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Doing basic financial skills training...

Ecdysis

MyPTSD Pro
We have a local advisory service for people who are in debt or need support sorting out their finances... I emailed them in 2020 and also in 2021, to set up appointments cos I need to get better at my finances and I'm sick of it being an isssue that gives me panic attacks and that I go into avoidance about...

I emailed them again 6 months ago (can't actually remember why I didn't follow through the other times... presumably other issues came up and those were more urgent... who knows...?)

Anyway, this morning was the intake appt... It went well... The advisor there was very nice... Kind, humorous, relaxed...

As expected, the topics were intense tho... And I've been given a LOT of homework to do before the next appointment... sigh...

@Rose White you're taking some financial skills classes too, right? How's it going?

Anyone else...?

Or anyone got good basic PTSD-type advice for this issue?

I've started using a spending tracking app today... Assuming that I actually remember to log my purchases in there... (which may be a problem...)

The issue of money is so fraught... I can literally start hyperventilating/ dissociating/ running away/ brain shutting down.

I know money was a part of childhood trauma and abuse, too... My parents weren't alcoholics or drug addicts, but the pattern was the same - them spending the little money they had on "other things" and us kids having to make do with nothing or so little that it was neglect...
 
I hire an accountant.
Yeah... I have had an accountant when I was working freelance and there was some business finance stuff I simply couldn't do myself.
Other than that, I can't really afford it.
I'm gonna have to go with other skills and options.
But it is a good point - hire an accountant, if you can. 👍
 
@Ecdysis The first class was last night but I couldn’t attend because I had an event at school. The rest of the classes except the last one will be zoom.
The advisor there was very nice... Kind, humorous, relaxed...
So far I am having the same experience. Very warm and nice. She’s going to meet me next week to give me the papers that Inmissed at the first class.

Rooting for you Ecdysis! I will update after the first class!
 
So, one thing the financial advisory guy and I briefly touched on today is that I don't know when it's "okay" for me to buy something/ spend money.

I try to use the filter "do I need this?" or "is this purchase necessary?" but I find that "need" and "necessary" are such vague concepts and I seem to be able to apply them to pretty much anything... sigh...

For example, if I'm super exhausted/ triggered/ depressed then buying myself a coffee and something to eat or a book to read seems pretty "legitimate" but a) at the same time, my budget is too tight to really be able to afford this and b) my physical and mental health are so bad atm that this happens way too often.

(Just one of countless examples)

The new-used car I bought (which I literally can't do without, living rurally)... I've bought a steering wheel cover for it, cos the steering wheel is quite old and the material is sort of crumbly in some sections, making it feel rought and uncomfortable... I got a good deal on the car (tho I couldn't afford to pay what I paid for it anyway) so is buying a steering wheel cover reasonable or not? I think it is "reasonable" but I still don't know whether it's "okay" to buy it or not?

For the longest time, I used to spend basically "no" money... (In my 20s and 30s) I was so used to growing up deprived that I didn't even realise I had needs or that I needed to do adequate self-care. So even tho my income was tiny, I always had money left to put into savings so I'd have an emergency fund because my life was such a mess due to PTSD that I was desperate to have a cash emergency fund cos I never knew "what might happen" and the thought of having no money and being dependent/ beholden to anyone made me panic...

At some point in my 30s this changed tho and I started buying "what I need". This changed when I got a dog... My brain decided that I needed to buy "what he needed" and that I couldn't deprive his basic needs, the way I deprived my own.

Then, the logic of buying "what the dog needs" started applying to me too and I started buying "what I need".

But yeah, that category is one that totally confuses me and I don't know how to define it in a way that makes financial sense.

In recent years, I used up my whole emergency savings fund, so I want to start building that up again.

And I guess once rent, utilities, food and other bills are paid and I've put a little bit of money into my emergency savings fund, then whatever is left for that month is "discretionary spending".

Historically I've not done well with this approach tho... I've tried it a few times over the years and it makes me feel absolutely claustrophobic and I panic and go into flight mode...

Rationing money in this strict way feels the same as rationing anything else that strictly: food, sleep, air, whatever... It feels constrictive, punative and like I'm stuck in a trap...
 
What if you paid bills, put some in the emergency fund and the decided what you needed for and incidentals, then put the leftovers in a cash spot somewhere so you have a treat yourself fund. I know that amount of money won’t be a lot BUT by saving it up you can treat yourself to actual fun things rather than a coffee you could make at home. Plus you can make decisions about needs /wants based on how much money is in your fund.

