Stressed by your debt? Here are 8 ways to deal with it

  • Find a debt payoff plan that works for you and stick to it.
  • Put your money where your mouth is when it comes to a debt payoff plan.
  • Understand your financial situation, get real and face your current financial circumstance.

Money is a tricky subject. While it touches every single part of our lives positively, it can put stress on us if not handled well and sometimes can end in debt.

Low income, bad budgeting, depending on credit cards, gambling, little to no savings can be a few of the many reasons that lead to debt. Illness is an exception—because most often you don’t see it coming. Clearing debt is a financial priority, but until it’s done you might be feeling a ton of stress, and most of your stress could be stemming from your debt.

Debt stress can manifest through difficulty concentrating, sleepless nights and changes in eating habits and cause health ailments and negative emotions.

Particularly for communities of color, as threats to financial security are highest among racial and ethnic minorities.

If you’ve found yourself overcome with debt-related stress, below are some steps to ease stress and regain control of your finances.

1. Know your focal point

Shift your focus from everything you did wrong in the past to things you can do to start doing to reduce your debt stress. Be real with yourself and know that you cannot achieve a debt-free life right away. Then take it one small step at a time to balance your essential expenses while also tackling debt.

2. Bring out the control freak in you

We all are control freaks in one way or another, but you know what’s rewarding in the long run, being in control of your finances. How do you do that?

  • Acknowledge unhealthy money habits
  • Accept the responsibility of debt payoff
  • Seek help from a financial coach
  • Find an accountability partner
  • Create and implement a budget
  • Payoff little by little every month

3. Get real with yourself and your finances

Understand your current financial situation, get real and face your current financial circumstance. Jot down the number, the real numbers—your total income, monthly expenses and the balance on your debt. Then pause—breathe—and reflect on what triggers your debt stress!

The more you understand your debt and yourself the better you’ll cope. The better you cope the more you’ll begin to feel in control of your finances and make rational decisions.

4. Nothing can go wrong with the right budget

It’s easy to get frustrated following prescriptive budgeting advice. Now that you know that eliminating debt doesn’t happen overnight, why don’t you create a budget that works best for you? Craft a spending plan to ensure that every dollar you earn has a job. That way you will have clarity about where you’re spending each month.

5. Put your money to good use 

In other words, decrease unnecessary expenses. 

We’re talking about those recurring expenses, like subscriptions you don’t need, those takeaways that cost you a little more than a dime and Diet Coke expenses that you could probably cut down on. We could go on… There’s plenty more where that came from!

Also, review your bank statements to identify areas in your spending that are causing money leaks. It is tempting to skip this part. But do it anyway! Then prioritize items in your budget that are necessary, like housing and utility, etc.  

6. Just make more money

Now that we’ve covered  how to decrease expenses, let’s talk about how you can increase your income. Have you noticed that you just have one paycheck that wrestles 30 days worth of expenses? What we’re trying to tell you is that your income is barely enough to cover your monthly bills.

Thankfully, we live in a hustle community and there are a million different side hustles to employ as ways to increase your income while decreasing your expenses. Find out what your potential side hustle can be then hustle hard! 

7. Get your priorities right 

Prioritize debt and bills and pay your bills first. Make a list of all your debts and include minimum payments due, late fees, and interest rates. Then resort to debt repayment strategies to get that burden off your shoulder ASAP. 

8. Find the right debt payoff plan

There are a ton of action plans that you can resort to, but remember that the best strategy is the one that you can stick to. So, keep things as simple as possible and choose a strategy that works in your favor to combat your debt stress.