Recent world events have many of us scrambling to manage limited finances. You may be retraining for a new career, dealing with serious health issues, or just struggling with high grocery prices. No matter what you are dealing with, you can gain power over your debt and your credit rating.
Quit Blaming Yourself
According to Bromwich and Smith an Edmonton debt relief company, “when people are in severe debt they often feel helpless and may seek out services which over promise and underdeliver such as credit repair or high-interest loans that only will make their situation worse.” Therefore, even if you are feeling the stress of debt and considering bankruptcy it’s important to pause, think, and forgive yourself. Showing yourself some grace and calming your mind is important to do before you make any decisions. It’s important not to make any emotionally charged decisions.
You can do everything right and still fall into debt. You may have tried to start a business or take on a second job, only to have the year 2020 fall on you like a piano. By starting where you are, right now, with no guilt and no extreme pressure, you can conquer your debt. Also,
A very simple way to build money awareness is to take an inventory of your possessions. If you’re a stock-up and save shopper, check out your linen cabinets and skip the shampoo aisle on your next shopping trip. If your freezer is packed to bursting, you may not need many groceries on your next trip. Knowing what you have can define what you need, and you may not need much.
Try a No-Spend Weekend
On a no-spend weekend, you don’t spend any money from Friday morning to Monday evening. Once you’ve done an inventory and know what you need, check the mid-week grocery flyers for what’s on sale and plan your meals for your family. Shop on Thursday evening.
No-spend weekends don’t have to be about drudgery or boredom. You can make it a game for your whole family. Load the crockpot on Friday morning and have chili and a movie on Friday night. On Saturday morning, pack a picnic and head for the park. Look for fun things you can walk to or get out the family bicycles. Drag out the camping gear and have a backyard campout on Saturday night.
The key to a healthy no-spend is to understand just how much you can accomplish without money. Properly used, the habits you build on these weekends can be incredibly empowering.
Understand Your Debt
Another way to conquer your debt is by understanding it. Create a spreadsheet that will allow you to track the following:
- who you owe
- total debt owed
- the lowest monthly payment you must make
- the interest you’re paying
If you run out of money before your next check, you need to lower your biggest expenses, so sort your list by monthly payment, largest to smallest. Look at these items with new eyes; can you do something drastic to reduce those big payments? For example, can you take on a part-time or contract job for just a few hours a week to cover your rent or to make your car payment? Can you drop cable, move to a smaller apartment, or get a roommate? Think of these big changes as short-term fixes for a problem you are about to wipe out.
Use a Budget Planner
The first step in setting up a budget is to remind yourself just how much you’re bringing in. By using a quality budget planner, you’ll get a great reminder that you’re not in that bad of shape. It’s easy to focus on what you lack, but the stress will be very hard on you.
Another easy option is to go back to cash. If you meal plan around your grocery circulars as suggested above, you will have a decent idea of what you will spend. Make a list and bring cash to the store so you don’t make impulsive purchases that don’t offer nutritional benefits. Finally, make sure you eat a healthy snack before you shop. Being proud and happy with what you’ve consumed will make it easier to buy more healthy things.
Get Creditors Off Your Back
If you hate to check your phone because you’re drowning in creditor calls, get some protection and some help. You may not need to file for bankruptcy, but you do need to be able to think and find a way to move forward. There are professionals who can help you gain some peace of mind about your financial situation. If you can’t deeply consider and understand where you are and how you got here, you can’t get out.
If there’s any aspect of money management that makes you want to give up, focus on what you can do. Focusing on what you can do and making a plan is how you will conquer your debt. Remember to show yourself grace, cut out costs, reflect, budget, and ask for help when you need it. Start conquering your debt and rebuilding your worth today!
Written by: Sierra Powell
Sierra Powell graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a major in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing. She’s passionate about writing, reading, and learning. When she’s not writing, she loves to cook, sew, and go hiking with her dogs.