Over 30% of people in Australia are experiencing money concerns which are often linked to an increase in anxiety, depression or relationship problems. It can be particularly tough when you are a student trying to make ends meet, balance study with work and possibly living away from home or living in Australia for the first time.
Some common signs that might indicate financial stress is impacting on your mental health include:
- Income does not cover expenditure on a regular basis.
- Worrying a lot or feeling anxious about your finances
- Finding it harder to make financial decisions
- Avoiding dealing with your finances and leaving bills unopened or not paying them
- Feelings of shame or embarrassment and withdrawing from others
- Skipping meals and cutting back on essentials like prescription medicines
- Feelings of guilt about spending money on non-essential items
- Difficulty sleeping, headaches and general tiredness when thinking about financial situation
- Fear of now being able to pay the rent or afford a safe place to live free from abuse
- Struggling to ask for help
- Impulse buying to relieve the stress.
- Avoiding or having difficulty talking to essential service providers to get a better deal or negotiate debt
- Increased debt from credit cards, short term loans or buy now pay later schemes
- Receiving legal action from an infringement notice or debt collector and choosing to ignore it
Here are some tips to deal with concerns about financial stress and improve your overall mental wellbeing if you are struggling:
- Identify the problem/s: While it may be a bit daunting or painful initially, taking stock of your finances can help you start to regain control over your situation and help you prioritise or make some decisions.
- Develop a budget and track daily expenditure: There are many easy-to-use tools and resources on the MoneySmart website which can help you take control of your monies.
- Identify spending patterns and triggers: Once you are aware of your triggers you can try to find healthier ways of coping.
- Look to make small changes: finding small ways to reduce your daily expenditure such as bringing your own lunch to Uni or work, can really help to free up extra cash to pay off bills.
- Speak to someone you trust: This could be a friend or family member or seek professional help from a counsellor. Remember a problem shared is a problem halved.
- Go easy on yourself: As your review your debts, spending habits and situation, remember anyone can have financial stress/difficulties, but you are choosing to do something about it.
- Make an appointment with a Financial Counsellor at La Trobe. Free, confidential financial counselling is available to all students. No matter too small and an appointment is available via phone/zoom or face to face in Bundoora.
To make an appointment, visit our Financial Counselling webpage.