Financial Self Care When You Are Broke

You have been looking over your budget and you don’t know how you will pay your rent or put food on the table. You are worried about student loans or medical debt. You spend your nights tossing and turning. The last thing on your mind is self care. If you can’t pay your bills or you are out of work how can you afford to worry about self care? When you feel like just breathing is a fight you might not win? In truth in these high stress moments self care is even more important.  

Self care is not limited to costly products with inspiration sayings and ingredients that come from the far reaches of the world. Self care involves any activities you do to support your wellness which include your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well being. When it comes to self care consider thinking outside the box such as considering your financial self care. You can take the time for self care and grow your ability to handle what your life throws your way.

One important financial self care task is to take the time to make and keep to a budget. Budgeting is a journey and something you will not get right every time. While budgeting can be complex, there are numerous examples and tools that are available online which will help you succeed. While taking this time to budget may feel like a waste of time, it is only when we budget that we will be able to have a clear picture of our financial health. The good news is often when we put our financial health down on paper we are able to see it as a challenge not as some impossible task. Budgeting is a form of self care.

A second important financial self care task is to create a plan to pay down your debts. Too many of us are under high debt loads that have high interest rates so it can feel like it is impossible to make any progress. You might be thinking ‘But I am broke how can I do anything about my debts.” There are many options, one popular one is the snowball method where you list all your debts based on interest rates and start paying them down at a steady rate. Once you have paid off the highest interest rate you move onto the next debt which gets paid off sooner because there is less interest. In this way you are able to tackle your debts in the most effective manner.

A third financial self care task is to reach out to others. Facing a financial hardship may make us feel like we somehow failed but in truth we all have moments when what we are bringing in does not cover our expenses. Reach out to your lenders and see what financial plans might be available to you. Especially right now as we are all dealing with the pandemic many groups are willing to work with you because they would rather get your money over a longer term than not get your money at all. Reach out to family and friends for support. This reaching out does not mean you have to ask for money directly but can ask for other more intangible assistance such as someone to listen and allow you to brainstorm your next steps, be your cheerleader or someone sharing what systems they use and what tricks they have found have worked for them. This is self care because when we are facing financial hardship we tend to turn inward because we feel shame about our situation or how we got in our situation. Sharing our challenges with others allows us to realize that we are not alone.

If you are in the middle of a financial crisis self care might be the last thing on your mind but self care can take the form of financial self care. Create a budget, look at how you can pay down your debts, and don’t feel shame in reaching out to others and explaining you need help. No one has all the financial answers. Everyone needs assistance in order to regain control of their finances.