One thing is certain, I am not a wealth guru nor a financial adviser. However, I am interested to tackle this topic for the sole reason that there are a few people close to me who are struggling to pay their mounting debt. I think about them a lot and they are one of the reasons why I get down on my knees at night and nag the universal life force to do something about it. Maybe perform a miracle. I don’t know. What I know is I love them and I am hoping that they will eventually wipe the thick mud off their financial screen.
Having a large amount of debt is overwhelming. It’s never our BFF and never will be. Most people fall into this deep hole because of poor money management and bad spending habits. For some, it may be because of unforeseen circumstances like hospital emergencies and redundancies.
So, let’s say you use your money with reckless abandon like you might have had fun swiping your credit cards while you shop here and there. It might also be that life has become quite unfriendly at one point and you have to dig into your pocket necessarily. You certainly did not ask for that to happen. Whatever the reason may be, you ended up owing several creditors a massive amount of money and you feel like you have to travel to another galaxy to completely pay it off. How would you be able to rub out that monstrous financial baggage as fast as you can so you can live debt-free as soon as you can.
Sounds serious? Yes it is, but you can do it, buddy. You have to address the issue somehow, right? How?
Here are some ways, which with all guarantee, will work. However, be prepared to do them.
Set a Realistic Goal. Determine how much you can actually pay at a certain time and make it regular. Who or what do you want to pay within three months? within one or two years? Come up with a date and stick to it. Make a list of your debt. Prioritize those that incur the highest interest rates or the one (if you owe an individual) who is ready to fry you if you don’t pay him/her as soon as you can.
Frugal Living. A big sigh is so audible I can hear it in my computer screen! I know, it may be a drastic lifestyle change for some of you. Anyway, what does frugal living entail? I love how Jia Mickens of Marriage and Motherhood puts it. Do not buy anything that you do not need. That means, no new shoes, no new clothes, no eating out in restaurants, not even paying a visit in thrift stores or second hand shops.
Seriously, be a bit more too frugal. Plan your meals. Cook your food. Live cheaply. Cut down your house bills. Well, times are tough. Sacrifices have to be made. Practice all extreme money saving measures that you can think of because every cent counts. I tell you, these work big time!
Use All Resources or Assets You Have. It is great if you have valuable assets that you can utilize like a piece of land, a car or sets of jewelries. Turn them into cash and pay off your debt first. Don’t get attached to them. You must have worked so hard to acquire them. I fully understand that. But if these are the only things that will pull you out of the dark chamber where you are confined now, then just do it. You can start fresh once you get your head out of the sand.
Sell your extra stuff. If you don’t have big assets to dispose to cover your massive debt, sell your extra stuff that you don’t use. Sell your kids’clothes that they have already outgrown. Sell your second or third television. You don’t need that many, do you? Sell your clothes, bags and shoes that your eyes don’t lay upon for months and months. Believe me, if you don’t use an item for 30 days or so, that means they are not essential. If you put it in a corner of your cabinet or wardrobe and forget all about it, you definitely don’t need it. Just use a few to live by. There is no need for OOTD when you go out of the house each day. Every single thing that you can live without can be trade off with cash no matter how small it is and put it towards paying your debt so you can accelerate your debt-free journey.
Take on Side Hustles. Get an extra income. Understand what skills you have and monetize them. If you can bake mouth watering, delectable cakes and cupcakes, do so. If you have a gift of words and a brilliant intellect to express in writing, then write for someone. It can be a speech for a politician, a thesis for a person who has the money but is struggling to even a start a sentence, or a case study that a classmate (if you’re studying and if that classmate can pay you) is lazy to work on. If you have a spare room in your house, rent it out. If you can buy and sell retail products, do it. If you are great in certain subjects, offer tutoring services. There are numerous ways to amplify your earnings. Just do them! No excuses! No ifs and buts!
Involve your kids (if you have kids). I am sure many people will disdainfully question this idea. Is it fair for the kids to participate in the process of getting rid of your debts?
Let’s look at it this way. To engage the kids means to be honest with them. Make them understand why you are tightening your belt and they must do so too as reasonably as possible. Deal with the issue as a family. Trust your kids that they can do something about it. They, especially the older kids, may have some brilliant ideas on how to ride the storms in a smart way. Younger kids may stop asking you to buy stuff for them. This way, you are giving them the opportunity to learn how to deal with financial issues in an early age. Getting debt up to your ears maybe a huge mistake you have committed and it is a mistake the kids may avoid in the future.
Be crazily inspired to pay off your debt. It can be too exhausting to pay huge amount of debt and leaves you financially starved. However, instead of feeling that way, find the motivation to climb up from the abyss where you’re in. When you have extra money, give priority to reduce your debt. Get intoxicated with the idea of getting debt free as soon as you can. When you get addicted to that idea, you will do anything (just make sure, that ‘anything’ is reasonable) you can to achieve a debt free life.
Be honest to people around you and to your creditors. Don’t be ashamed of your circumstances. As long as you have the intention of ironing your debt problems, there is nothing to be embarrassed about. If your friends ask you to eat out or go shopping, you can gently refuse and let them know the reason. Sure, they will be on the ball and they will understand.
If your creditors happen to be a friend, a business partner or a neighbor or any person, continue to communicate your willingness to pay and make sure that you really pay them. Not in the least that you ever go into hiding! Don’t be a debt fugitive! That will only severe your relationship with your creditors which, beyond doubt, will complicate matters.
These are just few suggestions that can help you in your “journey to the ends of the debts”. There are certainly numerous strategies out there both practical and mathematical on getting debt-free. Employ what is effective to you. One thing is sure, paying off huge debt is no picnic in the park but if you have the discipline and the commitment to do so, you can kiss it goodbye soon.