Yes, indeed… More and more people are complaining of ulcers, headaches, stomach aches, severe depression, and the like; even chest pain. But it’s not always due to a physical cause. One alarming cause – financial stress; specifically, enormous financial debt.
According to a poll conducted by Associated Press-AOL Health, “when people are dealing with mountains of debt, they’re much more likely to report health problems, too.”
While some people are able to manage their debt quite well, there are those who just can’t find the ways to be debt free, or even make that first few steps towards it, especially during these hard times. Hence, more people suffer from stress-related illnesses. Chronic stress from having enormous debt is what actually worsens people’s health.
It’s about time for people in this predicament learn about chronic stress management; WHEREBY, the first important approach is removal of the source of stress, which is DEBT.
Here are tips to relieve yourselves of the source of stress – financial debt:
1. Resolve to wipe out debt.
That is, first and foremost, the MOST CRUCIAL step. All other suggestions would be useless and impossible unless you have that firm decision to really wipe out your debt.
Visualize what you want to happen in your life. Our brain is such an amazing mechanism which stores everything that happen to us, and what we want to happen! The process of visualization exercise is very beneficial to people who are determined on restructuring their lives; and their financial standing as well.
Tell yourself regularly and repeatedly “I will be debt-free”. For those times you are tempted to sway from your resolve, tell yourself this again and again. The more you visualize yourself to be debt-free in your mind’s eye, the more it’ll be likely.
2. Improve your money management skills by creating a budget or a spending plan
The same way that a business runs with a budget, your household should, too. Figure out your overall earnings, expenses and debts. Realistically assess your financial situation, and you can do this by JOTTING DOWN everything you buy for a week or a month. So much the better if you can use a worksheet or MS Excel. Make a list of all the bills you have to pay regularly. Make a list of everything you spend; in detail. Make a file folder for all your bills; well segregated and in chronological order. Order begets order. (Chant “I will be debt-free” repeatedly; whenever you feel overwhelmed by multiple bills. ^_^)
Once you know where your earnings go, you can have a better perspective of what you spend on, how much and when. Add up your expenditures weekly, semi-monthly or monthly and compare with your monthly earnings. Are you spending more that you make? If yes, now you know why you are heavy with debts!
3. Analyze your lists and prioritize the most important bills like rent, electricity, etc.
Having them last on your list makes you short; and compels you to use credit cards. Don’t! (“I will be debt-free”)
4. Decide to totally stop using your credit cards and refrain from creating any new or unnecessary loans.
Work your budget around your income. Try your best to cancel those cards that you can do without. Using your credit card is like spending your future income. If you really want to be debt-free, you should stop using credit cards and making new loans. (“I will be debt-free”)
5. Cut the luxuries; screen the detailed lists of what you buy and learn to cross out.
Distinguish your needs from wants. Having a separate list of your needs and crossing out your wants may be the much-needed ultimate sacrifice. It’s the discretionary expenses that gets your budget in trouble. (“I will be debt-free”)
6. Turn idle time into money-making time (perhaps a second job)
Explore other skills you might have; or some hobbies that could be money-makers. Check online work or any second job you can take on on your spare time. A lot of people are still able to surprise themselves with things they thought they could never do! (“I will be debt-free”)
7. Steer clear of shopping sprees and pressure visits
A mound of control is better than a mountain of bills. Little expenses, when added up comes really big. Refuse shopping, eating out or taking leisure trips for a while. Every penny saved is a step closer to being debt-free. (“I will be debt-free”)
8. Negotiate and make “power payments”
There are companies who are willing to have your payments reviewed and adjusted, so that they coincide with your pay checks. Double your minimum payment especially on cards with the highest interest rate. You’ll be crossing out one card after another. (Cutting your card in half is best option though ^_^) (“I will be debt-free”)
9. Have a savings account
Put a reasonable portion from your paychecks into your savings account. That way, you won’t have to do your purchases using your credit cards. Start learning to budget from the cash you have on hand. (“I will be debt-free”)
10. Seek credit counseling if you find your situation overwhelming
But make sure you’ve done steps 1-7 first!
Get inspiration from people who’ve been over the great debt experience. Many got their lives back in order. . . You can, too!