We all get swayed by temptation at times when paying off debt. Perhaps you went to a slightly nicer college than you could afford and you are now inundated with a ridiculous amount of student loans. Maybe you bought a house that you can barely ever leave because you're working all hours of the day to pay the mortgage. Did you see an item of clothing you simply could not resist even though it was ridiculously expensive?
You could be struggling to pay your debts monthly in all of the above scenarios. Thankfully, there are ways to recover from a situation like this. None of them are easy, but they are all actually quite simple.
1. Earn More (If Applicable)
You may not be earning enough to pay off your debts. If that's the case, ensure that you take on a few extra gigs or side hustles. Then, you can at least bring in more cash in the near future.
2. Save More
If you are already earning enough to cover your debts but you aren't putting some of that money towards them each month, then it might be time to sit down and create a very strict budget for yourself. What is absolutely essential to spend on?
What isn't? Eliminate everything that is not absolutely necessary.
If you already have an emergency fund, perhaps it's time to tap into that to pay off your debts. If you don't, you might want to start building one, so that you can cover a portion of the debt for at least a few months in a row without having to scram.
3. Invest When Paying Off Your Debt
If you haven't already, investing in assets while paying off your debt could actually help a lot.
Of course, this requires having some extra cash on hand, so it will likely depend on your individual circumstances but, if you have the means, this could certainly allow you to have more options.
4. Spend Less
While saving and investing help, it can be hard if you are constantly spending money that you don't have on things you don't actually need to impress people who do not even know you.
Unfortunately, this is an extremely common pattern for a lot of folks, especially with enticing advertisements. Thus, causing many to feel as though they definitely need items they really don't.
It's important to create a budget so that you know where every dollar is going.
5. Examine Your Mindset Around Money
While this is certainly not the only reason people go into debt, it can be part of the equation sometimes:
- Are you scared of getting rich because you've told yourself your friends and family might see you differently?
- Do you feel like money is evil and people who have a lot of it are inherently bad?
- Were you told frequently as a child that money did not grow on trees?
- Do you have a lot of shame around spending, saving, or even just having money?
Learn More About Paying Off Your Debt
The reality is that a lot of people feel this way. It might be helpful to navigate the journey emotionally with a therapist or take some classes online about reframing your mentality. Again, this is only part of the equation, but staying positive when you're working towards a goal never hurts!
It's important to let go of any shame you may be feeling if you are struggling with debt. All of us are tempted by shiny objects in the window sometimes, college is ridiculously expensive, and there are so many nice homes calling our names that seem to cost the equivalent of an arm and a leg that it can be hard to control our spending.
That said, if you are strategic about your budget and prioritize paying off your debt, you can set yourself up for success and peace of mind for many years to come.