When it happens, it happens fast: One day you’re feeling in control of your debt, but the next thing you know, you’re feeling overwhelmed, panicky, and downright guilty.
Whether it’s an unexpected expense that took your debt over the edge or just a growing sense of dread when you look at your balance, it’s natural to have some feelings of guilt. You can probably think of a dozen decisions you could have made differently to avoid getting into this situation.
But thinking back through those past decisions won’t get you out of debt, and wallowing in your guilty feelings won’t either.
To get out of debt, you need to take action — and you need to do it as quickly as possible to minimise the impact of compound interest in your balances.
If you’re not sure where to start, it’s time to get organised. You can’t expect to keep track of all your balances, interest rates, due dates and late fees in your head. Put these details on paper or into a spreadsheet so you can see the whole picture in one glance.
Then use your newly freed-up brain space to make a plan to pay down your debt. Track your progress each month so you can see your hard work start to add up and put a dent in your debt. Remember that even small steps add up over time, and don’t let those guilty feelings creep in if your progress feels slow at the start.
Again, recording this progress on paper or a spreadsheet takes the maths out of your head, so you can focus on other stuff. Feel free to get creative here: Colour in part of a grid every time you make a payment or create a graph that you update each month.
Want more strategies for stopping guilt in its tracks while you’re working hard to pay off your debt? Check out the video above for small steps that can provide peace of mind throughout your debt payoff process.