

  • Other than being a minor inconvenience, the current inflation should not be stressing you out. Now if or when we hit hyper inflation and prices are changing by the hourly or something, then you can be stressed.
    If you are stressed at this point:
    1)You are either not handling you finances properly (overspending or needless spending). In which case you need to reduce your costs. Or you are under paid/underemployed and have made poor lifestyle choices in a career path.
    which requires some work to make adjustments in your employment options.
    2) Some people are just easily stressed by any change of circumstances.
    3) or a combination of the above.

    As Preppers, you should not be falling into the first category. That is the first area of being prepared, is prepping for every day life. Prepping for emergencies or SHTF, comes later after you have the everyday things under control.

    If you are stressed out by changing circumstances, you have a lot of work to do on your mental attitude. The whole concept of “prepping” is based upon the premise of an unknown and unforeseen change occurring. So if little changes, like inflation stresses you out, you will not be able to deal with SHTF!

    Learn to deal with it now, by understanding that you can fix certain things and learn to let go of your problems. Unduly dwelling on them will not solve them.
    Looking for solutions, where there are solutions possible and understanding where there are no solutions, is a problem solving exercise that you need to develop.

    • That’s incredibly arrogant.

      There are so many things outside a person’s control. If money was tight but tolerable before, then now, as the screws tighten, it only takes one thing going wrong for a lot of folks to lose everything. An accident or illness, a job loss, a business going under – all of these things can happen to anybody. Instead of passing judgment on those who are struggling, perhaps you should spend your time being grateful that you aren’t struggling.

      The fact that you are not experiencing financial difficulties does not mean you are somehow superior.

      • Well said!!
        Hank you for addressing that.
        Those who are struggling deserve compassion n understanding at the very least.
        Those nit struggling n well set with their preps could assist those who need a little assistance for instance.

      • Thanks, Daisy.
        Lots of folks find themselves in difficult circumstances through no fault of their own.
        It is more helpful to respond with empathy and respect than to belittle a fellow human going through tough times.

        Thank you also for all the good work you do!

    • A Recession is when your neighbors lose their jobs.

      A Depression is when you lose your job.

      While difficult for some, try walking, mentally, in another person’s shoes.

      commiseration, pity, condolence, consolation, comfort, solace, support, encouragement; compassion, caring, concern, solicitude, solicitousness, empathy; consideration, kindness, kind-heartedness, tender-heartedness, tenderness, warmth, warm-heartedness.

  • When I feel myself getting stressed I go into our pantry (was a third bedroom) and take stock of all we have prepped – instantly makes me feel better!
    Prices are crazy and seem to go up every day here – rural Maine.

  • The price increases have been irritating, but so far we’re okay financially. I have found myself not topping our pantry off as much as normal, but we still have a huge supply and both freezers are full. I was recently blessed with a significant promotion. This will set us up to continue our preparedness and increase our debt reduction plan. Controlling the things I can control helps reduce stress for me.

  • In an ideal world, everyone would work a well paying job they enjoyed, have at least 6 months of savings in the bank, and no debt.
    This is NOT an ideal world, unfortunately.

    Many people have not recovered from the COVID lockdowns. Many people loss jobs, or had to close their businesses down. Many had to dip into or even depleted their savings just to cover the basics.
    A recent survey found only 74% of Americans could afford a $100 Thanksgiving dinner this year. The other 26% are doing Friendsgiving and the main meal is pizza.

    The number of people living paycheck to paycheck has gone up and now includes people in the middle class. As Charles H. Smith has noted, one may own a 2,400sqft home in a nice neighborhood, have two late model vehicles, big screen TVs in every room, but living paycheck to paycheck is NOT middle class.

    Inflation effects all but the top 10%. We see it every time at the grocery store check out, at the pump. Much of this is out of our control. Nothing we can do about the drought in the West and even in parts of the Mid-West. Nothing we can do about energy prices, as most are subject global market prices. We sure as heck cannot control the Ukraine/Russo war.
    Just saying something like, “Well if you saved more you would not be in that position!” is kinda dumb. It is hard for that single mother of two, working two jobs and seeing her purchasing power reduced, having to choose between food, gas, rent, the power bill and put away savings. That elderly couple on fixed income, choosing between Rx meds, food and the utility bill.

