Solving Debt without Losing Hope – A 4-Step Guide
Debt is one of the most devastating four-letter words in the dictionary. With the average household carrying approximately $7,200 in just credit card debt as recently as 2015, the concept is staggering. This number doesn’t take into consideration households with car loans or student loan debts, and most people don’t consider their mortgage a typical debt. The amount of money the average American is in debt means many families struggle to stay afloat most of the time. Most live paycheck to paycheck. Some can’t even make it that far. Families are making decisions such as how they can stretch $15 to last another week, and others are doing without food in their own stomachs so they can afford to feed their kids.
It’s devastating, and it’s a push for many to get out of debt. When you feel as though you’ve hit rock bottom with your debts, it’s easy to feel hopeless. The bottom line is hope is not lost when it comes to debt. It’s not always easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s possible to solve your issues with debt while maintaining hope.
Start a Budget
Perhaps you already have a budget. Now is the time to either create one or modify the one you have. Start with a list of your expenses, then add your income. Sometimes seeing this information on a piece of paper makes you feel even more hopeless, and sometimes it makes you feel more confident. Whatever the case, start a budget and see where you are. Now that you have an idea, it’s time to call the companies you work with and ask them for some help.
Turn off your cable and stream your favorite shows either free of charge online or for next to nothing using Netflix or Hulu. Lower the plan you use for your cell phone. Call your creditors and ask them to lower your interest rate. If they won’t, ask them to close your account. Most creditors change their minds quickly when you tell them you no longer require their services.
Find the Right Program for You
No two families are the same, and no two debt programs are the same. The key to successfully getting out of debt is finding the program that works for you. If you feel focusing on one credit card at a time until you’ve paid them all off is the plan that works for you, focus on that. If you feel debt consolidation is the plan that works for you, focus on that. Research both the snowball method of paying off small cards first and then applying that payment to the next smallest card until you’re debt-free as well as consolidating all your bills at once. Figure out which plan is more affordable for you, and go for it.
Hope is found when you remember to hold onto it, but it’s easier to hold onto hope during this journey when you have motivation. The big goal is to pay off all your debts so you can live without them for the rest of your life. Financial freedom is a beautiful feeling. However, it’s often difficult to achieve financial freedom when you feel hopeless. To maintain your hope, break your big goal into several smaller goals. This allows you the opportunity to feel satisfaction each time you meet a goal.
For example, if you consolidate your debts, make it a goal to pay twice the monthly payment for the first six months. Once you do that, cross it off the list. Then make it your goal to pay a little more than twice the monthly payment the next six months. Cross it off the list. Each time you meet a goal, you’ll find it’s motivation to continue. Hope is not lost when goals are met.
Make More Money
Most people find ways to save money when paying off their debts, but they don’t use the same methods to find more money. Perhaps you think making more money sounds difficult because you’d already make more if that was the case. It’s a common misconception making more money is difficult. With the ease of technology in the digital age, you can make as much money as you want. It’s up to you. You can do several things to help you earn more money in your free time.
– Start an online business
– Sell things online
– Take surveys
– Test products
The options are endless, and so is your income potential. When you make a few dollars here and there, make sure you apply it toward your debts. The more you can pay at once, the faster you can find the financial freedom you’ve been looking for.
One consideration to make when you begin an online business or freelance is your taxes. If you don’t save for your income tax withholding, you’ll find yourself in another predicament come tax time. Now is a good time to apply a portion of your earnings to savings so you can pay your taxes when they come due.
Making money, paying off debts, and remaining hopeful are easy when you look at the big picture, create a goal, and break it down into more attainable short-term goals. Anyone can get out of debt, but you must overcome your own mental block before it’s possible to let go of the bad and make room for the good.