How to Manage Mental Health on a Budget
Mental health and money are inseparable. Whether it’s lack of accessibility to resources, the burdens of poverty, or the pressures of the daily grind, your financial circumstances can easily impact your mental health.
Needless to say, your mental health is essential, and, unfortunately, professional help doesn’t come cheap.
While it is surely worth the money to afford it, not everyone has $150 to drop on a weekly therapy session.
However, there are other ways you can manage your mental health, even if you’re on a tight budget.
As long as you’re intentional about self-care, here are some tips that might help you manage your mental health without breaking the bank.
1. Create a Dedicated Budget for your Mental Health
Saving money is a daunting task for anyone whose budget is already tight. However, setting aside even small amounts of money can see it growing in the long run.
Whether you build up a mental health emergency fund or use some cash every month toward a self-care activity, finding room in your budget for self-care is important.
Consider your needs and what you can realistically afford, and then add that to a dedicated self-care or mental health management budget.
If you want to build a mental health emergency fund, set money aside in high-interest savings accounts to make the most of your savings. Interest rates are at historic lows, but it’s still in your best interest to get the best rates possible. It can also help you set goals and reach them much quicker.
For example, I ensure I have enough money for self-care activities and a couple of emergency therapy sessions in my mental health fund at all times. Doing this allows me to keep my emergency fund prepared and my finances on track.
2. Consider Automating Your Banking
As mentioned earlier, mental health and money go hand in hand. After creating a solid budget that prioritizes your immediate expenses, you might want to consider automating your banking.
By automating your banking, you can eliminate the need to pay all of your bills manually. Some may find that this can reduce stress. You can also set up automatic bill payments that pay half of your bills every two weeks, if you get paid bi-weekly, that is.
It’s important to note that this approach isn’t without its faults. It’s important to consider that if you don’t have funds in your account, you may be subject to overdraft fees, which can undoubtedly cause more stress.
Another drawback is that paying your bills manually, while stressful, gives you a closer look at where your money is going. Doing this can lead you to learn where you can trim month-to-month expenses.
3. Take advantage of free resources and no cost financial products
Mental health is usually pricey, but plenty of reliable resources can help, many of which are entirely free or, at the very least, inexpensive.
Whether through your school, work, or any other organization you may be a part of, you may have access to counseling services or other health benefits.
It’s also worthwhile to seek out things like community support groups or even listen to podcasts or read blogs that can support your mental health.
Thankfully, most of us have access to the Internet, which provides a world of free resources, such as videos, articles, and other resources that can help you manage your mental health.
You may also find comfort in using free financial tools, such as a no-fee bank account. These can reduce your month-to-month expenses immensely.
You can also perform a balance transfer to a low-interest rate credit card if you have any revolving debt, which can greatly impact your savings.
Doing this can greatly benefit your long-term savings while freeing up a lot of your money in the long run. Many of these borrowing options come with promotions as well.
4. Take care of yourself
Your mental health will inevitably affect your finances and vice versa. It’s a well-known fact that physical health and mental health are reliant on each other, as well.
One of the most cost-friendly ways to care for your mind is to care for your physical health.
Healthy sleep, exercise, and nutritional foods are all key components of caring for your mental health.
You can make yourself healthy meals without breaking the bank by shopping for discount produce, opting for more plant-based meals, and taking advantage of rewards programs.
As far as exercise goes, you don’t need to pay for a gym membership when there are tons of free resources online. You can make your neighborhood your gym just by going for a walk or run.
5. Make time to relax
It’s probably the hardest self-care tactic to consider when caring for your mental health on a budget because typically, taking a day off means not getting paid.
If you have vacation days, don’t hesitate to take them if you think you need time to relax. Try to structure your days off so that at least one is dedicated to taking care of yourself.
Our final thoughts
While the lack of accessible and affordable mental health care for those of us who don’t have much extra to spend is incredibly frustrating, I am glad that there are other ways to navigate self-care and mental health on your own accord.
If you’re feeling low about not being able to book a therapy session, I feel for you, but I hope you also recognize the positive alternatives that are at your fingertips at no cost at all.