Dealing with Debt

Debt Management Starts With Changing Your Behavior

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Do you find yourself deep in debt? Have you enrolled or experimented with any debt settlement programs, but that just left you worse off than before? Are you tired of worrying about money every month? If so, you are not alone. Millions of Americans find themselves in a similar situation every single day. If you said yes to any of these questions, you may need some help and a Debt Management Program could do just that.

The good news is there are solutions that could work for you. You can fight to dig your way out of debt. The bad news is that it will not be easy. You will have to do your part to be responsible and diligent. You’ll need to change your spending behavior and the way you handle your money each month.

So, the first question is: Where do you start? Now that you recognize there is a problem and want to find a solution, what is the next step? First and foremost, you have to be accountable to yourself for your not so great financial situation. You must perform an honest self-appraisal of your spending habits, your saving habits, and your future financial outlook if you want to correct the current course that you’re on.

Second, you need to do a monthly budget analysis. Where is all of your money going each month? Are your debt payments too high? Is your mortgage payment eating up too much of your income? Creating a budget will help you know exactly where your money is going and it will also point out some possible cut-backs you can make to save more money. When we are going through difficult financial times, our spending habits need to change and we need to be able to recognize a “want” Vs. a “need”, before we make a purchase.

After creating a budget, you need to take a minute to analyze the emotions underlying your spending habits and possible reasons for debt. Do you shop as a form of therapy when you are down or depressed? Do you spend to keep up with the neighbors? Do you vacation to exotic locations that you really cannot afford to deal with boredom or stress at work? Whatever the case may be, you need to find your “spending emotional trigger” and put an end to it. Find a less expensive way to deal with stress, boredom, depression, etc. If you have a hobby that really weighs down on your pocketbook, then find a different hobby that’s just as fun, but won’t put you in debt. Once you know what causes your bad spending habits, you can try to deal with it or stop it all together.

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Finally, you need to change your bad spending behavior one step at a time. You don’t have to be perfect and it’s not going to be easy. Start out by talking to a certified credit counselor for free at a Non-Profit Credit Counseling Agency. Then, begin taking small steps toward saving money, like bringing a sack or bagged lunch to work instead of eating out every day. Try becoming a super “coupon clipper”. Remember, one small change can make a difference!

As long as you stay committed and focused, you can improve. Never forget, where there is a will there is a way! If you want it bad enough, you can change your spending behavior and begin to live a frugal lifestyle. Best of all, you can reduce your stress and increase your happiness in the process!

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Author: Lauralynn Mangis
Lauralynn is the Online Marketing Specialist for AdvantageCCS. She is married and has two young daughters. She enjoys writing, reading, hiking, cooking, video games, sewing, and gardening. Lauralynn has a degree in Multimedia Technologies from Pittsburgh Technical College.