You Can Get Relief from Your Debts

Many of us go through our days feeling as if our debt is an enormous weight pressing down on us. We wonder how we could ever get relief from the crushing burden of our debts. The stress caused by debt can cause depression, anxiety and even problems within a relationship or marriage. It can also make our childrens' lives difficult as they pick up on our worries about money. Even when we do our best to avoid burdening them with our financial problems, if we're constantly telling them we can't afford this or that, they know that money is a Problem.


f you are to the point at which keeping up with your bills is becoming a source of unbearable stress, there are many options available for debt relief. Nothing positive will happen as long as you continue to avoid the issue. You must take action, and while it may involve some pain, very few worthwhile things in life come without some sacrifice.

The first thing to do if you start noticing that debt is controlling every aspect of your life is to make changes on the way you spend money. Are little sums slipping through your fingers, a dollar here and a dollar there? It's time to sit down and give some real thought to where your money is going. You may need to keep a spending diary for a few weeks or months to get a handle on where the money is going, and where unthinking purchases are costing you money that could be put toward paying down your debts (not to mention avoiding incurring further debt).

Consider what changes you can make in your lifestyle to reduce the amount of money that's going out or increase the amount that's coming in. Make sure that your plans are realistic: like fad diets, extreme restrictions in spending rarely succeed over the long term. You may manage to go without every possible luxury for a few weeks, but after a while it's going to wear thin and you'll splurge on "one little thing." Then you beat yourself up with guilt, and it becomes all too easy to just give up altogether and go back to your old haphazard spending habits, not watching where your money's going at all.

Instead, focus on small but manageable changes. Don't give up all entertainment. Concentrate on ways to make small purchases on very enjoyable activities go further than a lot of expensive activities that you're doing because Everybody Does That but you don't really enjoy. Maybe you'd really rather rent a movie, make some popcorn at home and have movie night in your own living room rather than go to the cinema and listen to somebody else's ill-mannered brats run up and down the aisles for two hours while the speakers blare at levels that leave you on edge and your ears ringing.

What you want to aim for is sustainable change you can live with on the long term. You need to find a way to create a lifestyle that is within your budget and you can live with. If you constantly feel deprived, the temptation to cheat "just a little" will become enormous, and will ultimately put you straight back into the trap of debt you worked so hard to escape.

If your debt problem is overwhelming because you're constantly spending time and energy keeping track of multiple bills, you may want to look into debt consolidation. This works by taking out one big loan to pay off all the little loans, so you now have one bill each month instead of five or ten. However, you want to make sure that you are borrowing from a legitimate company that is highly reputable. There are a number of shady companies that have gotten into the debt consolidation business and offer high-interest loans that become a trap worse than the paper chase of managing multiple bills.

If you feel like your financial situation is completely out of control and efforts to rein in your spending on your own have failed, you may want to look into credit counseling. The best credit counseling services don't just work out repayment plans. They also help you identify the areas of your life where you have problems with spending -- for instance, are you still trying to defy a controlling parent by spending on things you don't need just to show them they can no longer use money as a lever? Or are you spending on convenience foods because you never developed the skills to cook from scratch?

If your problems are the result of a permanent reduction in your income (for instance, because of an illness or injury that has left you disabled), and there is no way to work out a repayment plan, you may be better off talking with a bankruptcy attorney. Although it's not pleasant to have to admit that your debts are beyond your ability to repay, and it will do long-term damage to your credit history, it may be the only way to get your life back and have a fresh start.

The first thing you must do is research your options. Find out what possibilities you have and determine what will work best for you. Nothing will change until you take action.

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