Heavy debt can make you feel as if you’re drowning. You may feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest preventing you from breathing, feel out of control and feel panic that keeps you from thinking clearly.
Until you formulate a plan for getting out of debt, you’ll keep floundering and the debt situation will only get worse. When you’re finally determined to rectify the situation by doing everything possible to get out of debt – it’s time to formulate a plan.
First, carefully assess your debts. You can request a free credit report each year from the three credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. You’ll likely find that you’re even more in debt than you realize.
After you carefully analyze your situation, you can take a plan of action. If you’ve had some especially bad marks on your credit reports – such as charge offs – you may be able to negotiate with the creditor(s) or work with a debt counseling service.
Most people hate the word, “budget,” but that’s the next step in ensuring you get out of debt as soon as possible. Alter your lifestyle to exclude everything you’re spending money on that isn’t necessary.
Take your lunch rather than buying it every day, slash your cable and Internet services to the minimum, check car and other insurance programs to see if you can adjust your deductibles and lower your premiums, walk rather than working out at a gym and look at other monthly spending to see where you can cut out or lower payments and spending.
After you’ve tweaked your budget all you can, you likely have some extra money to pay on bills. If it’s not enough to stretch as far as it takes to pay all your bills, contact some of the businesses where you’ve accrued small bills to see if you can work out a plan.
Try to pay the bills which are regularly reported to credit bureaus. Make sure you pay your rent or mortgage first and then pay on the loans or credit cards which have the highest interest rates. Then pay the as much as possible on the remainder of your debts.
Stabilize your credit by doing things that will restore your credit score with credit bureaus. Establish a savings account with your bank and perhaps get a prepaid credit card.
These steps will show creditors that you’re serious about reestablishing your good credit and that you’re taking the necessary steps to repay your debts. Realize that you do have options and that filing for bankruptcy should be the last one you consider.