Here are a few money management tips for those who have, or suspect that they might have, a gambling problem.
Limit your control
In some situations, it might be best for you to actually hand over the reins to someone else. Of course, this must be a trustworthy person that you know will handle the responsibility well, and also someone that will be able to resist your pleas for money (and your clever lies) when you are going through especially rough patches and is really itching to gamble.
Block transactions to gambling sites
Some banks, including Barclays, Starling and Monzo, can put a block on your account that prevents transactions to known gambling sites. Contact your bank for more information.
Do you know exactly what you need to pay your fixed bills each month? Sit down and make a budget. Write down all your fixed costs – such as rent, car payments, insurance, phone plan, internet plan, etc.
Then, see if there is anything your can remove or decrease. If you are struggling financially, maybe its time to give up those magazine subscriptions and the super fancy cable package?
Next, take a look at what you spend on non-fixed costs and see what you can improve there.
Pay down your debts
This probably feels scary, but you need to sit down and take a look at exactly how much money you owe and to whom.
A debt management advisor can help you create a repayment plan. You might need to prioritize your credits. First and foremost, make sure you don’t get evicted form your home. Everything will be much more difficult, and costly, to manage if you don’t have a fixed abode. Therefore, paying your rent/mortgage is extremely important. (You might want to look for somewhere cheaper to live, but a move should be carried out in an orderly fashion and not because you are being kicked out from your home tomorrow.)
In some situations, debt consolidation is your best move – especially if you have a lot of small high-interest credits that can be converted into one larger loan with a lower interest rate. Also, having only one or a few repayments to make each month is easier than juggling dozens of them.
Find inexpensive ways to reward yourself when you reach your goals
Rewarding yourself when you reach a goal (attending your first Gamblers Anonymous meeting, contacting a debt counselor, going one week without gambling, paying off that credit card, etc) can be important, but if you are struggling financially, you need to find inexpensive ways of doing it – that still feels like a reward.
It is very easy to get stuck in a mindset where we think that only things that cost quite a lot of money can be enjoyable. This mindset is something that is strongly promoted by pretty strong forces around us every day – the idea that we need to spend big bucks to have fun and enjoy life.
A good exercise is, therefore, to sit down and compile a list of rewards that cost nothing or very little. Activites that you can do nearby, things that don’t require you to splash out on new fancy equipment, and so on. You might no be able to fly out to hike in the Alps, but maybe there is actually a pretty nice piece of nature nearby that is accessible by local bus or even by a brisk walk? You might not be able to afford a swanky dinner out, but maybe you could watch a YouTube tutorial about how to cook something exotic from seasonal ingredients that are cheap this time of year?