Staying on top of your money may or may not have been a skill that you possessed before addiction, but there’s a good chance that if you struggled with addiction, then your finances might not be in the best of shape as you enter recovery.
Even if you had the best of finances before addiction took a hold of your life, the destructive quality of the disease can very easily have its affect on your financial life.
For instance, when you begin to use, your sense of responsibility starts to deteriorate. Whereas before you might have been conscientious about paying all your bills on time, addiction begins to eat away at your sense of accountability. You might begin to pay bills late. You might ignore bills altogether.
You might not have any idea at all about the money that’s going out or the money that’s coming in. Addiction might eat away at your entire financial life until you’re completely out of touch with it.
Focus On Your Finances While in Recovery
But now that you’re in recovery, there are going to be major areas of your life that might need transformation – perhaps relationships, health, career, as well as your finances. Now that you’re in recovery, it’s time to address those areas, one by one, as you have the time and energy to focus on it. Certainly, your main priority is your health, your psychological well being, and your sobriety.
However, when you’re ready, you may want to address your financial life again. In fact, it might be more than just when you’re ready, you may arrive at a point that you need to address your financial life. You might need to get a job to support yourself.
You may need to pay debtors back, or you may need to repay family members that helped you pay for your addiction treatment. Whatever the case, you may arrive at a point to focus on your finances and bring it back to health too.
Of course, one of the first tasks in turning your financial life around is to get back in touch with it. What are the bills that you need to pay every month? What income do you receive on a regular basis? What are your personal expenses– groceries, clothing, rent/mortgage, property or car insurance, gas and car maintenance, etc?
First, simply become acquainted with what’s coming into your bank account and what’s leaving.
Then, you might make a planner or spreadsheet of these items. This will also help you become more familiar with the income and expenses in your life. At the top portion of your spreadsheet, list all the income you receive on a monthly basis.
This Might Include:
- Social Security Benefits
- Rental Income
- Reverse Mortgage
- Any Other Income You Might Have
Next, to the right of each item you listed, put the amount. If you don’t know the amount, it would be helpful to find out what it is by looking at bank statements or other monthly statements you might get in the mail or in your email inbox. And if you still can’t get the exact amount, take a guess for now until that information becomes available.
Lastly, Do the Same for Your Expenses. These Might Include:
- Property Insurance
- Housing Maintenance
- Car Payments
- Car Insurance
- Car Maintenance
- Medical Expenses
- Health Insurance
- And Other Expenses You Might Have
How to Handle Your Finances
One suggestion is to find a Budget Planner or Spreadsheet sample online. This way if you can’t think of expenses you have you can use the sample to help jar your memory. Finally, create a budget for yourself and commit to living within your means.
Talking about money can be a taboo. In the American culture and within families, money is frequently a subject that is discussed privately, behind closed doors. And even when it is discussed, regardless of how much money people have, discussions around money can come with feelings of shame, guilt, anger, and powerlessness.
However, you don’t have to let money become a source of these uncomfortable feelings. Instead, you can transform your financial life by getting in touch with your income and expenses, making a spreadsheet that outlines your financial information, and creating a budget.
Aiming to live within your means keeps you out of debt and might leave you money to pay off the debts you might owe from the past.
With commitment, willpower, and some effort you can bring not only transform your physical health, you can bring your financial life back to health too.
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