Overwhelmed by Debt? 8 Steps to take now!

Shannon Cairns

January 15, 2020


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I see you friend, because I was you! You’re searching for answers, because you are completely overwhelmed by debt, and have no idea where to start.

Although there might not be one clear answer to overcoming your debt anxiety, there are definitely some things that are NOT the answer.

  • The answer is NOT bankruptcy.
  • The answer is NOT loan forgiveness.
  • The answer is NOT staying stuck and giving up.

I believe in you, and know that deep within you, is the power to take action and completely change your financial situation.

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    At the end of 2018, my husband and I were completely lost when it came to our finances.

    We had over half a million in debt due to student loans and financing our medical practice.

    We thought we were doing all the right things, so we were frustrated to be making six figures and still living paycheck to paycheck.

    We enrolled in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, which I highly recommend!

    We went through the course at the beginning of 2019, but we still struggled with getting started.

    Today, I’m sharing with you ten simple steps to take when you feel completely overwhelmed by debt.

    8 Steps to Take When You’re Overwhelmed by Debt

    Add up all of your debt

    You can’t create a plan or take action, unless you know how much debt you have.

    A lot of people avoid facing their debt, thinking it will just stress them out.

    The truth is that the “not knowing” is actually what’s increasing your stress.

    Once you know how much debt you have, you can make a plan, and that’s truly half the battle for overcoming overwhelm.

    Create a debt payoff plan

    The simple act of creating a plan will help you feel less overwhelmed.

    Now that you added up all of your debt, it’s time to create a plan so you can start attacking it!

    A good plan will have clear goals set for how much debt you plan to pay off each month.

    You should even be able to set your debt free date!

    Don’t worry about interest rates

    Worrying about interest rates, just adds another barrier to overcoming your overwhelm.

    The debt snowball method is a much more effective way of paying off debt.

    Yes, it’s not the mathematically “smart” answer, but it works because it’s motivating.

    Order your debts from smallest to largest and attack the little one with everything you’ve got!

    Take Action

    You will feel so much better once you start taking action on your debt.

    There’s something that happens when you start making progress…you want to keep making more progress!

    It’s like when your house is a disaster and you don’t know where to start.

    You muster up the energy to clean the kitchen and once you finish that you’re motivated to keep going.

    You move on to the living room, and before you know it the house is sparkling and you feel GREAT!

    Shift your mindset

    The mind is a powerful thing.

    Whether or not you decide to take action and change your finances is totally up to you.

    You can do this, but you have to believe that you can!

    Keep going

    Start reading every day, follow other people in the #debtfreecommunity on Instagram, or make a vision board.

    Do whatever you need to do to stay motivated.

    Find people like you that are doing this, with your similar income or family situation. They are out there.

    Go on a spending freeze

    If it seems like more money is going out than coming in, and you think you’ll never gain traction, try a spending freeze!

    A no spend month (or couple of months), might be what you need while you figure out how to budget.

    Pay all of your minimum payments and necessary bills, but stop all miscellaneous spending.

    This will give you a better idea on what you need to cut from your budget, or if you desperately need to increase your income by grabbing a side hustle or changing jobs.

    Ask for help

    Seek the help of a financial coach or someone you know that manages their finances well.

    Sometimes you just need a new set of eyes on your budget, to point out issues that might be keeping you from making your budget or debt payoff plan work.

    Grab my free budget planner and get weekly motivation to stay focused on your debt payoff journey.

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    hi! I'm shannon

    I’m a wife, mom of three, doctor, and blogger! In 2018, I decided to turn my mom blog, into a personal finance blog so others could follow along on our journey to pay off over HALF a MILLION dollars in student loan and practice start up debt. I hope you enjoy following along, and maybe even find some inspiration along the way.