Today’s article is written by Cat Alford from Budget Blonde:
Looking at a big pile of debt is scary. Like, you might have sweaty palms with your heart beating quickly and perhaps even a touch of nausea as you take in that number.
You know the number I’m talking about – the total amount of the debt you owe – the one that most people ignore for years before it finally comes calling.
How to Stop the Anxiety
Feeling this way is normal. After all, paying back that much debt is a daunting task but there are a few ways to beat it.
- Know You’re Not Alone
Even thought it might seem like you’re the only one walking around with debt on your shoulders, that’s not the case at all. In fact, most people have debt whether it’s in the form of a mortgage, student loans, or credit card debt. Be open about your debt. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all make mistakes from time to time, and getting support will help ease that anxiety.
- Make Mini Goals
I think about my husband’s six figure student loan debt every day, but if I thought about paying it all off in one lump sum, I’d go crazy. You have to take things one day at a time, one small amount at a time. Whether you can only pay $10 above your minimum payment or whether this year’s bonus will wipe out half your debt, thinking of it in smaller, more manageable payments will help you to keep the anxiety at bay.
- Reward Yourself Along the Way
Many people in the personal finance world are pretty strict about debt repayment. Not me. When I pay off a large amount, say $1,000-$2,000 at once because I worked hard, I might go get an ice cream or a manicure, something small. A $20 purchase won’t set me back too far, and it’s a good way to encourage me to get through the next hurdle. If I see a shirt I like, I might tell myself that if I work hard and make a $1,000 payment towards my debt, I’ll allow myself that purchase. It all becomes a bit of a game, a challenge to myself. If you are competitive by nature, I would recommend something similar. Remember, small treats along the way keep you motivated and happy when the end seems like such a long way off.
- Stay Calm
I am pretty high-strung most of the time – I’ll admit that easily. So, sometimes when I look at my debt I get all hyped up, worried about how long it will take to pay it back. Sometimes I think I’ll never take a vacation again and then it becomes a swirl of negativity that leaves me feeling defeated and just plain sad. I’ve noticed though that if I just stay calm it helps. If I look at the numbers and make my plan of attack, it seems doable. If I just take a deep breath and remind myself I can do this, I start to believe it.
These are just a few ways to quell your anxiety about debt all while trying to beat it along the way.
How do you overcome anxiety in your life whether it’s about debt or anything else?