If you’re in debt, you’re probably terrified. Not only do you still have to manage day to day expenses and monthly bills while in debt, you might have to take out other loans as well. If you’re struggling to find a job or you’ve just had some major financial expenses, it can be really hard to get back on your feet. We live in a world where money makes everything run, and while you might just want to bury your head in your pillow and ignore the fact that you’re going into financial ruin, that’s just not feasible. Hopelessness is a common reaction while in debt, but you can’t just throw your hands up and give up the situation to fate. You have to take control of your life and work towards some kind of improvement. Here are some things you can do if you’re finding it really hard to cope with your debt.
Track Spending Habits
For whatever reason – whether you were laid off, or you faced some major expenses, or suffered some crisis – your financial situation is no longer stable. If previously you were accustomed to spending a certain amount regularly, you can no longer do that without going further into debt. Manage your problems, and start with keeping a record of your regular expenses. This will help you figure out where to cut back. For example, if you’re used to eating out every week, consider the amount of money you can save if you start eating at home. Buy cheaper groceries and use public transport. You’ll find as you track your expenses, the things that cost you the most will emerge, and you can figure out how to reduce those costs.
Work To Increase Your Income
This can be the quickest way to get out of debt. If you already have a job, consider taking on a side gig so you can make some money. Freelance, work for home, or open a small business doing whatever you’re good at: offering graphic design services, selling arts and crafts, editing, babysitting, social media managing: you name it, there’s probably a demand for it, or the possibility to create demand. If you have a job, try asking for longer/double shifts or more responsibility, or apply for a promotion. If necessary, apply for a job that offers a better salary. If it sounds horrible to have to work so much more, remember that it’s only temporary. Keep at it and you will eventually make it out of debt.
Manage/Pay Off Your Debt
People advise different methods to deal with this. Once you actually have some income, you have to tackle your debt. You can try saving up to tackle the most expensive debt first, but the debt snowball method might be more practical. In this method, you start by trying to pay off your least expensive debt, and then move upwards. This will give you a much easier starting point and you can build from there. It’s also advisable to try to discuss the matter with your loan providers. Check with your credit card company if you can have your interest rate lowered, and so on. The worst you can hear is no.
Avoid Taking On Further Debt
If you’re already drowning in debt, taking more loans and adding more expenses onto your credit cards will just make things harder for yourself.
Avoid taking on more debt as much as possible; if you’re desperately in need of money, maybe ask family or friends if they can loan you something at lower interest rates. However, it’s best to avoid taking any kind of loan until your present debt slate is clear.
Make Debt Clearance Your Primary Target
Don’t just assume that debt will go away on its own or deal with itself: it won’t. Make clearing your debt your biggest target, and give it primary importance in terms of how you structure your life. You will feel much better when your debt is cleared, and much more relaxed. Be organized and attentive to the bills you have to pay, try to cut your spending as much as possible, and focus on earning, saving, and cutting down on debt.
Being in debt can feel alienating and tiring, particularly as a woman, so remember to reach out to NGOs, financial counselors, or family and friends if you need help. This is the best time to ask for help. Don’t worry excessively and focus on the job at hand: you’ll be out of debt before you know it!