Sunday, February 23, 2014

Anxiety: Out of financial control

It is Sunday afternoon and Noo and I have spent our third weekend in a row at home. That is we came home from school Friday and have not left the apartment since.

Since Noo started big school he's turned into a boy who likes to lounge around and play with his screens all weekend. It's not really healthy, I guess, but with no cash in the bank it is kind of a relief for me. I don't need to deal with a kid begging to go out and spend money.

All my life I've lived from payday to payday. I've never saved a penny but I've paid off tens of thousands of dollars worth of debt, which is kind of like saving but you get the goods first (and hand out a shit load of interest).

I hate living like this but I don't know any other way. This pay, my dad and I are going to try a new system. One where he will basically hold my spending money and doll out a weekly allowance to me. I have my doubts, but I need to try something.

Out of financial control - image source

You'd think that a 39 year old shouldn't have the need to have her parents control her cash. When I was in hospital last year, spending five weeks in the depression unit, I met many others like me; grown ups who needed other grown ups to take care of their finances.

I'm sure it is quite common for people with addictions to need help this way. I guess to stop them spending their money on their vices. I've also met people with bipolar who need help managing their money, especially when manic.

Simply, I have little self control when it comes to cash. While I've been sober nearly six years, and I don't even crave drink, drugs or even cigarettes, I do love to shop. I have a wardrobe full of (cheap) clothes I've never worn. Some still have labels on them and some have only ventured out once or twice. I don't go anywhere so there's really no need to dress up.

I don't work so you might be wondering why I have any money at all. I wrote a post about it years ago that you can check out here. Basically I've been on salary continuance insurance since my breakdown in 2007. I have a very generous policy that I paid a premium towards during the seven years I was working with my last employer. This was the company from which I attempted to walk home one fateful Friday night before being taken, against my will (I assume - I have very little recollection of how I got there), to a stranger's flat and raped (you can read about all that here).

I'm still considered a 'low income earner' as far as the Tax Office is concerned but I don't qualify for a healthcare card or single parents' benefit. I get a tiny bit of Family Tax Benefit A and B (Aussies will know what I'm talking about here). I'm not pissed off about that because I know I'm very lucky to be in this position, unlike the majority of single mums unable to work for one reason or another, who are really doing it tough on just what the government provides.

I live with my parents in a really nice apartment. It is so awesome now Noo and I have finally got our own rooms after sharing for the last five years. We are so lucky my parents are happy for Noo and me to live here for the foreseeable future. This is necessary for us both financially and health wise as I don't think I could cope with the loneliness of living by ourselves.

I pay my father board and contribute towards bills. I have a personal loan and I'm on a rental plan for my laptop. My mobile bill is considerable because of the data allowance I use, as any blogger with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts would understand. I have top private health insurance which is an astounding amount of money every month but with my health I would never give it up.

I always pay my bills on time and Noo and I really do not need anything (except food) yet I always seem to be scrounging for cash.

Money is one of the main fuels for my anxiety. Money and food, or should I say, my negative body image, are the areas of my life that I worry about most (other than being a good mother). The body image stuff I'm trying to get over using the Health At Every Size approach. It is working a little bit. That's for another post.

At the beginning of the pay month, when I'm flush, I'm anxious to buy something nice because I've usually gone three long weeks without much cash to play with. I'm anxious because I know I shouldn't buy anything (like clothes or toys) but I desperately want something new. Often when I make a purchase, it is done with the same compulsivity that I used to seek out cocaine back in the day. The blinkers go up to block out all reason. Fuck it, I think to myself, I deserve this [insert item here].

But like when I eat junk, spending my money on unnecessary things just makes me feel worse. As my cash starts running out, and it's weeks until my next pay, my anxiety flares while I worry about how we will survive. I wrote about my insufficient self control schema (or my self saboteur) early last year. Living with a highly addictive personality in this day and age of want it/need it/have it now, I fall prey to cheap consumerism way too easily.

I just want to snap out of it. Wake up and find that a frugal/thrifty/financially responsible grown up resides in my body. But that's not going to happen. I have to work at this.

I wrote a post about money management last year which won a blogging competition. Ha! I should follow my own advice. But why are the things that we want to change the most the hardest?

Are you a spender or a saver? Got any financial advice for me? 

If you used to be a spendaholic like me but have changed your ways, please get in touch. 


PS If someone writes a comment like "first world problems" I might cry. Of course I've got "first world problems" - I live in the frigging first world. Which is lucky. In the Lucky Country, even.

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5 comments: said...

Really? I'll look into Money Circle, thanks Carly!

That's it - it is skating on thin ice. Horrible feeling.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. V.

Vanessa Connor said...

I've always been a tad frugal with my spending. I even managed to save around 12 grand when I was working years ago and still living with my parents which ended up going into our mortgage, but I guess it's easier if you're a bookworm and not a party girl. You should probably look into that Money Circle thing that Carly suggested. Hope it works out for you. xo

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Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

I understand this.

When MPS was in the pit of his depression I used to have to take all the cash out of our bank accounts and hide it or he would spend it all online. He would hide the bills so I would think they were paid and we got into all sorts of trouble.

I am so terrified of running out of money I still hide a little everywhere!

Jeanie said...

I found worrying about money really affected my mental state - and isn't it always the way that the two seem to share biorhythms.

I am a spreadsheet girl - fair enough, I know how many treats I don't get - but I sure as heck sleep better knowing that I have 10 days to find money before my bank hits red!!

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