Debt doesn’t have to be scary. Manage your money and nerves with these finance tips.
Managing your finances can be very stressful. For many of who are stifled by debt, the day-to-day anxiety can be crippling. Some days it may feel like no matter how hard you work, you may never see the end of it.
No one likes to feel out-of-control of their financial situation. But debt doesn’t have to be this scary monkey perpetually hanging over your back.
Finances got you in a fret? Here are six tips to help you manage your debt anxiety.
Understand How You Got Here
Debt is a slippery slope. A slow-rolling snowball that is hard to stop once it gains momentum. The best way to take control? Recognize how that snowball became a boulder.
Take a step back and understand how you got here. Was it a loss of income? Poor decision-making? Financial ignorance? Whatever may have led you to your current situation, it’s imperative to recognize how you got here if you have any hope of accepting and overcoming your outstanding balance.
Review Your Finances
Once you recognize the part you and external factors played in getting you to where you are today, it’s time to start crunching numbers. Obviously, this is likely to be a trigger— if you had a way out of debt, you wouldn’t be so stressed out. But ignoring the debt will only keep those emotions bottled and will likely boil over at the slightest reminder (a past due bill, a collection call).
Review all of your finances and debts. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a grand audit of yourself. Just tangible documentation of what you take in and what you owe.
If you don’t already, start making a monthly budget. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a grand audit of yourself. Look for places where cuts can be made or funds that can be better used elsewhere.
Make A Plan And Track Progress
Trying to claw your way out of debt can be dizzying. But now that you have your finances organized, it’s time to make a plan to chip away at it.
Write out all of your own debts and make a payment plan for each outstanding bill. Organize your debts by priority. Which debts have the heaviest hit on your credit? Which have higher interest rates?
If you are unsure or the thought of calculating interest scares you, organize your debt by dollar amount and start with the smaller ones first. Zeroing out one card or outstanding bill can feel like a gigantic weight off your shoulders and can help you realize you can overcome your debts.
Track your progress and celebrate milestones. Sometimes debt can seem holistic, but it’s not all or nothing. All progress is good progress and you should be celebrated for trying.
Improve Your Financial Literacy
Ignorance of proper money management is what gets most people into debt. Now would be a good time to fill in those gaps in your knowledge so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.
There are many easy things you can do to improve your financial literacy such as reading a book or subscribing to a financial journal. Listening to a podcast is an option if reading isn’t your jam. If you really want to take your money management game to the next level, take a financial literacy course or seek out external help in the form of an advisor or counselor.
Practice Things That Boost Your Mental Health
Life is stressful enough without factoring in finances. Whenever you are overwhelmed with financial anxiety, take a break and detach. Practice things that improve your mental health. This could come in the form of healthy eating, exercise, a comfort movie or meditation.
Remember what is most important to you. Money is not the end-all-be-all a lot of people make it out to be. Of course having it makes life a lot easier. But Happiness existed long before currency. Focus on what makes you happy.
Realize You’re Not Alone
According to CNBC, the average American is around $90K in debt. Yes, you read that correctly.
And while that may stem from a much larger issue (which I’m not getting into), the meaning behind mentioning it remains the same: you’re not the only one in debt.
I know debt can seem like a personal failure, but it’s truly not all on you. The overwhelming majority of the country is in debt. Hell, the country itself is trillions of dollars and debt, yet it finds a way to go on business-as-usual day after day.
Take a breath. You’ve lived this far with it. You can live with it a little longer until you find a plan that works for you.