A budget is a physical thing, visible on a computer screen or a ledger page. There are categories, numerical figures, and calculations. Reminders and alerts pop up on your budgeting software when a bill or other payment is due. Everything is right there in black and white for you to see. Or, in some cases, black and red.
Done right, a budget is more than just a physical object — it’s a medicine. A 2005 study revealed that 43% of those surveyed experienced some form of health-related issue due to financial stress, These included ailments such as stress, anxiety, migraines, and high blood pressure. Severe financial difficulties can also lead to graver situations like suicide. The creation of a budget, even though it may show more debt than profit, may help ease some of the conditions associated with financial dilemmas. Here are a few ways a budget can help medicinally as well as financially.
Reduce or Manage Stress. In situations where spending seems to be out of control, not being able to see the money coming and going can ramp up stress levels. By creating a budget and populating it with all the income and expenses, there is something real to look at. It may not greatly reduce the amount stress felt, but it could refocus it into something more constructive.
Ease Depression. One of the things that causes depression is the lack of the neurotransmitter known as serotonin. Biochemically produced from tryptophan, the release of serotonin produces a calming effect on an individual. The stress of a financial dilemma combined with an almost obsessive review of the problem on a regular basis can halt the production of this chemical, leading to depression. It may not be an actual cure, but the creation of a budget can ease some of that depression by giving one a sense of the entire situation. This easing of depression can help with the next item.
Clear Thinking. Reviewing your past monetary mistakes over and over can fog your thought process and stop you from coming up with a viable solution. Putting everything down on paper may help defog an individual’s brain and give them a better sense of how to resolve the financial situation they’re currently in. As the debt begins to come down and income rises, the sharper an individual’s thoughts can become on how to become financially stable.
Losing Weight. Those who are stressed or depressed may turn to comfort foods to help get them through their financial mess. Unfortunately, many of these comfort foods are processed and high in fat, cholesterol, and calories. The regular consumption of these items can lead to weight gain, which puts extra stress into an already tense environment. The establishment of a visible budget can lead to the reduction or stabilization of these stressful conditions and result in a reduction of fatty food consumption. In addition, a healthier budget makes some want to make themselves healthier as well, with the outcome being a larger weight loss.