If you’ve experienced a time, or are currently experiencing a time, when you have unpaid bills adding up and lenders or creditors calling, you know how miserable it can be. While your instinct might be to curl up and cry, you have to get up and improve your circumstances. The sooner you begin to address your financial issues, the sooner you can relax. It’s important that you don’t ignore the bills adding up because that could only worsen circumstances in the long term with interest fees and late charges.
If your circumstances feel unmanageable, it’s important to face them. Not only will facing your issues help you to sooner tackle them, but you’ll feel empowered when you work to find solutions to your problems. We’ve come up with step by step instructions to help you start now:
Step 1. Identify the issue(s)
This might seem obvious but when you’re feeling overwhelmed it’s difficult to know where to start. Clearly define the issues you need to solve. You can’t move on to solving the issues without understanding exactly what those issues are.
To get a better idea of your overall circumstances, find the facts or figures you need to answer the following questions:
- What is your net worth?
- What is your income?
- What loans, payments, and bills do you have?
- How much do you owe on each?
- What is your credit score?
- What are your loan’s interest rates?
- What are the interest rates on your credit cards?
- When are the due dates?
- Are you living above your current means?
- What are you spending each week?
- What are you spending each month?
These questions may seem difficult when you’re stressed but having the answers will give you some relief because you can then move on to working to improve your circumstances.
Step 2. Rack your brain for ideas
Grab a pen or open your laptop and without thinking too much, make a list of any problem-solving ideas that your brain comes up with. Let the ideas flow instead of criticizing or judging them. Don’t rule any idea out just yet.
Your list might look something like this:
- Collect the $100 John owes you
- Sell extra belongings
- Ask for extra shifts
- Ask for a raise in salary
- Apply for a second job
- Decrease less than necessary expenses
Step 3. Choose a solution (or multiple)
At this point, you should review your list and draw a line through ideas that don’t seem workable. Choose a solution or solution(s) that seem appropriate for you right now. You can always return to the list if the first solution you choose doesn’t work out.
Step 4. Start taking action
At this point, it’s time for you to take action. While you might lack motivation right now, taking action will motivate you to take more action. Often, the most difficult part is starting. Get to work on the solution or solutions you’ve chosen. If it feels overwhelming, break the solution into steps. Focus and prioritize and you’ll be able to follow through.
Keep your purpose or goal in mind as you’re working on solutions. Be careful to avoid criticizing yourself, what good does it do? Focus on the tasks at hand and keep a positive attitude and you’ll be able to improve your circumstances, whatever they may be.
Step 5. Take a moment to assess and evaluate
After you’ve tried and hopefully succeeded with one or more solutions, take a moment and evaluate your work. Did you solve your problem entirely? What more do you need to do? What could you do better? Don’t forget to congratulate yourself on taking action, even if it was unsuccessful, you will eventually succeed. The effort it takes to take action when dealing with the stress of debt can be immense, but you did it. You’re a stronger person because of this.
If the solution(s) you took were unsuccessful, consider returning to step 1. You may not have identified the problem correctly. If that’s not the problem try brainstorming more potential solutions. Then follow the same steps. With effort, you can improve your financial circumstances, no matter how dire they may first seem.