Staying on top of your finances is tough enough for neurotypical people, and for those with mental health issues the prospect of money management can be even more intimidating.
Rather than letting this responsibility run away with itself, it’s better to take action and make it easier to keep your cash flow in check from day to day. Let’s explore what you need to do to achieve this state of financial equilibrium.
Build a budget that works
You can take the stress out of managing your money if you set up a budget. This is particularly important if you’re fighting depression, because it’s possible to trigger downward spirals if you’re strapped for cash and can’t see a way out.
Using a budget planner is the swiftest way to set this up, and the basic principles of a budget are to tally up your monthly income and outgoings to see whether you’re living within your means, and to look for areas you can make savings.
The main thing is to make sure your budget is clearly designed to take the decision-making out of money management. That way your mental state won’t be unbalanced by the finance admin.
Understand your spending triggers
Everyone has spending triggers which can cause them to splurge when they can’t really afford to. It’s better to know what these are and look out for them in your own life, rather than ignoring them and letting them rule the roost.
Everything from boredom to emotionally intense experiences can stimulate the urge to spend, and the best option is to take yourself out of these situations, as well as limiting your access to retail outlets.
Use a credit card that lets you check your balance and pay your bills easily through an app
When using credit card services to cover essential expenses, you don’t want to end up forgetting to make a repayment, or finding that you’ve hit your limit and don’t have the wriggle room that you expected.
The solution is to pick a provider that offers a dedicated app through which you can keep tabs on your current balance wherever you are. That way when bills drop on your doorstep, you won’t be caught out.
Financial stability is closely linked to financial visibility. If you can see your money, you’ll be more likely to use it responsibly. This is doubly important if you have a mental health condition.
Think twice before taking on debt
The temptation to take out a loan to cover certain big ticket expenses might be powerful. But unless you can be confident that the repayments are affordable, and that the weight of the debt hanging over your head won’t exacerbate your mental health condition, it might not be the best option.
The alternative is to avoid debt altogether and instead aim to save up until you’ve hit a specific target, at which point you can more easily justify making that special purchase.
It’s all about avoiding the instant gratification that taking on debt can offer, in the knowledge that the downsides outweigh the brief burst of glee you get from treating yourself.
Ask for help
Lastly, remember that you don’t have to deal with money matters on your own, suffering in silence. There are almost certainly people in your life who will be willing to help you with things like budgeting and creating a spending plan. And if not, there are various charities and support groups for people in your situation, so don’t be shy about reaching out when you need to.