If you're feeling concerned about your finances, you're not alone. Research shows that Americans cite money as their most significant source of stress. There's no doubt that money is a complex and sensitive issue, and your recovery process can add even more complications.
No matter your situation, it's important to understand and implement smart money decisions. Let's explore some of the top financial stressors in recovery and how you can cope with them.
Addiction can decimate your credit score, and a poor credit score can have severe consequences on your financial health.
If you need a house or car loan, lenders use this number to approve the loan and establish your interest rate. Even if you aren't ready to buy a home, many landlords use this score to determine whether they want to rent their property to you.
Additionally, many employers also conduct credit checks as part of their initial hiring process. They may use this information to determine your financial responsibility. A low score might impact your ability to get hired (even if the job has nothing to do with managing money).
No matter your personal situation, a poor credit score is likely to hold you back. Fortunately, you can take several easy steps to raise your score, including:
making sure you pay bills in full every single time.
using a secured credit card (often recommended when building credit from scratch).
making more frequent payments to keep your credit card balances down.
requesting higher credit limits by calling your card issuer.
disputing any credit report errors (you can get a free report every 12 months).
If you find it difficult to limit your credit card use, consider tucking it away somewhere safe and switching to cash or a debit card.
It's easy to get into debt, and it can feel challenging to end the vicious cycle. Many people rack up exorbitant debt during their addiction- when you're using drugs or alcohol, you're probably not thinking about paying those bills!
Assess Your Entire Situation
Even if it makes you feel uncomfortable, you need an overview of where your money is coming and going. This insight is paramount for taking the first step towards getting out of debt.
Ask Creditors for a Lower Interest Rate
Many creditors are eager to work with you to pay down your debts. All you need to do is call and ask. You might also be able to secure a lower interest rate by seeking out promotional offers, like a 0% balance transfer.
Make A Budget
Budgeting your money is one of the best ways to tackle your debt. Take some time to reflect on all your expenses. Differentiate what's absolutely essential and what's more discretionary. While you don't have to cut out every last expense (that approach may result in resentment and burnout), make a plan to tighten your excess spending.
Make A Goal To Pay Off One Debt
You may have all sorts of debts: medical bills, missed credit card payments, the money you owe to family and friends, etc. To avoid getting overwhelmed, choose one of those debts (preferably one with high interest) and set a reasonable goal to pay it off. Achieving this milestone can give you the empowered momentum to keep going.
If you're worried about employment, remember that many people enter recovery without jobs. Additionally, many people need to quit their job to focus on their treatment.
However, once you're ready to get back into the real world, you'll need to start working to increase your financial independence. There are many strategies for getting a job, including:
asking your friends and family if they know about any places that are hiring
scouring job boards like Indeed or Craigslist
working with a life coach
going back to school to receive additional education or certification
walking around your local community and turning in applications and resumes
It's a good idea to talk with your support system about your employment plans. Sometimes, family members are willing to subsidize costs so you can focus on your treatment without worrying about money. If this is the case, you may want to consider starting with part-time work first.
In the early stages of recovery, it's normal to have nothing (or close to nothing) to your name. This is particularly true if you're coming back from a relapse or dealing with legal issues related to your addiction.
But if you continue floating paycheck-to-paycheck, you're just one minor emergency away from scrambling to take care of it. Unfortunately, many people find themselves stuck in this stressful trap.
Start small. If you've already made a budget, consider setting a realistic savings goal. Can you begin with setting aside $25 a week? Or, can you make a goal to save $500 by three months?
Make your goal and write it down. This exercise will hold you accountable. Then, open a savings account and set automatic transfers- this approach will make you less tempted to spend it.
You Can Work Through Your Financial Stressors In Recovery
Life comes with many challenges, but your financial situation represents an integral part of your overall well-being. Addressing your financial stressors in recovery is an essential step towards taking care of yourself.
At The Resurface Group, we support people in getting their lives back on track. No matter how bad the situation may seem to you, we're here to help you move away from the darkness. Contact us today to learn more about our unique approach.