If you’ve recently embarked on your journey to recovery, you might have some concerns about your financial situation. It’s common to have money problems when first entering into recovery as you probably did not make the wisest financial decisions in your active addiction days. If you’re concerned about money and would like to know how to better manage it, take note of the following tips:
1. Take Full Responsibility
It is essential that you take full responsibility for your finances from here on out. No matter what the past has been, commit to taking control of your funds now and acquire better spending habits. Start by educating yourself on money management and learn from past mistakes. Read articles, blogs, books and watch some financial videos, as the more you can learn about financial management, the more likely you are to make sound monetary decisions.
2. Create a Budget
If you’ve not taken the time to write out a monthly budget, do so ASAP. Budgeting will help you to stay within your monetary limits and help you see where your money is going. Write down all of your expenses and how much each expense is per month. Allot a certain amount for things like groceries, gasoline, entertainment, etc. The total of all of your expenses should be less than your total income. If it isn’t, do what you can to eliminate some expenses by cutting out what you absolutely don’t need and increasing your income if possible. You can try to get a second job, sell some things you don’t need, etc. By following a budget each month, you should be able to pay your bills, get your debt down and sock some money into your savings account.
3. Track Your Money
Take a month or two and track every purchase you make. Yes, everything—even that bottle of soda from the convenience store. Then, at the end of the month, tally up everything and take a look at your spending. So many people scratch their heads at the end of the month and wonder where all their money goes so diligently keeping track will display what exactly you’re spending money on and where you can potentially cut cost.
4. Hire a Coach
If you’re not sure you can make all of these changes yourself or you simply want a professional opinion, consider hiring a financial or life coach to help you out. Affordable coaches do exist and it may be a worthwhile investment since, ultimately, their job is to help you reach your financial goals. Many times, poor money management becomes a cycle that can last a lifetime unless you really buck up and make some wise choices consistently. Sometimes having some accountability, guidance and encouragement can be what really breaks the cycle.
5. Change Your Mindset
Financial planning isn’t only about what you need to do. It may also entail a perspective change. Start by asking yourself some questions. What is your relationship to money? Do you always feel lack? Do you think you’ll never have enough? Are you frustrated? What are your thoughts in relation to money? Pay attention to your thought life as thoughts become beliefs and beliefs influence actions. You may have to retrain your brain to start thinking positive thoughts about money (it is a good thing) and your relationship to it (you CAN change your money situation). Positive affirmations go a long way when it comes to changing the way we think. Write them down or find them online and recite them to yourself every day, as often as you can. This will help you change your mindset, which can also help you manage your money better in the long run.
6. Be Patient
Keep in mind that it will take some time for you to see a big difference in your finances, especially if you have a lot of debt. Remember that small payments will add up over time, so be patient and diligent in making those payments. Those that are financially successful didn’t just get there overnight; it took time to get them where they are. A healthy dose of wisdom, commitment, hard work and smart decisions is also necessary—all things that you are capable of!
Just as recovery is a process, so is the area of finances. When you approach the subject with a positive attitude, you’ll be more apt to enjoy the process. Remember, it’s progress; not perfection. If you slip up in making an impulse purchase or go on a spending spree, do your best to learn from it and recommit to getting back on budget. It’s all a learning process and you can learn to manage your money better and create the kind of life you want little by little, day by day. Now get out there and go for it!
Have you ever found yourself in a financial rut? What are you doing now or have done in the past order to achieve financial stability? Please feel free to share your personal experiences and tips in the comments section below.