Being in recovery and looking back on how much money one has spent in their active addiction can be an incredibly frustrating feeling. Therefore, money management can be a sensitive subject for some people in recovery. Most people, while they were in active addiction, can collectively agree that they had spent a lot of money on illicit drugs and other purchases that all circled back to their habit or drug of choice. That does not mean that hope is lost. Recovery does not mean strictly recovering physically and emotionally, it can also mean financially as well. Here are a few tips from the experts, meaning people who have been in active addiction, and are now in recovery, who have learned how to budget, monitor, and save their money. It is important to keep in mind that some people in recovery might not be ready to work and that is okay. Some of you may still be working a job while in recovery, which is okay as well. What is important is consciously making the decision for your own safety and health.
- Don’t get discouraged. Paying off debts, loans, and interests can seem monumental when you add all of it up. However, just like taking recovery one day at a time, you can take the same steps towards financial satisfaction by paying off one bill, one payment at a time.
- Download a budgeting app such as Mint, NerdWallet, or PocketGuard. You can automatically link your checking account to these (securely) and they will give you customizable breakdowns of where your money is going to every week/month. For example, seeing with your own eyes that 40% of your weekly income goes to Uber Eats, might encourage someone to start prioritizing eating at home instead, thus saving money in the long run. Or, maybe you didn’t realize that 15% of your monthly income goes to entertainment (Hulu, Netflix, Cable…), perhaps this is a good time to choose one or the other.
- Be careful not to set unrealistic expectations for yourself. With social media and tons of other influences flooding our daily lives, it is easy to feel discouraged by everything that other people appear to have on the outside. Remind yourself daily of what you also have: your sobriety and your health and all the other wonderful things that come with it.
- It might seem as though you are saving a lot of money by not buying the things you used to, however, that does not mean that you shouldn’t keep track of your newfound expenses. Be mindful of what you spend your money on now, even if it isn’t as reckless as it used to be.
- Set up payment plans for anything you cannot pay off in one payment. And stick to that commitment. Even if you owe thousands of dollars, paying 20 or 30 dollars towards that payment every paycheck will allow you to slowly chip away.
- Join Facebook groups or other social media groups that are dedicated to budgeting and saving money as these are places where you can ask the questions that you might be too shy to otherwise. The purpose behind these groups and forums is for people to ask questions to others who have been there, done that.
- Little purchases can and do add up – think less eating out and more eating at home, pack your lunch, start cooking. Online shopping can be the downfall of anyone – ask yourself if you want or NEED that item.
Addiction is an expensive habit, but financial success can and does happen to people in recovery. Our clinical staff, including our counselors and case managers, are here to help and connect you with the right resources to start repairing and resolving your financial issues. Be sure to reach out to them, they are here to help!