Financial problems can take a toll on anyone. The stress and worry of not being able to make ends meet, pay bills on time, or save for the future can be overwhelming. But the impact of financial problems extends far beyond your bank account. In fact, financial stress can have a significant impact on your mental health.

A series of consecutive interest rate hikes implemented to rein in spiralling inflation is putting pressure on consumers with long-term debt like home loans and vehicle finance under greater pressure. A number of banks have in recent weeks reported an increase in impairment charges as a growing number of home loan consumers struggle to make repayments on their home loans.

A recent TransUnion report reveals that one out of every three South African households say they are not able to pay their monthly bills and loan instalments in full while a quarter reported a decrease in household income as a result of either job loss or wage cuts. 

Mental health issues as a result of financial difficulty


Financial problems can cause a great deal of worry and stress, which can lead to anxiety. When you’re constantly worrying about money, it can be hard to focus on anything else. You may find yourself feeling tense, irritable, or restless, and you may have trouble sleeping.


Financial problems can also contribute to feelings of depression. When you’re struggling to make ends meet or pay off debt, it can feel like there’s no way out. You may feel hopeless, helpless, and like you’re never going to get ahead.

Shame and guilt

Many people feel ashamed or guilty when they’re facing financial problems. They may feel like they’ve failed in some way or that they’re not living up to expectations. This can lead to feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth.

Relationship problems

Financial problems can also take a toll on your relationships. Money is one of the most common sources of conflict in relationships, and when there’s not enough of it to go around, tensions can run high. This can lead to arguments, resentment, and even the breakdown of relationships.

Physical health problems

Financial stress can also have an impact on your physical health. Chronic stress has been linked to a range of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and digestive problems.

Parents struggling to pay school fees

Many parents are also struggling to pay school fees. The cost of education – both at government and private schools – is rising with fee hikes in 2023 ranging between 4% and 6%. Estimations are that this trend is not likely to change any time soon with education inflation expected to continue to outpace the Consumer Price Index by up to 3%. The bad news for parents already struggling with the cost-of-living crisis is that the cost of education is expected to ultimately exceed salary inflation.

It’s not only school fees that add to the cost of education, but also all the additional costs that need to be factored in during a child’s educational journey: uniforms, books, sports equipment, and school trips and tours, amongst others.

TPN Credit Bureau says that more than 40% of school fee accounts were in arrears at the end of 2022. Even more concerning, TPN says 25% of parents did not make any sort of payment at all towards outstanding school fees.

If you’re experiencing financial problems and you’re worried about the impact on your mental health, there are steps you can take to reduce your stress levels. These might include seeking professional help, creating a budget, and finding ways to increase your income or reduce your expenses.

An initiative to help with paying school fees

School-Days is an innovative rewards and incentives programme that helps parents pay for their children’s school fees by shopping with partner merchants known as School-Days Earn Partners, while still earning their normal retailer loyalty points.

While the initiative started with the idea of raising funds by earning Edu-Time Points (ETPs), to help families pay towards their family’s school, college and university fees, the focus of the programme has subsequently been extended to give the public the opportunity to assist others. As a result, Edu-Time Points can now be used to support up to two South African schools of the shopper’s choice as beneficiaries; support disadvantaged schools by choosing the non-profit Adopt-a-School Foundation; or, as originally intended, use their Edu-Time Points (ETPs) to pay towards their child’s school, college or university fees.

In conclusion, financial problems can have a significant impact on your mental health. From anxiety and depression to shame and guilt, the stress of financial problems can take a toll on your well-being. But with the right support and resources, it’s possible to manage your finances and reduce your stress levels, improving your overall health and happiness.