4 Tips for Money Management in Recovery
Managing money can be a tricky business for people in early recovery. For many, dealing with financial issues is extremely stressful and can trigger the urge for a drink or a drug. For others, having easy access to cash or credit can drive cross-addictions such as gambling or compulsive shopping. But because money is a necessity, learning how to manage finances is an essential life skill that can’t be ignored. To help you budget, save, and spend responsibly, here are some money management tips for people in recovery.
1. Take Advantage of Direct Deposit & Auto Transfer
Having your paycheck deposited directly to your checking account can help you avoid the temptation to cash and spend it on the spot. Similarly, you can set up automatic transfers to a separate savings account to ensure you’re putting away a specific amount of money each month. One helpful thing I did when newly sober was figure out (approximately) how much money I had been spending each week on alcohol and contribute that amount to my savings, instead.
2. Avoid Credit Cards
Credit cards make it way too easy to live outside of your means. They can be particularly dangerous in early recovery when the impulse to spend and reward yourself with instant gratification may be heightened. If you can’t get rid of your credit cards altogether (sometimes they can be helpful for emergencies), keep them in a drawer at home instead of in your wallet. Even better, you can apply for a secured credit card, which requires a refundable security deposit in exchange for a line of credit. This way, you won’t be able to spend more money than you have.
3. Download a Budgeting App
In addition to helping you keep track of what you spend, budgeting apps can make money management for people in recovery feel less overwhelming by organizing and streamlining basic tasks. Free apps such as PocketGuard, for example, allow you to link your accounts and access them all in one place so it’s easy to check your balances. They can also tell you how much spendable money you have left after setting aside what you need for bills, food, and other necessities.
4. Ask For Help
Managing money is a challenge for many people, regardless of whether they’re sober. So you’re not alone if you need more than an app to keep your finances on track. There are professional financial counselors you can reach out to for help with budgeting, saving, paying down debt, and more. It’s also important to seek out support for the emotional turmoil financial issues can trigger. Open up to a therapist or share your worries in a support group meeting. You may be surprised at how many people are going through similar problems and can relate to your feelings of stress and anxiety. They may even have their own helpful money management tips for recovery to share.
Mastering Money Management in Recovery
While there are many ways to master money management in recovery, the important part is to remember that you’re not helpless. The stress that comes from paying one’s bills can spark a relapse. Employing strategies to minimize and cope with stress are important. And, if the chips are on the table and all else has failed, it’s okay to reach out for help.