Stress and debt go hand in hand. When you're paying off your debt it can be an extremely stressful time. But it leads to one of the most stress-free times -- which is when you finally can say that you are debt-free.
If you don't know, my husband and I paid off $36,000 in two years on one income. And we had two babies during that time. So to say it was stressful is like saying the ocean contains a few drops of water.
But I wanted to give you a few tips to reduce that stress when paying off debt.
1. Face what you're dealing with.
Now I know this can seem counterintuitive but if you just really look at your debt, how much you owe and who you owe money to, that number may be a lot and that number may feel overwhelming, but you have to give it a name. You can't punch something when you can't see its face. So you need to look at what you're dealing with and really know down to that last penny who you owe money to. And it really does bring a sense of sanity to the situation.
2. Get current on your bills
If you are trying to pay off debt but you're behind on your bills, that's going to create stress on top of stress. So you need to focus on being current before you can even start paying off the debt.
Start by creating a budget. As you're figuring out who you owe money to, you need to sit down and make a budget and see if you're even making enough money to pay your bills. Because that's a real issue.
Sometimes people think that they have an outgo problem when really they have an income problem. So you really need to make sure that you have the money to cover your basic expenses, and make a budget and tell your money where to go.
3. Be willing to change
You have to change your behavior. There's no magic wand that's going to get you out of debt. You have to change your behavior. I've said this a lot but you have to get angry enough at yourself. Angry enough at the things that got you into that position to begin with so that you can get yourself out.
4. Have the hard conversations.
If you're married and you're getting out of debt with your spouse. I know it is uncomfortable. I know that these are conversations that you don't want to have. But I feel like not talking about money is way worse than fighting about money.
Jason and I never fought about money. That's because for the first five years of our marriage, we just didn't talk about it. And guess where that got us? $36,000 in debt.
So don't be like me. Talk to your spouse. If you're in a situation where the person just won't talk to you and they shut down and they won't listen, keep trying. Don't stop. Keep trying. You will get there.
5. Bring in extra income
So maybe it means starting a side hustle. But you may find some creative ways to bring in extra income and you may just start hawking some things you no longer need on eBay. You just have to do what it takes to get where you want to go.
What about you? How do you reduce debt stress?