Thursday, May 26, 2016

Budgeting For Mental Illness

This may seem like a strange topic but it is important to think about the financial implications of a mental illness. There are a few reasons why being money savvy is important for your mental health...

  1. money can be one of the biggest worries people have and you need to minimise stress
  2. if your mental illness causes you to take time off work or cut down your hours this will impact on your income
  3. you may have medical bills or therapy bills depending on the type of health care in your country or the private help you have chosen
  4. spare money can be spent on the things you love and things that make you feel calm and happy
  5. organising bills and keeping track of your money gives you some responsibility and control back that mental illness can often take away
So here are a few money management tips that might help...

Stock Up- when you have money spare stock up on things you will need in the future. I always make sure my pantry (larder) and my bathroom cupboard are stocked with sauces, canned food, cleaning products, beauty and body products, etc... so that if we have a month where we need to be careful with money then we can work our way through the things we already have. They are all things that have a long shelf life so they can be stored but don't go over the top just make sure you can take a month or two off buying these products if needed

Groceries- keeping an eye on deals and finding better prices without cutting back on the food you love will help you watch the pennies. It can help to write a meal plan for the week and then make a shopping list from that if you find you tend to throw out food. A meal plan also makes sure you are eating properly and you can plan in mood boosting foods

Plan Ahead- work out how much money you need each month and what you have coming in. You may have one off bills such as car insurance once a year so make sure you budget for this and don't spend all your savings or spare money in the months leading up to it.

Bills- I have bills that I pay monthly but aren't by direct debit. This means I can overpay when we have spare money so in the future I can have a cheaper month because I'm ahead with my payments. We also have meters fitted for our electric and gas that we top up and I do the same with these so that I can miss a month if needed.

Debt- if you are in debt seek financial help from independent, free and trusted advice services. They can deal with repayment plans and speak on your behalf to the companies you owe money to. They may also have the power to stop interest being added onto existing bills.

Savings- even if you don't have a reason to save up for anything it's always good to have some money put by for a rainy day.

Shop Around- use comparison sites to look for better deals on utilities, insurances, holidays, phone deals and many more bills and purchases. 

0% Finance- there are a number of things you can buy on 0% finance. If you can afford to pay something in one go then do it but if you know you'd be better spreading the cost and can afford to keep up with it try 0% finance. It means you still pay the same amount but over a period of time, finance is always better for essential purchases, anything that is just a wanted item I wouldn't recommend being in debt for.

Prioritise- make sure you pay for the important things first before treats and pay anything where a late payment would mean having to pay a fine or added interest

Declutter- I've mentioned in a previous blog how it can help your mental wellbeing to declutter your home but you can turn this into a money maker by putting your unwanted items on selling websites or having a car boot or yard sale. It also helps you see if you have a lot of one particular item that you tend to rebuy or if you have certain items you never use.

Skill Swap- you may be able to swap skills with a friend or associate to benefit you both. For example if you are a baker and your friend is a hairdresser you might agree that you'll make a birthday cake for their partner if they'll cut and dye your hair. Just make sure the work is like for like and you're not out of pocket buying materials to complete the job.

Presents- set a budget for presents and stick to it. Remember it's the thought that counts not the money you spend and there are 'free' gifts you can give such as writing coupons for a friend to do their ironing or gardening. If you are crafty you could make a gift or cook for someone. You may decide with friends or family that you won't buy presents for each other and will just visit instead to celebrate a special occasion.

Top Tips- shopping at outlet stores, hair and beauty treatments by apprentices/ beauty collages, try your luck and ask for deals and discounts, some business give you discounts or treats on your birthday, loyalty cards and point schemes that are free to join and use, early bird deals, having a 'no spending' day, week or month to challenge yourself, keeping a change jar, make a list of free activities or days out that you can choose from on your days off, on shopping trips take a set budget out with you

Transport- if it costs less to get off the bus or train early and gives you a safe walk home this saves money and a brisk walk helps you boost your endorphin levels, try walking rather than driving if you have a short, safe journey you can take too

If you find you are overspending try and figure out why. Is it for comfort? Is it to show love? Is it out of boredom? If your finances are suffering try to take a small amount of cash out with you and leave your bank card at home or ask your partner or parents to help you budget your money. You could open a separate savings and bills account and a spending account so that you know you are taken care of for the month financially and how much spare money you have. If you are getting to the point of debt or in debt there are free debt advice companies out there that can help. If you feel that your depression and overspending are linked it is worth taking to your GP or psychologist so they can help you manage it.

Much love,



Steven Williams said...

Some great tips. Unfortunately I barely make enough to live on. The only extra money I have is if I work overtime. As you know it's hard enough to get out of bed everyday for a normal shift I have to force myself even more for those shift which causes me to be more reclusive and alone. This always makes my depression worse. It's just a vicious cycle. On top of that, I never seem to get ahead as I always get some unexpected bill pop up that I need to pay. Being single doesn't help the situation as I'm the only source of income.

Becky said...

I totally understand. I hope you have a supportive workplace

Anonymous said...

Great post and excellent tips. I'm terrible with money and I'm really trying to get a handle on it.

Becky said...

thank you Tiffany. I'd read somewhere that overspending is linked to depression. I just think it's a huge stress in life. I find it sad because I'm not one who's all for money and material things but worry about finances