It is week 2 in our month of tackling money stress on The Stress-Less Show and I am so excited because this week, we are talking about the financial monster in all of our closets - debt. I know, NO ONE likes talking about all of the debt they have stacking up, and trying to keep debt under control and start to pay it off seems downright impossible most of the time. Fortunately, it is not impossible and I brought back our wonderful guest and money mindset expert, Mala of Wise Women Smart Money, to help us break out of our debt fears with some beginning steps we can take towards addressing the debt in our lives.
For many of us, there is a lot of shame that comes along accumulating debt and that shame plays a major role in preventing us from escaping it. There can also be worry or frustration there too. Whatever emotions you are feeling towards your debt, Mala’s first step is to start understanding those feelings head-on.
“Start writing down what you feel about debt. What are the feelings? Is it shame, anxiety, stress, pressure? What do you feel about debt? Once you get an understanding of your feelings around debt, try to get into a neutral space.”
Operating from a clear and neutral space about the debt you have will help you in not only understanding your own feelings and stressors but also help you move forward on paying off your debt. When you reach that neutral space, Mala’s next tip is to start facing the debt you have directly by listing out every single one of the debts you owe and their payment terms so you can actually see what you need to pay off and can make a plan.
“We need to see it to understand it. We need to understand how we feel about it. And we have to understand by taking a look to see what the balances are because most people that I've worked with are not looking at their balances. They're too ashamed or anxious about it.”
This part may seem scary to you, I get it, but once you have your list, you can start planning how to start repaying them. When it comes to repaying your debts, Mala had a couple of suggestions on how to practically approach your debts. One suggestion is to start paying off your debt balances that have the highest interest rate. That way, these balances don’t keep accumulating interest while you work to pay everything else off.
Another suggestion is to start by working to pay off your smallest debt balance and then work your way up towards paying off your higher balances. Both Mala and I recommend using this method. “I actually recommend paying off your small smaller balances because that psychologically helps you to build up your confidence so you can do this and builds momentum.” When I used this method and finally paid off my first credit card balance, I felt like a total queen! That is the energy you want to bring into your financial situation so you can feel capable of paying off those balances once and for all.
Finally, you can use this understanding of your situation and repayment plan of attack to start thinking about more ways you can bring in money to pay off those debts. You can start by creating a list of all of your fixed assets - furniture, clothes, shoes - and seeing how much of it you don’t actually need anymore so you can sell it if needed. Mala stressed that when coming up with extra money, creativity is key.
“You have to come up with creative ways of earning extra money whether it's a side hustle, getting a second job, selling items in your home that you no longer need... Once you start brainstorming, there are ways in which you can come up with extra cash to pay off your debt. It's not a challenge that can't be overcome.”
All of these steps are designed to help you start feeling empowered to take control of your financial situation so that you can free yourself from unnecessary financial stress and fear. However, both Mala and I know just how difficult it can be to start addressing debt head-on. If you feel like you are really struggling with your debt situation, Mala is offering a complimentary 30-minute phone session with her to help you start to reframe your thoughts around your debt and work towards finding clarity in your financial situation.
You can email Mala at firstname.lastname@example.org in order to set up your conversation. Spots are limited and are available on a first come first serve basis so make sure you grab one soon!
You can also grab a free five-minute meditation from me by clicking here. If you are starting each day with stress and overwhelm - because of money, work, or something else - this meditation will help you go from dreading your day to loving your day as you start to release some of that anxiety building inside of you!
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