Financial Distress

Are you addicted?
What do you do when financial stress is affecting your life? Nancy Trejos from the Washington Post says that "For people already in the throes of addiction, the economy tanking is just another stressor," said Terry Shulman, a Detroit therapist who specializes in addictions. "It's no different than the alcoholic afraid of losing a job or money, but they're still drinking. I think particularly if people feel, 'I'm not going to have a retirement fund, I'm not going to be able to afford the house of my dreams, then I'm going to get nice things, clothing, electronics."

“Even mounting bills aren't enough to keep some hard-core shopaholics from spending money on clothing, vacations or meals at fine restaurants, psychiatrists and financial planners said. In some cases, these experts said, a flailing economy encourages such behavior.”

We start this binge on a negative trigger like stress and try to comfort our self by rationalizations such as, “this makes me feel good,” “buying clothes makes me look good and I want to be happy and feel better,” but when the bills arrive we don’t have the ‘feel better’ mindset, it’s more like stress. So we return to the same negative thinking within days and the cycle starts over again.

With financial difficulties that many people are having today it is necessary to go back to basics, to realize the most important things in life and enjoy the simple things. Not many things in life are free but I have learned that the free things are things that make you happy such as:

Laughs that take your breath away
A walk on the beach
Picking wild flowers from a field
Listening to the rain fall on your window pane
Talking with your best friend
Hiking while enjoying all the nature that surrounds you
A swim in the ocean
Wishes on shooting stars

Some other suggestions that you can do to save or make money when financial stressor impose on your life are:

Yard Sale
Relieve clutter from your life. This involves going from room to room throughout your house, including the garage, attic, shed, and basement. Start sweeping the clutter out completing one room at a time and feel the energy being restored in each phase. If the item offers you no benefit, don’t hold onto it.

This is a time to simplify your life. Be strong and firm; the end results will be well worth your effort. Organize a yard sale and use the profits to your advantage by having a special night out, placing it towards a future vacation or paying a bill that may be due.

Rather than spend $5 - $10 dollars on eating out for lunch or picking something up every day, pack your lunch and take it to work with you. This not only is a financial tip but a health tip since you will avoid all of those high fat fast food places and quick picks such as pizza or burgers.

Items that you will always continue to use such as laundry soap, garbage bags, toilet paper, toothpaste, mouth wash, can vegetables or soup, soda, coffee, spices, condiments such as ketchup, mustard, relish, jar goods such as spaghetti sauces or gravies and many other products, can be purchased when on sale and stocked for future use.

Create a space in your garage, basement, or shed, anywhere there is some space you can utilize and place shelves to stock up on these items. This alone can save hundreds for you.

Shop for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and any other occasions that you traditionally give gifts for over the year, during the periods when retail prices plummet. This would be after the Christmas holiday season, end of winter sales, end of summer sales, just before the school year starts, on your regular holidays throughout the year, New Years Day sales, Memorial Day sales, and Labor Day sales.

Always look for items all year not just one week before the occasion. Your highest cost shopping months are of course, the months of October through December 25th.

Dollar Stores
These are great to purchase occasional cards at two for a dollar. Take the time to stop by and see what they have to offer. You’ll be amazed at how the items there are comparable to what you purchase in department stores at much higher prices.

Bottom line, learn to be thrifty, and stretch your dollar to get more enjoyment out of it. Above all else, take inventory and be thankful for all that you have and all that you have accomplished. Get started with the implementation of your financial tips today to start saving. Don’t let financial problems dictate the stress between you and your partner make it a game of saving money and have fun using your imagination.

Happiness Always, Susan
Author, Cobwebs of the Mind

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