Tips & Advice

Three ways to overcome debt stress

Presented by Balance

Millions of Americans are suffering 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. If overwhelming debt is causing you stress, you are not alone.

Confront the problem.
Rather than hiding from bill collectors, regain control by answering the calls. Be calm and rational. 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.

Fight inertia.
Doing nothing, while easier than taking action, will get you nowhere. Get up and get out, but resist the urge to shop if your spending is out of hand. If you are already loaded down with debt, and keep receiving offers for more credit cards in the mail, destroy them and throw them away. Consider removing your name from promotional lists to stop receiving offers of credit or insurance.

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.