It is safe to say that when people are short on cash they might be less productive at work, be worse parents, and have less self-control.[i]

―Sendhil Mullainathan

Heal Those Money Wounds

An annoying skin rash that was not responding to Aloe Vera or Benadryl caused me concern. I picked up the phone and made an appointment to see my primary care physician. As I expected, this wasn’t serious. Still, two prescriptions were written before I exited the building.

“Take the pills as directed and apply the ointment and the problem should clear up in a couple days,” the doc said.

Well, okay. I like simple, easy-to-do remedies. That got me thinking. There’s medicine to heal lots of physical ailments, but is there medicine for money problems, too?

Medicine for Money Wounds

Medicine for money troubles might not come measured in a small bottle, or an ointment tube, but curing a financial mess sure does improve one’s quality of life. And it’s wonderful to know we don’t even need insurance approval to get started! We alone authorize the treatment plan. See yourself as the ER doctor on call.

Any competent doctor would first need an informed diagnosis. What is causing the financial strain? On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being very bad, how acute is your pain? Has help been sought at an early stage or have money troubles gotten so bad that you are on life support?

If married, consult your spouse so you are both moving forward with a cure in mind. The wound will need cleaning out. That happens as we honestly and humbly expose how much money comes in . . . and how much goes out. A spreadsheet listing income and expenses will help you uncover, and visualize, the source of your financial pain.

Once the underlying issues surface, the wound is open to the light. The next step is to figure out how money that is being recklessly spent now can be redirected. Is it possible to downsize to achieve financial health? What can be sold? Is there a habit to give up or a supplementary source of income to explore?

Money Wounds Sabotage Financial Health

Some of us don’t realize how easy it is to sabotage financial health. Christmas, for instance, is a season of gift giving. It is also an emotional place where people allow the joy of giving to destroy a family’s spending plan. As the season approaches, determine to emerge on December 26th in good financial health. One way to overcome this saboteur is to be realistic about how much can be spent on gifts without needing a trip to the financial ER later. Better yet, why not see today’s spending as a personal choice, a gift we give ourselves, that either robs from or shores up tomorrow?

One of the best presents you can give your family this Christmas is to heal those money wounds.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 1 Timothy 6:17 NIV

[i] Why Is Saving So Hard?, Sendhil Mullainathan interviewed by Susie Poppick, Money Magazine December 2013