Admittedly, money management is not everyone’s forte. Most will agree that money problems are often the result of unwise spending habits and poor planning. While in active substance use, chances are that your financial decisions might not be ideal. Additionally, substance use can have a devastating impact on your personal finances.
There is an opportunity to start life anew in recovery, including your personal finance. Just like any other life skill, learning how to manage money is an essential one. Sticking to a budget, paying off debt, and increasing your savings are actions that take time and patience to master.
What is Financial Health?
Financial health doesn’t just happen—achieving financial wellness in recovery will take perseverance and planning. It means first securing a job, and then creating a solid plan for allocating your earnings every month.
Over time, your financial health will gradually improve. You’ll begin to feel more financially secure and stable, which in turn improves your self-esteem and sense of confidence.
7 Tips for Financial Wellness
Financial wellness begins with having a steady job or other source of income . If you are employed, but wish to increase your earnings, consider starting a side gig.
In addition to having that stable source of income, there are some concrete steps you can take to help improve your financial wellness. Consider these 7 tips:
- Don’t Use Cash. Have your employer pay you via direct deposit and make all purchases with a debit card. Avoid gaining access to an ATM, as this presents a temptation to access cash and quickly lose control of your budget.
- Track Your Expenses. For one month, keep a detailed record of every single thing you purchase, down to every last cent. By tracking all your expenses for a month, you will get a more realistic picture of your actual expenses.
- Find a Financial Counselor. There are nonprofit groups that provide financial counseling at little or no cost. A financial counselor can help you assess your financial situation, create a monthly budget and help you create short and long-term financial goals.
- Use Money Management Smartphone Apps. Keep track of your spending and savings with easy-to-use smartphone money manager apps. Some apps to check out include Pocket Guard, Acorns, Qapital, and GoodBudget. Most of them are free, although some have a monthly fee.
- Enroll in a Financial Workshop. These financial workshops are hosted at local colleges, banks, Facebook Live events, and Meetup groups. The classes or groups can offer basic money management strategies and guidance at little or no cost.
- Tackle Debt. Freeing yourself from debt is vital to financial wellness. Start by chipping away at credit card debt first, as it has the highest interest rates. You might want to pay off the cards with the smallest balances first and then work toward eliminating each remaining debt, one at a time.
- Add to Savings Every Month. Allot a certain amount, no matter how small, toward savings every month. This allows you to slowly build up a safety net for unexpected expenses. Scrutinize your weekly expenses (such as that daily Starbucks run) to trim the fat and divert that money into your savings account.
In recovery, you have the opportunity to enjoy a fresh start in all areas of your life, including your personal finances. Sticking with your financial wellness plan requires accountability and self-discipline, but it will most definitely pay off.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, and provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle – “everything for recovery” – reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.