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Changing Your Relationship With Debt

Debt can be a terrible burden to have to live with. What can start with a small amount on an overdraft can slowly snowball into tens of thousands owed to various different companies. Pretty soon, you will be juggling a whole host of repayments to several loan companies. 

Debt can lead us to make some pretty poor decisions with our lives. It can make us desperate, and in the worst cases, can cause us to turn to crime to try to solve our problems. The cycle of debt can also cause severe problems when it comes to your relationships. The stresses and strains of harboring a large amount of financial weight can bring us to breaking point with our loved ones. If the debt is shared, not dealing well with the stress can create cracks. But if the debt is primarily on one partner, this can cause a whole different set of tensions. In many cases, people choose to hide their debts from their partners, and this will only lead to a feeling of betrayal and mistrust. 

Debt can tear families apart and put people on the streets. And, if you are in any way struggling with debt, you should take immediate action to stop it from ruining your life. This can be hard to do, and you may not know what the best course of action might be, or who to turn to for support.

Changing Your Relationship With Debt - credit cards and wallet image
Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Getting The Help That You Need With Debts

In the first instance, when it comes to dealing with personal debts such as loans, credit cards, or student loan debt, you should reach out to a friend, family member, or partner and ask them for help. To be clear, this does not mean that they should lend you money. Quite often, taking a loan from someone that you are close to can be problematic as it may lead to arguments. It is only useful if it is a meaningful amount of money that can be used to clear entire debts. Otherwise, it is often just adding to the problem. 

The type of help that you will want to get is emotional support and constructive advice. Being able to talk to someone about your money problems will be vital as it can help you feel as though you are not alone. 

If you have a partner, make sure you involve them in the situation. They have a right to know about the problems that you are facing, even if they do not directly affect them, it can still be a cause of great tension in your life, and they need to be able to support you through it. 

Seeking Support From Debt Charities

To get support, you should reach out to the citizen’s advice bureau, or a debt charity such as Step Change. Having help from people who are trained to deal with your specific problems will be greatly beneficial to you and your situation. 

They may be able to signpost you towards a robust solution so that you can start to overcome your situation. There may be ways things that you have not thought about doing that can help immensely. 

If you have a complex relationship with managing your money or the stress of your situation is weighing down on considerably, then you might need to talk to a counselor who can help you to process the problems that you are facing. 

Restructuring Your Personal Finances 

One of the primary ways that you can fight debt in your life is to change the way that you deal with your finances. You may be in the habit of ignoring the money that you have going out because it causes you stress or anxiety. This is perfectly natural, and this is a defense mechanism that you will have developed. Unfortunately, it is not terribly helpful getting you out of debt and could, in fact, cause your problems to worsen.

Getting ahead of your debts will mean understanding where your money is being spent every month. For this, you will need to create a full and thorough assessment of your income and expenditure. You should ensure that you do need to leave anything out and be fully honest with yourself about what you are spending money on. Denial will only worsen your situation. 

Start with your most essential outgoings first. This will be your mortgage or rent payments. This will be outgoing that you probably cannot do very much about, but it is important that you prioritize paying it. 

Next up, look at things such as your utility bills. Your gas, electric, water, phone, and broadband. You may be able to lower your consumption or switch suppliers for many of these things. So, shop around and make the switch to the company that offers you the best deals. Make sure that if you are on a limited offer, that you understand the terms and look at switching again if the prices start to rise. 

Your debts should obviously be on the list. You need to pay these every month so that you are not going to get further into the financial black-hole. More on how to reduce the payments on these later. 

Then you will get to your non-essential spending. This will include items such as satellite and streaming subscriptions, gym memberships, as well as memberships to clubs. There may be things that you are paying out for that you don’t even remember that you have. These are prime examples of things that you should cancel in order to save some money. 

Setting yourself budgets for your food shopping is a good way of managing your money. Have a look at home much you are spending on average each month and try to use that as a basis for planning. Think about areas of your shop that you are spending too much on. Are you buying branded items, when an own-brand product would be much cheaper? Get yourself into the habit of shopping in a more savvy manner will mean not picking up impulse buys and working off a shopping list. 

One way of managing your spending is to spend more time planning meals. If you are cooking from scratch, and also have a plan for your meals each night, you can use cost-effective techniques to get ingredients that can be used across a number of meals so that nothing gets wasted. 

Keep in the habit of documenting and tracking everything that you are spending. It may feel completely unnatural to you, but doing this will teach you to control the way that you use money, Building a new relationship with your finances takes time, and eventually using spreadsheets and checking your online banking regularly will feel natural. 

Restructuring Your Debt

One way to deal with the debt that you have currently is to take out a consolidation loan. If you have multiple debts, you will have a few different interest rates. Some of your debts may be more pressing than others, and you may constantly be juggling them. When it comes to paying them off, you will probably not get to pay them all off as there will always be one or two of your debts that keep escalating because you have too many to manage. 

Taking out a consolidation loan will mean that you can put all of your debts into one easily affordable monthly payment. This will make the overall debt much easier to manage. 

Once you have paid off all of your other debts with your consolidation loan, you should cut up your credit cards and close the accounts so that you are not tempted to go back into more debt. 

Worst Case Scenarios

If your debt has gone too far, you should get in touch with a firm that can negotiate with your lenders to agree on a settlement. Doing this may mean that you can avoid filing for bankruptcy, while also giving you the opportunity to clear your debt in a more manageable manner. 

The lender may agree to cut some of the debt for you. There will be an agreed-upon payment plan that will be easier for you to manage in your current situation.  

Nobody wants to file for bankruptcy, or have any court judgments hanging over them because they have failed to pay a debt. Getting in there early and discussing your options with a company that can renegotiate your position may be greatly beneficial to you. 

Getting out of debt may well take you a great deal of time and effort. It will need you to remain focused and change your way of thinking about money. It is possible to get out of debt, though, and although it may feel as if it is the end of the world when you are tangled up in interest and loans, it can get better. Reach out and get the support that you need, but most importantly, work at yourself in order to improve your own relationship with money and debt. 

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