Assessing the Financial Costs of Using
Money is a resource we use to obtain the things we need to live our lives. Money management is the process we use to create how we relate to money.
Money spent to fund our addiction competes with money needed to pay for our current financial obligations and save for future needs.
How much money have you spent to fund your addiction?
A step we can take to begin building a secure financial future is to become aware of how much money we have spent financing our substance-use habit. Then we can reflect on how financing the habit competed with having enough money to support our basic living needs.
Costs vary depending on the severity of the use pattern and the types of substances used.
Factors that can influence financial costs related to a substance-use habit include:
- What was the amount of money spent to purchase the substance(s) of choice and the supplies to use?
- Is there a legal problem?
- Was there an arrest?
- What was the type of charge? – Manufacturing, distributing, possession of legal or illegal substance(s), quantity of use leading to illegal limits of impairment.
- Were the charges dropped or reduced?
- Have there been previous arrests or convictions?
- What were the attorney fees, court fees and fines?
- What are the time costs?
- How much time was spent obtaining the substance and what was the dollar value of that time?
- What were the other time costs?
- Hours in court
- Hours meeting with attorney
- Hours lost using alternative transportation
- Hours in community service
- Hours incarcerated
- Hours in class or treatment
- What were the costs for personal health issues related to using?
- What was the amount of loss of income due to using?
- If there was a violation while in a vehicle, what was the increase in auto insurance?
- What was the cost of damage to other people or to property?
- What are the costs related to treatment and/or recovery?
Financial costs of consequences from using substances increases with repeated offenses. While the costs associated with a substance-use problem may have consumed a lot of money in the past, today is a new day. We can begin to do things today to create income and spend money in ways that allow us to have enough money for the things that are important to us.