Budgeting Basics: Essential Financial Tips in Recovery

When you are in recovery, you may be recovering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, but you are also recovering from the damage that addiction has on several parts of your life.

This can extend to:

  • Careers
  • Relationships
  • Finances 

Your rehab program may help you with aftercare services near the end of your program. During this part of treatment, you can work with your care team to decide what your next steps will be, whether you want to go back to school, start a new career, return to your old job, or something in between.

As you transition into this next step of recovery, it’s important that you have some budgeting basics and financial tips in recovery to start off on the right foot.

Budgeting Basics: Track Your Expenses

The first of the essential financial tips in recovery starts with tracking your expenses. This means taking time to write a list of all the things you have to pay for every month, quarter, or year. 

To do this, start with your essentials, which may include:

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Utilities including gas, water, heat, A/C, internet, and electricity
  • Car payments/car insurance/gas or public transportation expenses
  • Food/toiletries/cleaning products
  • Medical care/health insurance
  • Legal fees
  • Cell phone
  • Therapy costs

This looks different for everyone depending on their unique circumstances. It’s important to think about your specific situation and what things you will need to pay for and to make note of it in your financial planning.

Next, you can move on to the things that are non-essential but still provide motivation and comfort, such as:

  • TV subscriptions
  • Community club fees
  • Money for new clothes/shoes/other necessities
  • Gym memberships
  • Going out to eat or out with friends

Having this division helps you see exactly what you spend each month or what you will be expected to spend each month on your essential items and non-essential items. Essential items obviously come first with whatever income you have, after which you can prioritize non-essential items based on the amount of money you have to spend.

Budgeting Basics: Consider Payment Plans

When you are looking at subscriptions, you can choose between different subscription timelines, generally monthly or annually. Annual subscriptions, as well as annual insurance payments, tend to come at a slight discount, but if you do not have the money to afford an annual payment up front, monthly payments might be better.

If you have debt, such as loans or credit card debt, you have to budget your minimum monthly amounts at the very least, but if you have extra money after your essentials, it is wise to pay as much as you can toward that debt because it will save you the cost of interest.

Budgeting Basics: Saving

In addition to knowing how much you spend, it is important to know how to save money.

Here are some tips to save money:

  • If you don’t have a cell phone or your cell phone costs too much, go with a cheaper, prepaid phone or a much older smartphone. Opting for a cheaper phone can save you a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
  • Make your own food so that you spend less money going out.
  • If you can afford it after paying for your essentials, set aside 10% of whatever money you make and put it in a savings account where you do not spend it unless you have an emergency.

Even if you can’t save 10%, try to save as much as you can. A few dollars every month will add up. 

Consider this: $20 saved every month amounts to $240 each year. If you can save $20 each month and $40 every other month, that amounts to $360. Over time, this can help you save for bigger purchases like furniture or a car.

Budgeting in Recovery

Using financial tips in recovery can help you transition from where you are to where you want to be. This looks different at every stage of recovery, whether that be paying off legal fees and debt, being able to afford rent without roommates, or saving money for the future. Working with Sequoia Recovery Centers can help you plan your financial success in recovery. Sequoia Recovery Centers is a Washington addiction treatment center offering inpatient and outpatient rehab in Spokane. Reach out to our team to learn more financial tips in recovery and how we can help you break free from substance abuse.