Financial wellness is an aspect of mental health! Yes, according to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (2019), “people in problem debt are significantly more likely to experience mental health problems”. People discuss the link between mental health issues and financial struggles as if the financial struggles are caused by mental health issues but rarely discuss it being the other way around, too!
I think I was 17 years old when I found out I was a shopaholic. Yea, I know people often joke about women’s poor spending habits and everyone thinks it’s cool but it’s not cool when you’re having to scrape up money from your side hustle to pay your small bills at the end of the month because you “forgot” the car payment was due. Thank God and Wells Fargo for that 10 day grace period lol.
Don’t get me wrong, I was always careful. I would pay my bills on time, including credit card bills even though I would max out my cards every other month. I never got anything “cut off”. I maintain great relationships with my creditors, and I communicate with them even when it’s difficult. I had come to terms with the fact that I’m a good person and that I am good at managing the debt but the debt that I was in wasn’t good. I don’t even know how I was surviving to be honest. I was truly living recklessly by spending so much and I began to stress myself out a little because I was always spending way more than I earned. Not to mention, student loan debt! Whoo. (Hopefully, old man Biden will pull through for us). I knew this was not the life I wanted to live and I had to change.
I did a lot of praying and asking God to forgive me because debt is not biblical and the debt I was in was devilish lol but seriously, I got a financial advisor. This was around the time I signed up to become a licensed life insurance agent. I had no idea that it was mandatory to maintain excellent credit as a financial services representative and I wanted the additional challenge. I paid down my credit cards and restocked my emergency fund. I began to discipline myself more by cutting out the hard stuff like eating out, Starbucks indulgences, handbags [the real addiction], and miscellaneous notebooks with super cool designs which I have replaced with notebooks from Dollar Tree with super cool designs. Yea, a whole dollar for a super cool notebook.
Of course, I still have my urges to shop when I’m stressed out but I seriously had no idea that shopping felt like a release for me. You literally feel better when you shop, hence the phrase retail therapy. New and healthier methods I found for coping with my stressors are listening to binaural beats, sounds of the ocean, journaling, and fitness! Fitness is life and when you eat well and workout, you’re also able to think clearer.
Anywho, yes that’s my confession. I used to OVERindulge on things for myself. I think part of it is because I’m spoiled and if you are rarely told no and also never had to earn things, it leaves room for poor boundaries and spending habits. I wouldn't trade my experience for the world and I THANK GOD I know what it feels like to continuously put myself in a bind because now, I WOULD NEVERRRRR. Interestingly enough, my credit was barely ever touched because when you pay your bills on time, they recognize that and CONTINUE raising your credit limit. Go figure. The system is rigged. Take care of your mental health and your money baby! Invest it in yourself (knowledge, appearance, wellness), stocks, businesses; and try not to spend on unnecessary things that you can’t get a return from until you reach a level of comfortability and ease. Don’t be like me and try to do it too big with no budget. Whoo. Memories.
Love, The Self-Love Guru, The BEST confidence Coach, The GOAT, The recovered Shopaholic
Check out the fact sheet where I pulled the statistic from! https://www.moneyandmentalhealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/debt-mental-health-facts-2019.pdf