How can you manage your money when you are depressed? Or anxious? Or have other issues?
It’s all well and good to outline the best practices for managing your money but that can go out the window when you have mental health concerns. Just getting out of bed some days can be hard for people. Or if you are living in a state of stress it can feel impossible to manage your life, let alone money. My eldest has autism, all three of us have had issues with PTSD, anxiety and other concerns.
1. Know Your Triggers
Knowing your triggers will help tremendously in being able to prepare your life and manage your finances. For example, if you know when you have to do certain things you get stressed or anxious, then you can plan around that. What do you do when triggered? Are you likely to go on a big shopping spree or simply stay in bed and order UberEats?
Having this knowledge will enable you to put things in place to help reduce your reactions.
2. Prepare When You Can
It’s all well and good to say meal prep, do once a month shopping and here are a billion other things to do to save money. When you are struggling with mental health doing bulk shopping or cooking is possibly not high on the list of things you can do that day. So instead of planning to do it all at once, prepare when you can.
For example, if you do feel up to cooking, cook a double batch of whatever it is and freeze some for later. If you feel up to doing a little research and getting fresh quotes for insurance or comparing electricity, do it.
3. Go Easy On Yourself
Do not compare your life with anyone else’s. I have lots of people comment about how much I do or get done, how I manage etc. Currently, my mental and physical health is the best it has ever been but it wasn’t always. There have been times I wasn’t able to cook, I didn’t fix anything, instead, I simply replaced items and my income went down as my expenses went up. Not a good situation but not uncommon when you are having problems.
We all go through stages. You are doing the best you can so go easy on yourself. Each day is a new day and you will do what you can. No one can expect more than that from you, so don’t expect it of yourself.
4. Work On The Big Things
There are so many ways to save money and reduce expenses. When you are dealing with depression or similar things in your life, I recommend choosing the things that will have the biggest impact.
For example, comparing insurance, electricity etc will likely save you a few hundred each year. Cooking double will hopefully prevent you spending on takeaway which could save you $20 to $30 a week. Checking your pension card (if you have one) is being applied to every bill and you are getting discounts is worth it. Going to the doctors to get on a mental health plan to get some money back from psychology is worth it.
Mending those $5 leggings instead of buying new ones might not be worth it. As it takes more time and mental energy than simply replacing them at Kmart. Sometimes it is better to spend that small amount to save your own mental health.
5. Know Your Strengths
Whipping up meals from virtually no ingredients is a skill of mine but not everyone can do that easily. Maybe gardening is a skill of yours which can help you save money. Look at your skills, the things you enjoy and are good at and focus in those areas. Still keep a budget for the other areas of life but realise you might spend more in some areas compared to others based on your skills.
When looking at your skills, look at ways you can make money. I know for many, working can be difficult when our mental health declines. 43 ways for single mums to make money, 10 ways to make $10,000 and how I made $33,277 on the side all have lots of money making options.
6. It’s OK To Get Help
Depending on your needs, diagnosis and where you live, there might be a lot of support you are eligible for. Use it. Too often we think someone else is worse off than us or we don’t deserve it. These resources are there to help us because the sooner you can ease the burden on yourself and improve your mental health, the better off you will be. Or if you have a permanent diagnosis, these resources are there to assist long term too.
Again, don’t compare to others and put off getting help because someone else needs it more. You deserve it and it will help with your quality of life. Easing the pressure with a little help in one area of your life such as groceries or the electricity bill can do wonders for your mental health at times.
When I was really struggling I found reading hugely beneficial. Reading self-help, finance, business, travel and similar books got me out of my own head, helped me focus on my money and improving my life and the books were an escape.
Utilise your library, get books that resonate with what you want to learn and the lifestyle you want then read them. You can find a list of books I think all mums should read here. Also, podcasts, YouTube channels, blogs and similar can all be good.