People often live with debt, trying to scrape by in any way they can. They think paying off those credit card bills is the most important thing in the world.
It leads to a potentially difficult cycle. You work 12 hours a day, in two jobs. You never buy things that you want. You never go on trips. You put aside every cent that you can, and you buy the bargain version of everything.
What exactly are you trying to protect? Your credit score?
Dealing with debt stress
This lifestyle, driven by some desire to pay back billion dollar corporations and protect a credit score that you may not even know — 70 percent of people don’t — creates a ton of stress. The negative impact this stress can have on your quality of life can’t be overstated.
To help, here are a few tips:
- Consult your budget. Are there any glaring mistakes? In some cases, fixing relatively minor budget issues can help the bills fall in line and reduce your stress.
- Keep the positives in mind. They say to count your blessings, and it can help. Many people make stress worse by endlessly dwelling on the negatives. Make a list of the positives and read it daily. You may even find some financial positives — you’re up to date on your mortgage payments, for instance — that stand out when things feel bleak.
- Stop feeling alone. People often feel shame about financial mistakes. They think they’re the only ones in this situation and the shame can feel crippling. The reality is that many people deal with debt and financial trouble. You’re not alone, and it may not even be your fault. Do not buy into the shame, and never assume others think less of you. Just focus on figuring things out.
- Don’t make online comparisons. This happens so often. You see those Instagram pictures of someone’s new truck and someone else’s trip to Italy, and it brings the shame and stress rushing back. How is everyone else living the perfect life, but you’re not? In actuality, you have no idea if their situations are different than yours. Maybe they can’t afford that lease or maybe that vacation puts them in the same amount of debt as you.
- Learn about your options. Find out what you can do. Stress comes from feeling helpless, but you’re not helpless. For instance, many people use Chapter 13 bankruptcy so that they can pay off debt affordably and keep homes, cars and other assets.
At the end of the day, you do not want that stress and finding out more about what you can do to eliminate debt may help put it behind you.