It’s just so tempting to ignore debt. Mounting bills, missed payments and looming charges can become overwhelming to the point that it feels much easier to wait around for a magical, quick fix. The problem is, that fix, in all likelihood, isn’t coming any time soon. The great news is that you don’t need to be rescued from debt, when you become your own hero. What you need to do first, is turn around and face it.
Acknowledge seemingly harmless habits, to deal with debt.
Acknowledge your habits
Sometimes debt is the result of an emergency, however, in most cases it has more to do with your ingrained habits. The very first step in facing debt, is to be brutally honest with yourself, about your habits. For example, do you often spend money you don’t have, choosing to ‘buy now’ and worry about it later? If you’re in debt now, you’ll know that those seemingly harmless, spontaneous decisions add up very quickly, creating more debt and worry than what they were probably worth at the time.
One of the best ways to acknowledge habits, is to start recording them. This helps you to become more mindful of what you spend, even if it means having a few cringe-worthy moments when you realise you blew half your budget on dining out last week. On the flip side, write down the good decisions you make, like choosing to save for an investment, to reinforce new, positive habits.
The second you change your behaviour with regard to money management, is the second you’ll feel empowered within yourself.
The second you change your behaviour with regard to money management, is the second you’ll feel empowered within yourself, in order to deal with debt. While ignoring debt leads you on a path to feeling helpless, working to pay it off gives you an overriding sense of capability and purpose. Remember that, at the end of the day, if you don’t change your behaviour, it’s virtually impossible to change your situation.
Education is one of the best ways to change your behaviour, through empowerment. Consult experts, reach out to family or friends, read as much as you can or take a course in money management. Ask yourself questions, like, “What do I need to do, to eliminate behaviour that sabotages my finances?” On a minor level, this could be avoiding window shopping. More serious behaviour might include regularly taking substantial financial risks without receiving professional advice.
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Don’t let embarrassment stand in your way
There tends to be a lot of shame associated with debt, which leads to ignoring it in the first place. In reality though, feeling embarrassed isn’t going to help your finances and the longer you succumb to it, the worse debt becomes. Know that having debt doesn’t mean you’re a bad person and, you’re most certainly not the first, nor will you be the last person ever to wrack it up.
Once you’ve acknowledged your habits and worked on your money-related behaviour, it’s time to bite the bullet and seek expert help. Then, you’ll be on your way to an effective, debt-busting strategy, so you can get on with living the financially secure life you deserve.