It is an obvious fact that many of my biggest problems are in some way connected to money. I would certainly not go as far as saying that money is the root of all evil. The world we live in just so happens to function around money and until we move on to the next step in the evolution of human society it’s just how things will be. There is nothing tragically wrong with spending some money to buy some needed or helpful things. It is however undeniable that if I take apart some of my biggest issues, money is in most cases somehow involved. It also ends up being how different problems become interconnected.
Let’s take for example one of my prime concerns these days – the matter of weight and poor eating habits. It’s pretty obvious that if I didn’t buy all the wrong food items way too often and in excessive amounts I would most likely not be struggling so much with the numbers on my scales. Each time I walk into a supermarket I make the wrong decisions on how to spend my money. And of course, there are sales and promotions to tempt me further. The same way, every time I give in to a takeaway craving I make a decision to use my money to put more unhealthy food into my body. I won’t just stop at a 1 person portion either, because let’s be fair here – if you compare the average price for a 1 person meal at just about any takeaway with the value for a family-size meal, it would be silly to just get the smaller meal, right?
The result? Well, first of all, obviously, I keep gaining weight. This leads to all sorts of consequences, from actual poor health, general guilt, difficulties finding sensible clothes and all the way to low self-esteem and not having the self-confidence to meet new people. But that’s not all. I also end up spending way more money on food-related matters than is reasonable. As my budgeting app starts throwing read warnings at me I also begin to feel bad for overspending. This rallies another wave of guilt, which is now starting to resemble a guilt-tsunami.
The same situation pretty much word for word applies to my other purchases. I don’t know if I would go so far as to say that I have a shopping addiction, though it’s certainly a possibility. Nevertheless, I definitely give in to the need to buy ‘stuff’ more often than not. Sometimes I randomly think of something that I imagine might improve my quality of life and I immediately go on an online hunt, throwing my money at it. Other times I will see an advert, a post, a recommendation, and suddenly I just must own that particular thing. Or perhaps I will simply walk into a store and there it will be – something I haven’t ever felt I needed, but now that it is in front of me, I absolutely must have it. After all, the media do tell me over and over that, I can buy my way out of any problem. Even if I wouldn’t openly admit to believing in that, the reality of my shopping sprees might just be proving otherwise.
Meanwhile, my cupboards at home are starting to burst. Every surface I look at is covered in random objects gathering dust. It’s not just one ‘junk drawer’ anymore, but one for each room, or one for each chest of drawers. Boxes, containers, bottoms of wardrobes, spaces under the bed etc are full of things I haven’t used in months, perhaps years, and which I likely don’t even remember owning. The mess is becoming overwhelming and the lack of space is seriously impacting my day to day life. And of course, every time I critically assess my surroundings I realise just how much money I have thrown away on useless whims and that I may be on the verge of a hoarding problem. Yet again, more money spent on effectively making my life worse instead of better. As the bank account screams of lack of funds the guilt comes back, accompanied by a plethora of other unpleasant feelings.
The weight and the mess obviously aren’t helping my mental wellbeing but this isn’t the end of the money fuelled disaster. After all, it has been perhaps a week from payday and I am already starting to realise that this month’s financial situation is no joke. The stress kicks in. Do I still have enough to pay all my bills? Am I going to end up getting a bunch of late fees… again? Will I be trying to get through the last couple of weeks on a child-size food budget, thus only being able to afford the bottom shelf often less healthy groceries? There is now no way that I will afford a gym fee, so that will obviously have to wait another month.
I already have a fair bunch of other issues I am dealing with as pretty much a daily status quo. So as I keep adding other things on top of those, the depression, anxiety and general self-disappointment start growing out of control. Eventually, there is only one solution. I am stressed, therefore I must eat! Preferably something sweet or covered in cheese. Even better – both. I might also have to buy a new set of storage boxes to hide the evidence of my shopping outbursts, and a new bigger duster because I just can’t keep up anymore.
Money is effectively what enables and fuels some of my bad habits. Those bad habits cause a chain reaction of other problems, along with financial issues. Combined, all those, cause me a lot of stress and anxiety, making my depression worse. The increasing bad mood in turn triggers more of my bad habits. And the vicious circle continues.