Being in debt can be a horrible feeling. Depending on the severity of the debt, it can feel like your responsibilities and obligations are crushing you. There’s nothing you want more than to be free, but you can’t seem to get out from under this rock; your debt is keeping you awake at night, and it’s occupying your every waking thought. This situation is extremely common, and there are ways you can get yourself out of it. If you apply yourself right (and, of course, if your situation isn’t too dire), then you can lift yourself out of debt and start living again. Here are 8 ways to do just that.
1. Create a harsh budget
By cutting back on some of your expenses, you may be able to free up enough of the monthly income that you can slowly start to clear your debt. You will, unfortunately, need to be very harsh with yourself. Ask yourself which subscription services you definitely need and which ones can be cut back. Buy own-brand instead of name goods, and try to repair things instead of shopping for new versions of the item. In time, smaller savings may add up to bigger ones, and you may find that you’ve got significantly more money each month to play with.
2. Look for side hustles
Working an extra job on the side doesn’t have to be as time-consuming and draining as you might think. There are lots of potential second jobs out there that won’t eat away in your free time; you can work them whenever you want, and the income you get will be dependent on when you work. This is true of tuition, for example, as well as personal training and some freelance writing positions. Extra income could seriously help you to make headway into clearing your debt, so if you think you can spare the time and the mental capacity, definitely look into this one.
3. Take out a loan
It might not sound quite right to you, but trust us – in the right situation, taking out a loan can be a good way to expunge debt from your records. Let’s say, for example, you’ve just got a new job after a period of unemployment. You need some cash to clear bills before your first payday, but you don’t quite have the funds amassed yet. This could be a situation where you would turn to short term loans to get you out of that situation. Loans can also help to boost your credit score, so they could help you to get more long-term credit-based assistance for your debt.
4. Dip into your rainy day savings
If your debt is bad enough, you may well already have done this and come up short. However, if you’ve been holding off because you just don’t know if the situation warrants it, believe us – it’s better to get into your savings now and use them to clear the debt rather than wait until it builds up. There will be situations in which it makes more financial sense to save, but for the most part, dipping into savings to clear the debt that’s mounting is definitely a good idea. After all, the debt will only climb the longer you spend not paying it off.
5. Quit driving and start walking
This one is more of a financial tip than a method for clearing debt, but it’ll help in a lot of ways. Petrol is extremely expensive. If you find that it’s possible to walk to some of the destinations to which you would usually drive, making this switch can be a huge money-saver. It’s also good for the environment, and it will help you get more physical exercise, so it’s a win-win situation. Ditch your car (except for extremely long journeys, and even then, consider using public transport) and you’ll see benefits that aren’t just financial.
6. Pay over the minimum
One of the most common ways people get trapped in debt is to consistently pay minimum repayments on credit cards or other debts. Because of the way interest rates work (and because of some lenders’ unscrupulous hidden fees), this can mean you will literally never pay off your debt. You’ll need to make more than the minimum required repayment if you want to make any headway at all in clearing your debts. This is true whether you’re paying off credit cards, conventional loans, or any other type of borrowing; paying more than the minimum pays off in the long run.
Debt from a single source – one that can be negotiated with – is much better than debt that’s encroaching from all sides. For this reason, it can be a good idea to consolidate your debt. Remember that consolidation definitely does not equal a clean slate; all you’re doing is bunching up all of your debt in a single place so that it’s easier to pay off. You may also incur extra fees depending on which provider you go with, so make sure you find the right consolidation loan provider. However, this method can help you to make sense of your finances and understand your situation better.
8. Make sure to talk to a credit expert
If you try all of the above and you’re just not seeing any impact on your finances, then it’s time to enlist the services of a professional. Articles and other generic financial advice can only help so much; in the end, explaining your personal circumstances to someone and asking them for tailored help is going to be much more effective for you. There are plenty of services out there that offer financial advice, and your situation is unlikely to be so dire that there’s nothing they can recommend for you, so give it a shot – the worst that can happen is you need to look elsewhere for your advice!