Financial Stress Hurts Your Health
Financial hardships and stress hurt more than your ability to pay basic bills. It hurts your health too.
How do I know that? Because I see the results in my own home. I daily live with the fear of my husband’s stress-triggered epileptic seizures. Sometimes he can go several years without a single incidence, and other times he seems to have one monthly.
It really can be directly influenced by the amount of stress and loss of sleep that occurs in our lives. Less financial stress means less seizures, while more financial stress means more seizures. And with the arrival of the overdue property tax bills of over $7,000—I’m preparing myself to be on the lookout for an increase in seizures.
My Part To Help Reduce The Financial Stress
Although I cannot help make $7,000 appear in our budget, there are small ways that I can reduce our spending by $20 or $40 a month here and there.
One way that I can help my husband and try to do my part to reduce our monthly expenses is to cut our grocery bill. Paying bills is a huge stress—so I try really hard to make meals out of nothing. Almost literally.
This is one small way that I can help share our financial stress, by spending our grocery budget in a responsible manner. And I take this responsibility very seriously.
After all, before Barry and I met, I was a single parent of 3 small children and only having $100/month for groceries. Although food prices have increased over the past 18 years, I believe that I can get close to our goal of $160-$180/month. Just recently I’ve been able to reduce our grocery spending to $200.
So because I’ve done this before, I know I have the skills and capability to do it again. And still eat healthy. In fact, it will result in us eating healthier by the time I get our grocery budget trimmed down. Yes, healthier.
Ways To Reduce The Grocery Budget Stress
What are you doing to reduce the financial strain and drain on your family?
Over the last few months we have done a:
All of this has been in a concentrated effort to reduce the stress and to ease the health concerns.
However, as Barry and I travel this tight financial journey and health concerns we hope that we are able to assist you too. No matter what financial stress journey you and your family are also travelling, finding ways to reduce your bills is crucial. Crucial to both your family harmony and health.
Not only have these projects been done to assist you in your own budgeting struggles, it is to help us too.
Growing Some Of Our Own Food
With the warmer weather approaching we are also starting to grow some of our vegetables inside. Soon we’ll be able to put them outside in the garden after the last frost.
Any vegetables that you can grow for yourself will help your grocery bill. Even if you live in an apartment building you can grow something. Or perhaps there is a Community Garden in your region. There are ways to reduce your grocery bill and still put real food on your table.
You don’t even need a large area outside to grow vegetables. In fact, we are planting them in the small garden right beside the walkway outside our front door. There are several reasons for this:
- small area to tend
- use the square foot gardening technique—grow the most food in the smallest area
- close at hand
- due to our busy schedules, keeping it close allows me to see if a quick 5 minutes here and there is needed to tend to it
- water is close at hand for those hot, dry days
- southern exposure which most plants prefer
Growing some of our own food is a direct way to deal with our financial issues and deal with Food Security Issues at the same time. Barry and I have placed the need for food at the top end of our expenses. The first being our housing needs. Anything beyond these 2 categories is just a “want” and not a “need”.
But you can be sure we have a roof over our head and food in our stomachs!
Reduced From $307 To $200
We have been reducing our grocery bill consistently over the past 4 months. We’ve gone from spending:
- 1 – $280.62
- 2 – $307.58
- 3 – $248.02
- 4 – $200.76
These amounts do include cat food and toiletries.
So you don’t need to put undue stress on your family by trying to reduce your budget too quickly either. As I’ve adjusted our grocery shopping pattern, Barry doesn’t even notice that I’m having to be that creative.
I’m just making sure to buy more food with less dollars. This is a win win situation, because as I reduce the dollars I need to buy food with, I’m actually increasing the nutritional value of our meals.
How is this possible? Because I’m paying careful attention to buying more fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats but more of them on sale.
The result, is healthier foods in our home. And more money in Barry’s pocket to pay other bills that need to be paid.
This can only increase our overall health status from a nutritional basis. And even increasing $20-$40 in Barry’s pocket will ease some of the stress of paying other bills.
Decreasing the financial stress will help increase the overall health of my husband, Barry. As he doesn’t worry as much and sleeps easier, his frequency of grand-mal seizures will decrease.
Reducing The Snack Portion Too
It doesn’t include snacks. However, I will admit that our snack spending was out of control. Because when stressed, Barry and I have both discovered that digging into snacks is our weakness. The eating of snacks helps us to feel less stressed. An ultimate problem with that is that snacks are not cheap, and certainly not healthy. You may have noticed that we are struggling with a weight issue. Another negative health issue.
The weight issue isn’t because we don’t have enough healthy foods in our diet. We do. Our problem is the between munching that occurs. That need for mindless hand to mouth action, whether it be salty snack options for Barry, or in my case, sweets.
I’ve managed to rein it in from $180/month to just $77/month. The next goal is to make that $0, but when stressed it is a big urge to grab for munchies. As I mentioned, Barry and I are no exception to that too. So this will be a bigger challenge, not because of the cost of the snacks so much, but the physical health need to stop eating those unhealthy snacks.
Admittedly, the need to eat either salty or sweets is a form of addiction. And no addiction is good for your overall health. So, we are going to have to deal with this issue too as it directly affects the health situation for both Barry and I. We have started to discuss this openly, so maybe together we can join forces and support the efforts of the other to stop this snack destructive behavior.
Yes, Financial Stress Hurts Your Health
Financial stress hurts your health in several ways.
- Mental health
- Emotional health
- stress-triggered addictions
- fear of bill collectors and cut offs of vital services
- loss of sleep
- disturbance in healthy eating patterns, leading to obesity, diabetes, or other food related illnesses
- and more
You may not be able to conquer your financial problems in a day or by yourself. However, you can do your part. Whether you can make sure to take shorter showers, turn lights off when not in a room, or adjust your grocery shopping.
You can be EMPOWERED towards a HOPE and a FUTURE.
Start fighting back and find ways to reduce the financial stress in your life. Your health will thank you for it.
For myself, the only direct hands on control of cash spending that I have is with the grocery budget. So, being in charge of groceries, I have a huge responsibility to use every dollar wisely and put the most healthy food on our table for the least amount of money.
This week, find 1 way that you can start to reduce the financial stress in your home. Let me know what you are going to do to reduce the financial stress in your home in the comments below.