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So what happens now? Part 3: Dealing with the financial stress of illness
by Andrea Martell

Financial stress can be present in our lives no matter what our health status is, but the fact remains that “health is wealth”. Being sick or disabled is expensive. There are doctors or medical bills to pay. Missed time at work, or you may not be able to work your present job at all which will lower or zero your income.

There are things you can do to relieve the financial stress.

1. Detail the amount of money coming in (Income) and where it is coming from. The amount of money you owe (Liabilities). Knowing what the bottom line will relieve the stress of not knowing your balance sheet.

2. If you are married or have a significant other, sit down together to discuss your financial problems. This is your chance to be a team, to solve the problems together.

3. If you have children, this is also a good chance for you to teach them about the value of money. How to save it. How to invest it. How to spend it wisely.

4. Write out a budget, or review your old one so that it reflects your new circumstances. Take cost cutting measures wherever you can so that you owe less.

5. Apply for all the financial help that you’re eligible for.

6. Check your insurance to see if you’re covered for illness and disability.

7. Use your library card. A great way to relieve your financial stress is to raise your financial IQ. Go to the library and take out books on increasing your Cashflow, starting your own business, and multiple streams of income. The library has a wealth of knowledge about these subjects. Among them you could find an idea of a job or business you could run under your new circumstances!

8. Put a few dollars to 10% of your income away in savings and don’t touch it.

9. Take a few dollars to 20% of your income to pay off your debts until all credit card, lines of credit, and bank loans are paid off

10. Ask yourself if there are ways you can make some cash or Cashflow. What can be sold? Is there a place in your house that can be turned into a separate living space for rental income?

The following are some cost cutting measures for you to think about. We live in a society where we are taught to spend. This is one of the reasons many of us have so much bad debt piled up on credit cards, lines of credit, and bank loans. It is the pitfall of instant gratification that there is nothing left for your future. Find out the places in your spending where instant gratification is hurting your present and future financial statement.

1. Are you using “shopping therapy” to cure your woes? There is nothing wrong with setting aside a few dollars a month for a treat. It is a sign of good self-esteem and self-care. Spending sprees that wind up on your credit card are the opposite. They will only cause you more financial headaches no matter how good that dress looks in the window. Cut up your credit cards if you have to. Pay cash only.

2. Do you have a craving for chocolate bars and specialty coffees? Are you spending 1-5 dollars a day on these delicious treats? If you are, you could be spending from 300 to 2000 dollars a year on snacks and caffeine! Bad for your waistline and your pocketbook.

3. Smoking. Not just bad for your health and those around you, it’s a habit that puts quite a dent into your bank account. Those packs you buy every day add up. The next time you smoke, sit down with a calculator and find out how much the habit is costing you.

4. Eating out or having food delivered? Is the pizza man visiting your house often? How much time are you spending in restaurants? A reminder: at a restaurant you pay tax and tip along with the cost of your meal. If you buy food from the grocery store and cook it yourself, or have someone help you, you know what you are putting in your body, there’s no tip except perhaps a thank you or a kiss to the cook!

5. Pets. Pets are wonderful companions! Can you afford yours? Is your kitty eating up your food budget? Is the visit to the vet costing you more than to see your doctor?

You don’t have to deprive yourself of everything. To relieve yourself of financial stress you have to plug the leaks in your budget. You have to know how each penny is being spent, where it is going, and what it is doing!

Most of all remember that you have the power to change your life. Concentrate on what you can do, and you will find the way.

Related Articles:

So what happens now? Part 1: Dealing with the emotional stress of illness
Getting sick and then spending years of money and time fighting for a diagnosis and treatment is enough to knock the wind out of anyone's sail. Disability is stressful. Emotional stress. Physical stress. Financial stress. You name it. You got it.

So what happens now? Part 2: Dealing with the physical stress of illness
The problem of physical stress during illness is explored.

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