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5 Ways to Maintain Your Focus–For Free!

Guest post by Elise from

In my last guest article I shared how my husband and I felt when we completely ran out of money. Yes, it was one of the worst nights of my life, but also one of the most hopeful. It’s like they say: When you hit bottom, you’ve nowhere else to go but up!

As many of you shared in the comments after that piece we all seem to struggle with the emotions of despair, hopelessness, and fear when we’re dealing with our money. Especially when we’re first facing a crisis situation, it is nearly impossible to avoid panic.

Then there is the issue of social pressure. When I spend time around people who spend money very differently than I do, it is easy to feel smaller, judged, and belittled.

Over the past year or so I’ve discovered some personal ‘battle armor’ to protect my focus on changing the financial future of my family as well as my own sanity:

1. Online Communities, Coupon Groups, and Mom Blogs

I’ve got to start with the obvious one! We’re all here, aren’t we? On December212012®, we’re  connecting about how to get further on less and live differently with our money. Sometimes I’ve felt silly for relying so completely on online resources. But it also seems as if I more easily find ‘kindred spirits’ when I search for like-minded folks online.

2. Local Couponing Groups

In my corner of America, I subscribe to a local email newsletter that outlines local deals and specials. also offers coupon classes to church or community groups. This is a great way to meet other struggling yet hopeful families and connect over our new perspectives on finances.

3. Other Support Groups

From Alanon to and Bible study groups at church, formal community groups can offer a level of family-type-support that sometimes we don’t get from our own families when we are struggling through big changes in our money-management habits. 12-step groups can provide assistance with setting boundaries and learning better ways of dealing with family, friends, and other sources of ‘drama’ that can stress us beyond belief.

4. Mini Staycations

As mom’s, wives, husband’s, dad’s, brother’s, sister’s, we give and give and give–even in tough times. When we can’t afford that luxury latte for a 5-minute pick-me-up or a trip to the movies with our girlfriends to decompress, sometimes we start to think that we don’t have any rejuvenation options left. It’s so easy to give in to the temptation to panic and over-spend when we feel trapped and overwhelmed.

A better solution is to plan a “mini staycation” into our week an evening or lunchtime break. Brew a cup of tea, grab an encouraging book, and just breathe for a few moments.

5. Ask questions

One of the most common things I hear from my life-coach clients is how long they waited in misery and terror before they finally simply started asking around for some support. Just the action of reaching out for answers to our worries or fears puts us on track to find them!

Bottom line: Don’t assume that because we’re making new, frugal, and even squeaky-tight financial choices that our options for emotional and spiritual support are eliminated. The community spirit that can rise up when folks share honestly about their struggles is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced! We aren’t alone!

Elise Photini Adams is serving clients and audiences across the United States as the NewLife Recovery Coach, offering common-sense inspiration and transforming truths that she’s learned from over 10+ years in personal recovery from homelessness, addiction and abuse. Elise has a new Free Report entitled out now!

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  • says:

    These are great suggestions! I’ve found that I stay more focused on my financial goals when I’m regularly reading financial blogs (like this one!) Adding financial blogs to my Google Reader or subscribing my email keeps the topic before my eyes daily.

    The same tip works no matter what the subject is I want to focus on–health, fitness, or even something like fashion!

  • Samantha V. says:

    I went to read the article about when you ran out of money and the link isn’t working….

  • says:

    Great suggestions, especially “support groups.” I made the mistake of isolating myself 25 years ago when Craig and I were struggling. It was the worst thing I could of done… If only I would have had the confidence to realize we weren’t the only ones and find somebody to talk to about it. Sometimes we are our own harshest critics 🙁

    • says:

      Thanks for sharing that…I don’t know how I would have made it through some of my darkest times without others who understood. But even I ‘hid out’ for way longer than I should have! Sometimes we all need encouragement to reach out! ~E~

  • says:

    Yes, it seems that the link isn’t working. I found it, though, and here’s a link to her last guest article here on MSM:
    Hope that helps. 🙂 Amazing and inspirational-thanks for sharing!

  • says:

    And I would highly recommend the other guest post by Elise, too. There is NO doubt in my mind that God led me to read that today. I needed that today more than any day in my life, literally. Thank you for your wonderful words, Elise.

  • Victoria says:

    Where can I find your “free report”? Thanks in advance for your time. Be Blessed.

  • Tyler S. says:

    Don’t forget to just take some time to sit back, and be thankful for what you DO have. The budget might be stretched to its limit, maybe quite a bit over its limit, but we all still have reasons to be thankful – family and friends.

    I’ve only recently seen the Celebrate Recovery program at work here locally, and it really is a great place to find help!

  • says:

    Elise –

    Your post could not be any more timely for me. I recently left the father of my children after 14 years (off and on). He was abusive and controlling, and we had a horrible relationship that I stayed in only for the sake of our children.

    I am now a single mom of 4 boys, and have nearly no money. I was a stay-at-home mom, and part of his control was to be in charge of all the household finances. I am currently selling everything I can think of (TVs, furniture, etc.) to cover our monthly bills until I can find employment. We had no savings, and he provided the sole income for our family.

    I should be depressed, frustrated, feeling hopeless, and completely “freaking out” at this point, but I’m not. I know that things will work out for us. I am determined to do whatever I need to do, and I know that my boys and I are much better off without the negativity and abuse that we had grown accustomed to.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for showing me that things can get better.

    • says:

      What a truly touching story…thank YOU for sharing with us. I’ve been there and understand what you are talking about, in so many ways. Less than 5 years ago I was in the same position. It’s amazing but now I’m actually grateful for those really, REALLY tough times…they showed me how God provides AND how strong I really am. I’ll be praying for you! ~Elise~

  • says:

    My financial goals always end up somewhere in the air during the first of the year. We go to a convention, and then it’s time to settle in to the goals and the delights that we’ve got planned for the new year. We worry about getting chided by our friends because we’re focused on keeping the money flowing for the new year – and it’s gotten to the point where we just don’t care anymore what they think. Thank you for these ideas! Connection is one of the most important things that a person can do.

  • Heather says:

    I love the suggestion of the staycation. My husband and I decided that every night after all 4 kids are in bed the tv goes off and so does the phone. We share a cup of tea and what we are most thankful for. It has helped us to focus on the blessings in our life and now the money stuff is not that overwhelming. In the end we know that God will always provide what we need and the things we go through are to teach us a lesson.
    For background we just went through a foreclourse and my battle with cancer which we are winning. Things are always better when you look up and out.
    Thank you for sharing your story because it really put things in perspective for me when I was really going through the rough time. ( I read your first article here when we were in the middle of everything.)

    • says:

      Love your take on the ‘staycation’ 🙂 What a wonderful connecting opportunity your hubby and you have created! I think I might implement this myself 🙂

  • says:

    I loved this! We live in a very affluent area and almost everyone we know has much, much more disposable income than we do (which is pretty much none). It’s too easy to focus on what we don’t have when surrounded by others who have so much. But that’s counter-productive and only leads to feelings of depression. I’ve been working on developing a thankful and grateful heart; literally counting my blessings. It helps a lot!

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