Any one of us can face financial hardships in our lives, regardless of being born well-off or not. College students are notorious for their financial struggles—eating ramen noodles and staying home because they can’t afford to hang out—but it affects each of us some time in our lives.
I don’t come from a fabulously wealthy family. I was taught that you had to work for everything you want. As a result, I have self-limiting beliefs about money; my ability to make it and have it. That as a result sometimes causes anxiety and panic when I talk or think about and have to handle my money.
During my senior year of high school, I managed to save about five thousand dollars in a year for college. My first year, I paid off one unsubsidized loan and paid down another. After that I had the dream of studying abroad for a full year but due to out of pocket costs, I decided to spend only a semester abroad. My savings would have covered the housing costs but then unexpected setbacks occurred.
I got sick for four months. That caused me to shell out more money, and on top of that, my tuition rose. Things were looking grim until I received a scholarship for studying abroad that helped tremendously and allowed me to use my savings for daily living. I drained my savings to ten dollars by the time I returned from Greece. With medical bills, daily living expenses, and now having to find an apartment off campus, it sometimes feels like the walls are closing in.
This isn’t to say that I don’t have family support but most of my family members are struggling just the same as I am, so what they can do for me financially is little and I wouldn’t want to be more of a burden on them.
Not having money or having very little of it with big expenses can be emotionally draining, and there were and aretimes I cry or get frustrated and feel as if it’s the end of the world, but along the way, I’ve dealt with managing my anxiety and frustration.
1. Utilize a gratitude journal to save your life.
Have you ever looked for something and you never find it until you stop looking for it? Gratitude is similar to that. When we focus on what we lack, we can’t focus on what we have. Sometimes just writing down and seeing all that you actually have can ease your spirit on what you lack. We are all equally blessed and favored by the highest. Depending on what you believe, the Universe or God or whatever else, has given you exactly what you need as of now. If you needed what you lack, you would have already acquired it or it would have at least made a way. It is known the more grateful you are the more that will have.
Just like the Isaac Hayes song says, “If you feel like you wanna scream, cause that’s your way of lettin’ off steam, scream on, scream on.”
Sometimes you just gotta let it out. Scream, cry, kick, run, draw, write, vent or make use of whatever healthy ways you can to let out the tension inside of you. Just do it! For me, I like listening to music and walking. I like to move to the music, and if I’m feeling particularly upset, just moving around in general helps me feel better. Whatever allows you to release your pent up emotions, do it. Sometimes just a gratitude list may not be able to cut it, so do what feels right as long as it’s healthy.
3. Stand strong, know better.
If nothing else. Stay strong. Sometimes, there is nothing else we can do but stand and brace ourselves for the storm. Not only does it truly let us know what we can and can’t handle, it makes us stronger people. You’ll be surprised at how much you can manage with what little you have until the next pay day and it also encourages you to seek out ways to use your money more wisely.
I now read books like Broke Millennial by Erin Lowery, You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero, and Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. A year ago I would have never had done it unless I had to go through times such as this. I’m learning now, so that I won’t have to face the same issue later on.
Don’t make the mistake of having to face the same lesson over and over again but know better to do better.