    Unfortunately, economists and CEOs are saying a recession is on the horizon if not already here. Dollar General has noted inventories are up, and sales are down. 17% of households are planning on spending less this Christmas.

  • All I can say is that I love the fact that my husband and I have taken at least some of our energy and food production into our own hands. I have a full freezer and pantry reproducible with saved seeds and breeding. My husband has a chainsaw to cut firewood. Self-production is key to fighting inflation.

  • Inflation is hitting everyone, though some harder than others. Things I do to help deal with it are:

    Exercise: helps manage the anxiety so I sleep better. There are free videos on YouTube or join the Y. Sleep deprivation is NOT our friend!

    Food: in addition to my small patch of yard, I rented a community gardens space, and I’ve written about my experience on this site. For me, the investment was well worth it. I filled up my pantry with food I preserved myself. The exercise and doing something to help myself made me feel better, plus I gave over 200 lbs to my local food bank.

    Income: develop side hustles. Teach English to Chinese kids if you have to! Outschool isn’t a bad deal if you like teaching. There are many, many ways to earn some side cash.

    Clothing: buy in the thrift store if you must buy at all. Ditto for other needs, even simple furniture. Squeeze that buffalo until it screams!

    Entertainment: my local library has lots of videos, books, and even CDs and borrowing is free. There are a ton of activities, such as walking in the park, that are free.

    Gratitude! If you have a roof over your head, any food in your belly, and clothes to wear than you have more than 75% of the planet. Find something to be grateful for every day and focus on that. Volunteer if you have some extra time.

    An old Charly Reese poem comes to mind. He was discussing taxation but the gist was that things are the way they are because the people in power want things that way. Accept what we cannot change, adjust, adapt, and focus on resiliency.

    • I have had many clients over the years, women, who were single mothers, many of them not by choice but I could always tell the ones who would MAKE it. They had can do attitide.I remember reading a story about a single mom, baby strapped to her chest selling stuff out of the trunk of her car. Some of my clients said, ‘ No way!!” while others said,”Get outa my way.”
      I always tell people that at the end of the day, there really aren’t victims just volunteers. Do some have it worse than others? You better believe it but some how, they keep pushing.
      Americans by and large, feel entitled. I always say that. There are many, many side hustles and some I have suggested to neighbours, clients, etc. and most turn their noses up. Ok, if you’re on oxygen and 89 yrs old, perhaps this isn’t for you.
      In the end, we all can make choices. I often ask people HOW did they wind up where they’re at? I have had clients/neighbours/friends who had tons of money set aside. How? They didn’t spend.They were extremely frugal. Most Americans aren’t and let me say this., for all of the jobless out there and disabled, and everyone else in between just look at how much was spent on this Halloween!!! People don’t WANT to give up their lifestyles. People WANT to have the lives they used to have or that they’ve never had but stop spending? Are you kidding me?
      The one question I always ask is how do people have so little money? I am not talking about the last few weeks or months or even two years but in general, HOW do Americans have so little saved? I’m sorry but inflation cannot be blamed for it.I know people with over ten biological chidren and they aren’t in debt. A family from my church was on their 19th child, no debt.
      It boils down to HOW people really desire to live. My clients came from all walks of life but I could always always separate them into two categories the doers vs the complainers. The I can’t change this so adapt mindset vs the Oh my god,we’re all going to die mindset. The ants vs the grasshoppers. The victors vs the victims. I could go on and on but you get the picture.
      We need to take responsibility for our choices, attitudes,spending habits and whatever else you would like to throw in there and understand that it is YOU who has the finaly say so and HOW you will move forward with or without money, a job, food. I have been there, lost everything due to health and I am still (barely) hanging on. But I am. Is it easy? HELL NO. Yet, it is doable. We tend to look at the difficulty of something but not really its doability. Is it doable? Can I do it? Not do I WANT to but CAN I?
      Mindset, attitude,heart adjustment is what it boils down to and if you are a professing Christian? Well then ultimately, if you have done everything you could do to the best of your ability, living rightly, then in the end, God’s providence is what you have to learn to submit to. And for me personally, THAT has been the hardest to deal with..

