How to Do Life on a Tight Budget with Endometriosis
A chronic illness like endometriosis has life-sabotaging effects. These can feel especially strong when it comes to our finances. Our physical symptoms define the way we work. Most employers don’t quite understand what we need to be able to grow at work. Even period leave, something that has made headlines recently, is still light years away from being a reality to most of us. The same goes for working from home. While the pandemic has resulted in many working remotely, I wonder whether this is just a trend for the now, rather than a positive movement forward.
For many endometriosis patients, the professional environment is not welcoming enough. This can result in our earnings can be lower than average. In my case, I am my own boss, working from my home due to my health for many years now. Time and again, I’ve proven I can do fulfill deadlines and be as productive as anyone working in an office, either independently, or working as part of a team. I’ve done all of this from my own flat.
However, this does not mean I am making loads of money. In fact, it’s completely the opposite. This is why I have become quite used to living on a tight budget.
Using a spreadsheet prevents headaches
Due to my limited income, I have become the kind of person who uses spreadsheets to manage my income. I categorize every expense, and the spreadsheet calculates my monthly totals. It helps me juice my earnings and know when I have to cut back on certain expenses. The best thing is how, since knowing how much money goes in and out helps monthly, I've kept my anxiety about money at bay. I may not be earning as much as I’d like, but I feel in control knowing where my money has gone.
Learning about finances can feel life-changing
Another thing that gives me a sense of control is knowing more about finances. I found books like You’re Not Broke, You’re Pre-Rich by Emilie Bellet, very helpful. Written in a readable style, it explains everything to do with money, whether savings, mortgages, loans, and the stock market. While I still don’t earn enough money to buy a house or make any big investments, I have a plan.
Meal planning beats ordering food
While ordering food can feel life-saving when suffering from a flare-up, the costs soon add up. I now plan what I eat, prepare bigger portions that can be kept in the fridge or freezer, and simply reheated when I’m hungry. This simplifies my life and keeps costs down.
I've learned that getting anxious about money doesn't help
While money worries are completely rational, it helps not to dwell on this side of our lives. I go through periods of life in which I earn very little, and worrying about this, can impact my quality of sleep. Anxiety does not work as a motivator, or a means to find more work or cash. In fact, it is detrimental to my help. This is why during harsh times I turn to running, meditating, talking to my therapist, or whatever works to lighten that side of my life. I stay in the now and give myself permission to breathe.
If everything fails, help is available
When our ability to work is deeply impacted by our health, it is worth looking into how our local government categorizes disability. Many of us go through life unaware of grants or monetary aid we could be entitled to. Researching this can only bring peace of mind.
Currently, my earnings are so limited I am barely making rent. I live in a small studio flat with leaks and humidity issues. While this is not ideal, I always make sure there is decent coffee in my cupboards, baked cookies on my kitchen counter, and easy meals in the freezer. I’m a big fan of inexpensive joys because they allow me to feel comforted, and zero guilt.
Life with endometriosis can become quite challenging sometimes, and any money worries can add so much anxiety to our existence. But it is important to remember that nothing lasts forever and that there is always, something that can be done to make things a little easier, no matter how small.
Do you know someone that has made a difference with endometriosis advocacy?