This topic is very important for those of us with anxiety. Many nights can be spent questioning my finances. Did I pay that bill? Will I have enough for gift giving? Am I saving enough? These are relevant questions. However, I don’t want to answer them when I am trying to fall asleep. Having too much uncertainty about our finances in the current moment and in the future can spike our anxiety. This would be known as a trigger. We will go over that in a later chapter. Whether we have acute anxiety or more severe anxiety, this area has an impact on all of us. We need money for our basic needs such as groceries, gas and housing. Also, we want to use it for the extra things like entertainment, new clothes and even a vacation. It is important to set up our bank account to take away some anxiety about our current situation and in the future.
Any financial mistakes from the past are just that, the past. Obviously, we will still deal with these issues in the current time and future. Whether we charged too much on a credit card or bought an expensive car or furniture. It is okay. What is important is that we learn from our past decisions and repair our present and future situation. Easing anxiety about our financial situation happens in stages. The first stage is organizing everything in writing. We can do this on paper or on a computer. We need to decipher what we bring in and what goes out. Some of us work part time, full time or are on disability. No matter what we bring in and pay out, being organized is key.
Here is an example of having everything written out:
Part time job: $1,090.00 Monthly
Additional income: $800.00 Monthly
Credit Cards: $75.00
Left Over: $335.00
In this situation, everything is written out and calculated. There is no question regarding what is coming in and what is going out. Now we know that there is $335.00 left over. How can we utilize this left over money to minimize anxiety? We organize it. This is stage two. Now that we know how much money is used for our needs, the rest of the money can be put into accounts for our wants. First, let’s pick out four of our wants. Do we want to save for our future? Do we want to use more money to spend on our loved ones or pets? Do we want more fun money? The goal is to choose areas of our life that are important to us and put our money towards those things. We can either create an envelope system to put extra money or use separate bank accounts. With banking apps for smart phones, organizing our money has never been easier. Here is an example of how these accounts will look:
Main account/needs: $755.00
Emergency fund: $250.00
These accounts will likely start out small. Many banks allow us to have a few accounts open at once. Some banks require a minimum balance or direct deposit. Calling our bank is the best way to gain clarity of what we can do and to find out minimum requirements. Often times, bank accounts can be opened online or through an app. With our example, there is $335.00 left over. Here is how we will divide the left over income:
Emergency fund: $85.00
As we can see, the total equals $285.00. We have $50.00 left over. This money will be allocated to pay back any debts we acquired. Do we owe someone money? Do we want to pay more than the minimum payments on our credit cards? Credit card repayment is included in the budget but we can add extra money to pay back the debt faster. Each account has it’s purpose. These accounts give us peace of mind. We have our emergency fund set up for the unexpected. This can be a car repair, extra medicine cost or a home repair. The fun and vacation account can be for anything from an ice cream treat to a weekend getaway. For the children/pet account, this can be set up for new clothes, medical expenses or an activity. The 401K is for our future. This can give us something to look forward to. This account builds over time. Lastly, my personal favorite, the gift account. Gift giving is very important to me. I always want to make sure that I have money for holidays and birthdays.
When it comes close to Christmas time, I might add a little extra money into this account. I might put only $50.00 into the emergency account and then put $85.00 into the gift account. Because the money is organized, these accounts get replenished as they get used every month. Therefore, when it is bedtime and we start to fret about money, we can put our mind at ease. We have accounts set up for certain situations. Reducing our financial stress can have a large impact on our anxiety. Organizing and understanding our finances can be an important step in improving our quality of life. Improving our quality of life can affect those around us. Learn more in The Anxiety Warriors by Amy Perez MS Psychology.
About the Author:
Amy Perez has a Master’s degree in General Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Author of The Manic Episode Series and Bipolar Disorder: Thriving, Triggers, Love & Relationships.
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