Debt sucks. There’s no sugarcoating this dilemma. Ranging from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands owed to someone or some organization, financial debt hangs around your neck like an albatross. And no matter how many times you try to pull the bird off of you it seems to get heavier when something else comes along that pushes you further away from becoming debt free.
I’m currently in this situation. Thanks to poor monetary decisions in my past and a few recent emergencies I feel the extra weight of my debt every time I work on the household budget. For many years I felt there was no hope in getting through this massive pile of owed money; however, today I feel there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. All it takes is a change of attitude, both emotionally and financially, and a passion to achieve my dreams. Here’s the advice I can give to you to help you see the light at the end of the financial tunnel.
1. Stay calm. Panicking doesn’t do you any good when it comes to financial debt as it eventually can lead to more poor financial decisions. For instance, you may take out a high-interest debt consolidation loan or decide to stop payments on a few items. These options can lead to even more debt and damage to your credit rating.
2. Be patient. Your debt isn’t going to disappear in a week. It may take several months or even years to pay off your last credit card depending on how much extra money you put toward the effort. In the end, think of your debt elimination as a marathon instead of a sprint.
3. Be positive. Constant thoughts about the debt and how it will never be paid off can open up a chasm of despair that may lead you to a more fragile emotional state in general. Develop a more positive attitude about your financial situation by implementing the first two suggestions.
4. Map it out. We’ve said it before … listing your debts from smallest to largest gives you a better sense of where you are. By doing this you may be able to pay off some of your smaller debts immediately, thus easing the pressure you feel.
5. Set a deadline. Another thing that may make you see the light at the end of the tunnel is a self-imposed deadline to pay off your debt. The caveat here is to not set a unattainable finish. For example, if you have $50,000 in debt and only make $30,000 a year, setting a deadline to pay it all off in three months is probably not a good idea. Place the deadline as far in the future as possible. Not only does this give you the proper period of time to get your finances in order, but it will make you feel good when you make the last payment ahead of schedule.