Drowning, Financially


Unfortunately, too many people feel like they are drowning financially. The monthly bills and debt payment statements seem to keep piling up and up with no end in sight. Stress is a constant companion as you struggle just to breathe. Perhaps you have lived this way so long you don't remember any other way. Let me assure you, there is hope.


Despite the panic that you may constantly feel, the first step you can take to stop drowning is to tell yourself that you can get out of this situation. Believing in an outcome is one of the most important steps toward achieving it. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey describes how effective people begin with the end in mind. They believe the outcome they strive for is possible even before they begin.


Once you have taken a few deep breaths and believe you can get out of this situation, you first need to ensure you and your family survive. Sit down, and begin to write out a plan for your spending for the month. First, write down your expected income in total. This is what you have to work with. Then, set up line item categories for your basic necessities:

  1. Food

  2. Shelter

  3. Utilities

  4. Transportation

Take some time to do this. You likely won't have the "right" numbers on this first draft, and that is just fine. At long last, you are using your energy to swim closer to shore rather than continue to survive flailing around in the middle of deep water.


Sit with your new starter budget for some time. Let it sink in. Allow yourself to know that, now, you can survive for the next month. You can put food on the table. The lights and water won't get shut off. You won't be evicted for missing the rent payment. Finally, you may feel some solid earth beneath your feet.


While you aren't completely safe yet, you will have made an incredible start toward that end. At least now it shouldn't be a constant struggle just to breathe. Relish this feeling for a time. Soon it will be time to continue getting out of the water.