I never had much trouble with my finances until before I became ill back 5 1/2 years ago. Sometimes people who have mental illnesses do not make the best judgement calls where money is concerned. In fact, people with no mental illness at all make mistakes where money is concerned. But since I got into debt about a year ago and had to have my Dad co-sign a loan for me to pay off in 5 years I have tried extremely hard to be financially responsible but sometimes my love of shopping or tendency not to think how much money I have to spend, gets the better of me.
The worst aspect I have found about living on a really limited budget, as a person on disability from a job as a receptionist/admin assistant, is that there isn’t room for me to have an urge to buy something because some months, even affording what I need is impossible. For instance, I have to take good care of my skin because if I don’t I break out badly. And if I don’t use the right products I break out from a reaction to those bad products. I use Clinique products and a Korres anti-aging serum but this month had to give up the serum because I couldn’t afford it. I’m surviving on beauty samples now and I hope they last until next payday so I can buy my particular Korres serum and not little samples of different creams/serums from Murale and Sephora.
The worst aspect about being in debt is knowing that the approximately 5 year loan I have to pay off, won’t be paid off until I am 32
years old and that the extra $400.00 I am paying to the loan would help me greatly and make my budget less tight. I could save for stuff then, and go on a vacation or be able to have extra money to pay off other debts I need to pay off when it is a pricey month. It frustrates me when all I want to do is work like everyone else and make a better pay cheque but I am to sickly to even try to work for a few hours a week. I just can’t concentrate and pay attention now.
I live at home so that saves me $ because I couldn’t afford to live alone, and I have cheap rent. I only really have to pay my loan payment and my benefits from work. But sometimes when I do the dumbest things such as I think I can afford something but I can’t, and then I try to return the item and the store online is slow at returning my money so then I can’t pay my loan I feel such self loathing. Thank God my Dad co-signed my loan for me but I am trying so hard to keep a budget and not have my parents have to pay for any of my loan. Maybe I’m not the best person to be giving financial advice to people but there is a few things I have learned that I can tell those of you who are really tight on money:
1. Put a bit of money in a RRSP each month even if it is only $25.00 for your future.
2. Make sure you have enough $ to pay your bills first, don’t just assume there is money left in the bank to pay them.
3. Make a list of things you “actually” need each month and decide which of those items can wait and which of them you absolutely have to buy.
4. If you spend on credit card make sure you pay the amount off as soon as you spend that money and get home.
5. Look for Groupons, Teambuys, Dealfinds, etc. for salon needs such as haircuts, highlights, massages, (etc) and events you like to go to such as a Beer Festival or Yoga classes because you can save a lot of $ that way. Also, you meet a lot of interesting people going different places for less rather then just the same old expensive place. But make sure you place those coupon deals somewhere where you won’t forget about them.
6. Pay more for classic pieces of clothing that can be worn for more than a year and can be mixed with other classic pieces and shop less often. If you can wait for these items to go on sale, do.
7. Make sure you give a percentage of your income to charity because it is the right thing to do and it will help you on your income taxes.
8. Eat out only once a month at a nice place, and bring lunch to work or school. Learn how to cook well so you don’t have to keep ordering out — grocery shopping is cheaper and usually much better for you. Just don’t grocery shop when you’re hungry.
9. Find things to do that don’t cost a lot of money like walking your dog, getting a membership at a recreation center, or having friends over for some snacks and wine.
10. Always have a reserve fund. Just like the RRSP contribution it can be small but there needs to be at least something in that account for emergencies.