What Are Some Things to Keep in Mind About Finances in Recovery?
Money is always important to people, no matter who they are. People need money for all kinds of things; to buy goods and services, to pay bills, to maintain housing and quality of life. Finding a way to budget and manage finances in recovery is another thing, altogether, in recovery. Quite often, people are used to someone else managing their finances because they were not capable of it while under the influence. There may be those who were high-functioning but are no longer able to keep up managing their finances. There may be those who gambled and, of course, lost money on addiction as it costs a lot to keep up. In recovery, it is important to budget well and find a way to build a healthier relationship with money.
Keep a Budget
The worst word in the world to anybody is ‘budget.’ This word simply means finding a way to live within your means, based on what you earn, your bills, and lifestyle. With a simple sheet, you just write down your expenses and income sources for the month, estimate costs, and figure out how to pay those bills monthly. Some key things to consider when keeping a budget:
- Tracking is important, so make sure to know what bills are due when and how much is left to pay off any outstanding debt
- Speak with a professional who can help create a balanced budget
- Write down every dollar that is spent to see where it all goes
- Apps can be helpful in tracking spending, making categories to see where it goes and giving you an idea of how much is being spent on entertainment, dining out, etc
- Connect with recovery budgeting groups that are working towards the same financial goals
- Set goals for how to use money like paying off a big debt, saving for sober trips, etc
Things to Consider
When working out a budget, there will be hiccups. It is not easy to work off a zero-sum budget if you are not used to dealing with every dollar, penny, and red cent you earn. It may even be that someone else is helping pay your way right now as you find your footing in recovery. Perhaps you are a student living on student loans. It is hard to figure out where to spend, save, and put money aside when it can feel like you have so little. However, you are sober and that is a huge accomplishment. You can focus on that when you begin to feel frustrated by budget progress. Here are some other things to consider as you wind your way through finances in recovery:
- Little bits add up. If you love that certain coffee brand, get a coffee maker or machine. This cuts down on the number of times you ‘drink out’ and spend money on those sweet beverages
- Old debt comes back to haunt: don’t let old debt become bad debt. If it lingers, it could ruin your credit and make it harder to get car loans, mortgages, or any other type of financing for school and other things down the road
- Pay off small debt first and celebrate when it is done. It may seem like a small thing, but remember how many sleepless nights you had worrying over that money every month before it was paid off
- Stick with cash: keep one credit card with a zero balance and low credit limit for emergencies like a major car repair you can’t pay out of pocket. Save the cash for most things and don’t get used to swiping a card where it is easier to overspend
- Saving money is key to feeling safer in recovery: when you have money in the bank, you feel like you can save for that rainy day when things get bad in an emergency or a friend needs help
The key to growing in recovery is learning principles for daily living. Not only are you dealing with sobriety and recovery, but you are learning how to live more simply every day. Buy less, do more. Connect with others who are working on their finances in recovery and discipline yourself to get focused. When you create balance in this area of your life you are more likely to feel balanced out elsewhere in recovery and begin to make progress towards your goals.
A Step in the Right Direction provides quality sober living for clients seeking support for addiction recovery. We teach people how to live a sober life through community building, accountability, and healthy living. Our sober living program is staffed by people who understand the power of addiction. For more information about sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (818) 921-7132.