Addiction shatters your life, and if you’ve just finished rehab, you may be trying to figure out how to put all the pieces back together again. You may have learned tips and tricks for avoiding your triggers and staying on the wagon during rehab. But how do you go about putting your financial life back together?
Managing your finances after rehab can be a serious challenge for many in recovery. Read on to learn more about how to get your money back in control as you rebuild your life.
How Money Is Connected to Addiction
Before we dive into the things you can do to get your finances back in order after rehab, let’s talk some about why money is such a problem for people struggling with addiction. Many individuals already have money problems when they first go into rehab. Their addiction takes over their life, and they spend their life savings, run up enormous credit card debt, and sell off their assets just to get enough money to feed their addiction.
Many also lose their jobs, and if they have an arrest record, it may make it difficult to find another steady job. They might not have a huge support network left to help when they’re trying to get back on their feet. And as if all that wasn’t bad enough, the stress of these financial hardships can sometimes trigger a relapse.
Look at Your Finances
If you’ve recently gotten out of rehab and you’re trying to get your finances back in order, the first thing you need to do is take a long, hard look at your financial situation. Oftentimes when you’re living with addiction, you may spend money without even thinking about it. You may not know exactly where you stand financially, and you might be afraid to find out.
If you’re going to regain control of your financial life, you need to know what you’re working with. Sit down and look at your bank account balances, your credit card statements, and any other debts you may owe, including to friends and family. It may also help to have a trusted loved one go through these statements with you to provide moral support.
Assess Your Needs vs. Wants
Now that you know what you have and what you owe, it’s time to start taking a look at what you need. People struggling with addiction tend to live reckless lifestyles, and it can be easy to start to confuse wants with needs when you’re planning your spending.
For instance, you need to be able to pay for housing, electricity, food, and transportation expenses, as well as to pay down your debts. You don’t need to buy new clothes every month or upgrade to a larger data plan.
Figure out what your basic needs are and how much those will cost you each month. In the next step (creating a budget), you’ll use this as the basis of your spending calculations.
Set a Budget
You’ve figured out what you have, what you owe, and what you need, and now it’s finally time to start connecting the dots with a budget. Take a look at your assets and income and figure out how much money you can count on each month. It’s also a good idea to decide if you can sell any non-essential assets to pay off outstanding debts.
Subtract the costs for your basic needs from your income and see how much money you’ll have left each month. As we’ll discuss in a moment, it’s a good idea to dedicate a portion of any remaining money to your savings. And from there, you can start prioritizing your wants and figuring out how much money you want to put towards those luxuries each month.
Open a Savings Account
One of the best steps you can take towards future financial health is to open a savings account. This can act as a safety net when you run into emergencies in life, such as health issues or car trouble. Try to save at least 10 percent of your leftover income each month until you have a healthy emergency fund.
In some cases, you may find that, after you cover your basic expenses, you don’t have any money left over to put into a savings account. Focus instead on paying down your debts, beginning with the smallest first. As you pay off each debt, move that money into paying off the next debt and the next, until you’re debt-free, and then start putting that money into a savings account.
Ask for Help
Trying to get your finances back in shape can be an overwhelming experience for anyone, much less someone just coming out of rehab. You need a lot of support during this period as you learn how to rebuild your life outside of your addiction. It’s important to ask for help when you need it so you can get back on steady ground again.
Talk to friends and family who are good with money and ask them to help you assess your financial situation and set a monthly budget. Talk to your bank about the best options for refinancing any loans you have and setting up savings plans. And ask your rehab center if they have financial services that can help you learn how to take back control of your money.
Get Help Managing Your Finances
After you leave rehab, you’ll have to find new ways to navigate many areas of your life, including money. Start by taking a hard look at your finances and figuring out what you need from your budget. Then set (and stick to) a budget and work towards opening a savings account when you can.
If you’d like to get help managing your finances, check out the rest of our site at Cenikor. Our substance use disorder treatment programs are available throughout Texas and have been helping people for more than fifty years. Get help now and start taking the first step on your path to recovery.