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5 Steps that Will Help You Cope with Your Debt

5 Steps that Will Help You Cope with Your Debt

There is an old saying that goes something like this “He who goes borrowing, goes sorrowing”, and I couldn’t agree more. In the good old days, borrowing was considered the last resort for a person in need, but nowadays it seems that everybody has some sort of debt, no matter how small. Our society is built upon the idea of credits and loans and the more you take, the more you need. The more you have, the more you want. And no matter what we do, we end up paying the price, sometimes for years. Chances are that at some point, some fancy guy in a suit will knock on your door and take everything you have. Luckily, all problems have solutions. So in order to get out of debt, or at least limit your debt, there are 5 steps that must be taken.

Step #1: Make Your Problems Your Priorities

It doesn’t matter if you work for a minimum wage or earn a decent living. With all these temptations, it is hard to stop getting loans and credits. The truth is that debts have become a normal part of our lives according to recent studies, and we are more often than not tempted to take on more than we can handle.

And although there is nothing more rewarding than standing on your own two feet, it is hard to do it with no debt whatsoever. College life is expensive, so you choose a student loan. Then, you want your own apartment or house, you get married, you have kids, you need cars and a change into the household appliances every now and then. And many people don’t get rich overnight, nor do they win the lottery or land on a gold mine. So credits and loans are the only solution to lead a normal life, like everyone else. But unless you want to spend the rest of your life paying interest, and worrying about your overdo payment, you have to take steps to dissolving your debt. Make the clearing of all your unresolved financial issues a top priority, and no matter what interference might occur, stick to your plan.

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Step #2: Stop Spending Your Money on Useless Stuff

It isn’t easy to embrace the frugal lifestyle, but nowadays there are so many resources and living examples of people who did it and who are living a care-free life, that you can’t be scared of trying it yourself. You know the saying “less is more”, so try applying it in your own life. Do you really need to buy all the junk you find in stores? I know you love chocolate, and you’re craving for a dinner out in the town, but you should focus on things that actually matter if you ever want to start moving forward. And it’s not a matter of giving up, it is a matter of simply clearing that cloudy sky and making a difference in your lifestyle, by creating balance. Balance leads to well-being.

Plus, you’d be amazed at how much money you can save if you put a little effort into it. Here is an idea to experiment: every time you go into the supermarket, try to think if you really need a certain item, and if you don’t, put the amount of money you would have spent on it somewhere else. Check that little deposit in a few weeks. And smile.

Step #3: Dealing with the Reality of Debt

If you accepted the fact that you have a debt problem and that you have to stop spending money on things that lack importance, the next step is to actually deal with the reality of debt. This means understanding the fact that although the bank may be offering you loans and credits for personal needs or for business needs, it certainly does not hold back from taking it all away when payments are not made in time. You go from wanting it all to losing even the little you had.

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There are many online resources and finance blogs that can advise you how exactly to deal with your debt in your country and which debt tools to make use of. In Australia, for example, debtconsolidation.com.au shows us that consolidation tools such are repayment are the most preferred ones. A repayment plan of your home loan would look like this:

    In other countries, people prefer to make one big loan, so they can cover all the other small ones.The most important focus of this strategy is that you will no longer risk missing payments and getting into more problems, because there is only one big problem that you have to worry about. It might sound a bit harsh, but having just one problem to deal with can be a life saver.

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    Step #4: Write Everything Down, Keep a Check List and Open a Savings Account

    It may not sound like the best advice, but writing down all your costs and profits will significantly help you manage your money. How exactly, you might wonder? It is simple: if you are diligent, and never forget to write everything in a notebook, you will be able to make a grand total at the end of the month/week, and see exactly what it is that is burning a hole through your pockets. To add more, try keeping things organized in a check list, so that you know what is a must and what can be saved for later. Organizing your spending budget is a key part in preventing new unwanted debts.

    Remember, we want to deal with each problem at a time, so preventing unwanted problems is also a smart way of living. Each time you managed to do something, even if it is just a simple action as to giving back some borrowed money, check list it. But what about holidays and expenses? Well, open up a savings account. Be it for Easter, Christmas, or other holidays and birthdays. It’s better to plan ahead. So if you want to spend some money, but not over do it, then this is the answer. Wondering what to do and where to “cut” from, so you can save money? Scroll up to Step 1 and read the experiment suggestion again and then come back to Step 5. Now you know where to start.

    Additional Pieces of Advice

    1. Never Give Up

    It takes a few weeks to get into serious debts, but you might be paying for this mistake your entire life. Nevertheless, if you have found yourself in a truly dire situation, where everything looks as though it could come crashing down in the blink of an eye, try to remain calm. Put your patience hat on, stay strong, and try to make the best out of what you have.

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    2. Stay Positive

    Optimism is the key to give peace to our minds. Nothing good will come out of stressing yourself. Remember that important lesson in math class: every problem has a solution. Stay focused and find it through creative realistic ways. But before that, keep your mind sane, so that it functions to its full potential.

    3. Carefully Choose Your Words and Your Actions

    Think, before talking and acting. Your actions can have side effects on your happiness and on the happiness of your dear ones. There are so many people who are consumed by their financial issues and still fail to understand that money does not bring happiness and luckily, there still are plenty of things money can’t buy.

    Word of advice: never joke around or say “I am forever in your debt” to a bank representative. He might take your word on that one.

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    Roxana Nasoi

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    Published on September 17, 2018

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

    With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

    So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

    1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

    It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

    You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

    So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

    2. When you want something big, wait

    Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

    It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

    We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

    A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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    So, you get the itch.

    You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

    Here’s where you have to take a step back.

    Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

    Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

    It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

    The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

    3. Live smaller than you can afford

    You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

    You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

    That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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    Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

    Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

    The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

    But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

    4. Practice smart grocery shopping

    Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

    But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

    Create a grocery budget

    Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

    Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

    I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

    Make a list… and never deviate

    Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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    You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

    These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

    Eat before going grocery shopping

    It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

    If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

    After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

    Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

    However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

    This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

    5. Cancel your gym membership

    Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

    The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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    Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

    I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

    Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

    Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

    For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

    Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

    There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

    It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

    I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

    Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

    The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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