When I first bought my condo I literally could afford only the necessities and NOTHING else. But you can get creative with not using money and treating yourself.

Reframing things usually helps me more than any budgeting abilities. Plus you can treat yourself to cheaper things if it’s part of the plan, fun coffee flavors at the grocery store with whip cream or something else it’s a fraction of the price which means you can afford to do more of it.

Microwave popcorn and a video that’s free, invite a friend it only cost ls a few bucks.

I recently discovered my local library has an app for ebooks which costs me nothing and is so fun to use. I’m a sucker for a deal and I can find joy in getting one.
 
I think maybe kid parts are getting muddled up in the financial decisions I make... Going to have to mull this over and try to work out how that's impacting things.
 
I've got another purchasing decision to make: 100 coathangers for $ 40. I "need" them to sort out clothing at the new rental place. But do I *need* them? I truly don't know. What does "need" mean in this context? Is $ 40 okay to spend? I literally don't know.

It's from an online shop and I put it in the electronic "shopping cart" yesterday.

I'm thinking that a helpful thing to do might be to put any online purchases I'm thinking of making into a shopping cart and then making myself take 3 full days (72 hours) to think about whether it's a good purchase idea or not.

Those additional 3 days would at least stop any kind of "impulse" purchase... maybe... ?
 
I've got another purchasing decision to make: 100 coathangers for $ 40. I "need" them to sort out clothing at the new rental place. But do I *need* them? I truly don't know. What does "need" mean in this context? Is $ 40 okay to spend? I literally don't know.

It's from an online shop and I put it in the electronic "shopping cart" yesterday.

I'm thinking that a helpful thing to do might be to put any online purchases I'm thinking of making into a shopping cart and then making myself take 3 full days (72 hours) to think about whether it's a good purchase idea or not.

Those additional 3 days would at least stop any kind of "impulse" purchase... maybe... ?

For this I would evaluate if you truly needed 100, that feels like quite a bit. I don’t know about where you are but the large general stores near me (Walmart but others also) will have packs of 20 for less than $5 (not the crappy ones either). With that, you could get away with getting say 60 for just $15. For what it’s worth, I’m not judging and if you need 100, you need 100, I’m just encouraging to look at other options.
 
I think I need to start a spending journal... including all my conflicted emotions about spending money/ not spending money... I think I have a relationship to money similar to the kind of relationship people have to food, if they have an eating disorder. I don't think it's going to be a "quick fix" issue where I adjust a couple of things and then it's fine.
 
I've got another purchasing decision to make: 100 coathangers for $ 40. I "need" them to sort out clothing at the new rental place. But do I *need* them? I truly don't know. What does "need" mean in this context? Is $ 40 okay to spend? I literally don't know.

It's from an online shop and I put it in the electronic "shopping cart" yesterday.

I'm thinking that a helpful thing to do might be to put any online purchases I'm thinking of making into a shopping cart and then making myself take 3 full days (72 hours) to think about whether it's a good purchase idea or not.

Those additional 3 days would at least stop any kind of "impulse" purchase... maybe... ?
This is so relatable. Before I could really afford anything, I would make a list of things I needed and try to find the cheap options. I would bookmark them and come back to it later when I could afford it or I would decide that I really didn’t need it. Maybe you can try that. Turn it into a game or consider it an accomplishment when you find the cheapest things that are still good enough quality for your needs. I think having time in between really helps, especially if shopping and spending bring up lots of emotions and thoughts. If you shop online a lot, those coupon apps and ones that give cash back can really help you feel better about your purchases because at least your getting discounts or getting money back.

For example, if I'm super exhausted/ triggered/ depressed then buying myself a coffee and something to eat or a book to read seems pretty "legitimate" but a) at the same time, my budget is too tight to really be able to afford this and b) my physical and mental health are so bad atm that this happens way too often
I would also get so overwhelmed that I would decide to just Ubereats my food. Yea I was getting discounts but it was still expensive. I think learning to recognize the feelings and thoughts that lead you to spend is important and then learning techniques to deal with them. Grounding techniques and ones that make me feel safe and like my every need is taken care of help me. Maybe try to do some when you feel like buying something or are doing things related to finances like budgeting. It can help clear your mind so you can more accurately determine when you need something.

Sorry for the long reply. I seem to be in love with typing whole essays lately. lol
 
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