  • We’re down to a one meal a day diet. Honestly can’t think of anything else to do with our income. Our car just broke down, so now we must rely on friends and family for rides.
    I’ve come to feel the Terminal diagnosis I received last month is a blessing.

    • Bemused, first I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. You are an invaluable member of this community.

      Secondly, I know it’s tough to be in this position financially – I’ve been there myself. Are there any local resources you can tap into, such as food banks, church pantries, or anything else? I know it’s very humbling to do so but these things exist for a reason. Please consider accepting some help to make this time at least a small amount easier.

    • Bemused Berserker,
      Dang. I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis.
      Thoughts out to you bro. You are a good man.

  • “How to deal with the stress of inflation.”

    Understand what inflation is. Once you have understood inflation, do your best to prepare for it. I am less stressed if I prepare myself beforehand. I did learn something from scouting…

    How to be prepared for inflation?

    It helps to have a partner that you are on the same page with. Be a team in all things with him/her.

    Try to live below your means. Not the easiest thing to do in today’s world especially if you are sick or have kids.

    Stay out of as much Debt as possible. Try not to go into debt. Pay off debt as fast as possible. Try not to have credit cards.

    Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. If they have a valuable skill, learn from them.

    If you can, spend a few extra dollars on quality items instead on quantity. Think about used quality cars, clothing, or healthy food that will last long and keep you strong.

    Garage sales can have some needed items at discounted prices!

    Garden if you have the time and resources. Gardening makes you active, gives you skills, and allows you to eat what you grow.

    Stay as healthy as you possibly can! Keep your mind and body active. A good workout makes you tired and has the ability to make you feel better.

    Spiritual well-being can not be underestimated.

    Buy inflation insurance. Skills, tools, precious metals, or land.

    In closing, throughout history, politicians/governments have always destroyed the purchasing power of printed money. We are all touched by inflation. Try to learn from others in order to live with it. Be a good neighbor and share your successes with dealing with inflation with them.

    You are all good neighbors. I enjoy reading your comments. Thank you!

  • Crazy observation.
    Wife went to Wally-World yesterday (she had coupons that needed to be used and she was on that side of town).
    They were out of eggs.

  • I so enjoy (most) of the comments on here. Thanks Daisy for this article. I’ve always been interested in the reducing debt, Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman types of info so I guess living within our means has become a way of life for us. We’ve raised 5 kids, are empty nesters & still sometimes spend like we’re 25 making a combined $40k a year. I still shop Goodwill for the thrill of the hunt (why waste money at the other stores if you don’t HAVE to?). I still get angry walking out of Walmart when I feel ripped off if I can go to another store (further away mind you & not on my schedule that week) where I save a lot more money.

    I’ve worked the food pantries & it’s been a tremendous blessing to me & my kids. It saddened me to see people come in with embarassment on their faces receiving the boxes. We showed them kindness, love, respect, encouragement & no judgment. There is NO shame in receiving help. That’s why we are all here. We were able to ‘buy a box’ for $20 too (leftovers afterwards) & the kids usually got name brand foods I wouldn’t normally buy so they were thrilled & thought it was the coolest thing. So if you must seek these pantries out do so. If you don’t need to use them…serve with them!

    I am guilty of being furious with what’s going on (on SO many levels). But I try to remember (especially after convid) that the bullies will always take your power if you let them. Sleep is #1 for me; exercise is #2; eating healthy(er) is #3. Life feels lighter when we exercise & get the serotonin through our body. We will sleep better & emotions get in check easier.

    There are days when I just need to go pet my barn kitties. They are thrilled I’m alive. When the sun is shining & heating my home for free I thank God He allowed us the house. When I see birds flying at the feeder I thank Him for sending them. The key is finding something to be thankful for. There is always something.

    I am guilty of being lavish on some things so reducing any of it without my will is irritating but I believe I will learn from less. And that is a good thing.

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