Managing Money and Mental Illness

Managing Money and Mental Illness

person showing both hands with make a change note and coins

Living with a mental illness can be challenging, and one aspect of life that may seem particularly daunting is managing your finances. The stress and unpredictability associated with mental health conditions can make it difficult to maintain stability when it comes to money. However, with the right strategies and support, it is possible to find a balance between managing your mental health and your finances. In this blog post, we will explore practical tips and insights for effectively managing money while living with a mental illness.  This article is for both those suffering from a mental illness and those who care for them.

1. Educate Yourself

One of the first steps in managing your finances while dealing with a mental illness is to educate yourself about personal finance. Familiarize yourself with basic financial concepts, such as budgeting, saving, and investing. There are numerous online resources, articles, and books available that can provide you with valuable insights on how to take control of your financial situation.

2. Create a Realistic Budget

A budget is a powerful tool that can help you gain control over your finances. Start by tracking your expenses and income for a month to have a clear picture of where your money is going. Analyze your spending habits and identify areas where you can cut back. Prioritize essential expenses such as housing, food, and healthcare. Setting realistic financial goals and allocating funds accordingly can provide a sense of stability and reduce stress.

3. Seek Professional Help

If you find it challenging to manage your finances independently, consider seeking the guidance of a financial professional. An accountant, financial planner or counselor can help you create a personalized financial plan, assist with budgeting, and provide strategies to achieve your financial goals. Working with a professional can alleviate some of the stress associated with managing money, allowing you to focus more on your mental health.  It’s also essential to stay up to date with your tax returns as the stress of unmet tax obligations is detrimental to your health.  An accountant and registered tax agent can negotiate a payment plan on your behalf with the ATO so you manage your obligations better.

4. Build a Support Network

Managing money and mental illness can feel overwhelming at times, but remember that you don’t have to face it alone. Building a support network of friends, family, or support groups can provide you with a safe space to discuss your financial concerns and obtain helpful advice. Surrounding yourself with understanding and supportive individuals can reduce feelings of isolation and anxiety, fostering a healthier mindset towards money management. Take care to choose the right people to add to your support network. Anyone who has similar mental health challenges may not be a good choice if they struggle with their own finances.

5. Practice Self-Care

Taking care of your mental health is an essential component of managing your finances effectively. Engage in activities that promote your well-being, such as regular exercise, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and getting enough sleep. When your mental health is on track, it becomes easier to focus on financial planning, decision-making, and maintaining a healthy relationship with money.

6. Be Mindful of Impulsive Spending

Living with a mental illness can lead to impulsive behavior, including impulsive spending. It is essential to be mindful of your impulses and recognize the potential consequences of indulging them. Before making a purchase, take a step back and ask yourself if it aligns with your financial goals and if it is a necessity. It’s beneficial to establish healthy spending habits and avoid making impulsive decisions that might negatively impact your financial well-being.

7. Explore Financial Assistance Programs

Financial assistance programs may exist within your community or local government to help individuals with mental illness manage their finances. Research available resources such as income support, low-cost housing, or vocational training programs. These programs are designed to support individuals facing financial challenges due to their mental health conditions.

Remember, managing money and mental illness is a journey, and it’s important to be patient and kind to yourself throughout the process. Celebrate small victories along the way and seek help when needed. By implementing these strategies and making positive changes, you can regain control of your financial well-being while managing your mental health with greater confidence.

8. Consider a Bank Account that Requires Dual Authorisation

If you are struggling to maintain control of your spending habits, consider adding access to a trusted family member who can keep an eye on things and help you manage your budget.

If you or a loved one are finding money management during mental illness difficult please reach out for help.  It is possible to regain control and make a positive change!

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