As we settle into working from home, social distancing, and wearing masks while walking the dog, to say everything has been a little stressful would be an understatement. And that’s not even taking into account our typical life stressers –
specifically financial debt.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, you were not alone if debt caused you stress. Millions of Americans suffer from anxiety and depression because they have difficulty paying their financial obligations.
Whatever the cause of the debt – be it over-spending, salary reduction, or emergency expenses such as medical bills – the action you take to beat the “bill blues” is the same. Here are five ways to help overcome debt stress.
1. Talk About It
If you are depressed about money problems, you may feel alone. Yet the moment you begin to discuss it, you will find you are not only in immense company, but that discussing it can make you feel a lot better.
If you feel your “debting” is compulsive, you can talk to a credit counselor at BALANCE for no cost if you are a member of the credit union.
Log on to Debt and Budget Counseling or call toll-free 800-777-PLAN (7526).
2. Put It In Perspective
It’s hard not to focus on all the negative going on, but ask yourself: Do you have your health? The love and support from friends and family? Focus on the good things happening in your life. It’s hard, but you are going to need to be optimistic
to make positive changes.
3. Confront the Problem
Rather than hiding from bill collectors, regain control by answering the calls. Understand the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act,
a law that protects your rights as a consumer. Write to your creditors to explain your situation. Include what led to the problem (even if it was your “fault”) and how you plan to fix it.
4. Fight Inertia
Doing nothing is easier in the moment, but it will catch up with you quickly. Try building a budget, paying off the debt in increments, even destroying offers for more credits cards in the mail. Consider removing your name from promotional lists by visiting www.optoutprescreen.com or by calling 888-5-OPTOUT (888-567-8688).
5. Prioritize Your Spending
Chances are, there are some expenses you can reduce or cut out that can immediately relieve some of the pressure. Review your spending plan and eliminate expenses that aren’t absolutely essential. Prioritize according to necessity – basic
needs such as food, housing, utilities and children’s expenses come first, and everything else after those.
These five ways to help overcome debt stress can steer you in the right direction, but it’s up to you to step on the gas and get going. Be proactive about your finances. Financial stress affects more than your bottom line, it impacts your health
as well. So take care of yourself during this global crisis – physically and financially. You’ll be happier for it.
BALANCE is an amazing resource for all our members to utilize when taking on life's milestones. With trusted guidance available for free, they are ready to help everyone on the path to financial wellness. This article and many more can be found on their website: balancepro.org.