When I think about stress, my mind always goes to money. All of my life I have struggled first with poverty and later with debt. It was the number one stressor in my marriage behind my own mental illness.
Any chronic illness causes financial stress. Why? Because chronic illness is expensive and results in a lot of time missing work or requiring you to live on disability. Prescriptions and frequent medical appointments increase this stress.
I’m just gonna tell you like it is. My financial situation is not great. I owe $130,000 and not one penny is due to credit card debt. About $100,000 is student loans which is my half of the debt from my marriage. Unfortunately, during the stress of my divorce, this bill got missed putting it into default. This added tens of thousands of dollars to the overall amount. I owe about $11,000 on my car.
Being self-employed means I have to pay estimated taxes and I like other nurses I know, I have struggled to make this happen. Therefore I am paying back about $11,000 of federal taxes. The remainder is $8,000 of medical bills.
Financial stress can wreak havoc on your mental health. Doing everything in your power to gain financial freedom can help you.
So needless to say, I have a strong interest in financial freedom. I have been working since my divorce to get out of debt to benefit my own mental health. For this #wellnesswednesday we are talking about tips to fight financial stress.
There may be affiliate links in this post. There is no cost to you by clicking on an affiliate link. By buying products through the links, you are helping to further the mission of Live Mentally Well. Here is an awesome book to get started with natural medicine for mental health – Beyond The Label. This is an informational post. It does not constitute professional advice. Please consult a medical provider for medical issues.
#1 Ways To Put Money Away When It Looks Like You Have None
- Use vinegar and baking soda to clean with. Read about how you can lower toxins, save money, and improve your mental health here.
- I’m a big thrift store shopper. I rarely buy clothes from anywhere else. I bought my winter coat online this year and I’m still choking on the sticker shock.
- I shop at Aldi’s, a discount grocery store. I probably spend half to 2/3 what I would spend in a regular store. Aldi’s also has a good selection of organic, gluten-free, and even some vegan food.
- I run errands together so I’m not wasting gas. You can also use public transportation in a bigger city.
- When I have a garden and can food, I can shave even more off my food bill. If you prioritize growing the most expensive foods you buy you will save even more.
- Eat at home. Don’t buy that coffee at the coffee shop. Reduce the amount you spend eating out. You will save so much in the long run.
#2 Monthly Budget, YearlyBudget, and Multi-Year Budge
- Monthly Budget: As I work to become debt-free, I have tried different kinds of budgets. The one I’m using right now is Mint.
- Yearly Budget: My monthly budget is so tight being a single mom that it doesn’t really show the very slow progress I’m making. a yearly budget shows more progress and is much more motivating for me. One Big Happy Life on YouTube shares their financial journey. They also offer a yearly budget template you can get here. I just got mine and it’s great.
- Multi-Year Budget: One Big Happy Life also does multi-purpose year budgets and I am trying this as well. With your budget, I can see how I’m going to pay something off.
#3 Overcoming Impulse Spending
With mania, I struggle with impulse spending. Here are some tips to help curb that impulse.
- Take your mood stabilizers to reduce this issue. I shop online and fill wishlists up with all the stuff I want to buy. Later when I got through those wishlists, I get rid off most of it because I didn’t really need or want it.
- People recommend leaving the purchases in the shopping cart and giving yourself a day or two to see if you really need the items. Once that money has passed they don’t end up buying the items.
- Cut up your credit cards.
- Get help. Have a trusted friend or family member help manage your money. There are also non-profit organizations that help with financial management.
#4 Put Money In Your Savings
- Even $10 a month will add up over-time.
- Put away your extra checks. If you get paid every two weeks, put away the money from the third check of a month that occurs twice a year. I think this is the easiest way to save money.
- Set up automatic transfers so you don’t have to think about putting money in savings. After a while, you won’t even miss that money.
I pray for help in this area every day and more ways to become debt-free show up every day. If you’re like me and you aren’t good with money than you may need to do more research to become better with money. The bottom line is that lowering your financial stress will improve your relationship and your mental health.
How are you doing financial stress?
Thank you for reading my blog. Leave a comment, question, or prayer request below.