Most people who have filed for bankruptcy understand the feelings of angst and dread that accompany the weeks and months before you make the decision to file.
Eventually, the walk to the mailbox becomes an exercise in personal bravery and the sound of the phone is like a bomb going off inside your psyche, sending shards of guilt-shrapnel into your chest. It can be a painful, daily challenge that can wreak as much physical damage as mental.
The feelings caused by severe debt, generate stress hormones in your body, similar to the "fight or flight response." (Which is why you often become so angry at collection agents.) As the stress accumulates, it can actually cause damage to the heart, immune system, your memory and digestive tract.
A scientist-led phone poll determined that people who carry a higher level of debt-related stress have a much greater chance of suffering severe headaches and migraines than those with far lower levels of financial worry. The rate of difference was 44 percent.
Ulcers and increased nausea are also factors indicative of high-levels of debt related stress.
What can also lead to physical health problems is the way people eat when stressed. Fast food restaurants, where low prices meet high calorie counts, become proverbial therapy centers for the financially distraught. And, in the midst of a difficult, historic recession, the largest food chains are doing all they can to attract the budget conscience and food-weary, sending the value menu message across the airwaves, billboards and magazine stands of America as quick as you can say "Super-size it."
But thankfully, it appears as if America isn't getting the message. Analysts have found that fast food sales are sliding into the fryer as more of us stay at home, out of work and focused on family. In fact, grocery store chains are seeing increased profits because, as one industry analyst put it, people are "turning on their ovens again."
Shopping for and planning meals is one of the best ways to ensure your health and save money in the midst of a financial crisis. The more time you take to consider what you are consuming, the more conscious you will be about it how it affects your system.
Nevertheless, the fast food giants will be working hard in the New Year to earn back your Kroger money, for example:
- McDonalds will be unrolling the Mac Snack Wrap, which is essentially a Big Mac in a tortilla. It will also push $1 Sausage McMuffins and 12-ounce coffee. (It should be noted that it's about time we got back to the $1 cup of coffee.)
- Despite a lawsuit from franchise owners over the profit-depleting $1 double cheeseburger, Burger King will continue to sell it until further notice. It is also testing in some markets something called The Little Enormous Sandwich, a breakfast option with egg, sausage, cheese, hash browns and ... wait for it ... bacon. It's also dishing out a $1 chicken sandwich and will go after it's biggest rival's EggMcMuffin with the $1 BK Breakfast Muffin.
- Oh, and Taco Bell, whose ignorance of the food pyramid is almost stunning, will unveil an 89-cent Beefy 5-Layer Burrito and then the Five Bucks Box with four food items and a medium drink. It also has several breakfast (Taco Bell in the morning!?) items for under a $1.
We can certainly understand the lure of a cheap meal when the money just isn't there. But there is simply no dollar amount that can match the value of your well being, especially when your family needs you most. The combination of terrible food and debt-related stress will only lead to you filing for bankruptcy because of medical debt instead of just credit card debt.
Take care of yourself, physically and financially.
Brought to you by the North Carolina bankruptcy experts: The Law Offices of John T. Orcutt. Call 1-888-234-4181 to schedule your free initial debt consultation today. Offices in Raleigh, Wilson, Fayetteville and Durham.