Written by Charlotte Wood (last updated February 21, 2009)
Debt is so hard to extricate yourself from, especially once you're trapped. When you're in financial straits it's difficult to see the way out and sometimes the situation even seems hopeless. Fortunately, finding debt relief isn't as impossible as it may seem. There are a few ways to relieve your debt and find your way back onto firm financial footing.
One of the first things to do is eliminate any extra costs that you don't need that are adding to your money problems. One very common method, despite its difficulty, is selling your house and either downsizing, renting, or both. Take that mortgage load off your shoulders and focus on other fiscal responsibilities for a little bit. This is often a last resort solution, but one that lifts a significant financial burden off your shoulders and one that in many cases prevents bankruptcy. It allows a better chance for a clean slate and gives you the chance to figure things out without your $2000 mortgage payment weighing over your head. Renting is usually cheaper and gives you a less stressful way to build your credit back up, making room for another future mortgage, one which you'll be able to pay.
Debt relief comes in small steps; it's just more stressful and overwhelming if you think about it all at once. Focus your sights on eliminating the most pressing debt: the utilities, the mortgage, things you'd be hard pressed without. Then you can hone in on the extra debt like credit cards and car loans. No debt is good debt but you do need to focus on what needs to go first. If you make that debt priority list then it will be easier to adjust your finances. Sitting around and pining for things you can't afford won't relieve you of debt; if anything it will increase it because you'll succumb to your unnecessary consumer wants.
Much of debt relief happens through your attitude. Even though this sounds a bit cheesy, if you change the way you think about you money and spending habits, your money and spending habits will change. You need to veer off into the frugal mindset, the one that says with firmness: "no I can't buy that CD because I can't afford it. I'll get it another time." If you discipline your mind then your habits will be disciplined as a result.
Debt relief isn't impossible, it's just hard sometimes. But like most difficult endeavors, the energies put into debt relief will pay off in financial security and freedom. If you take it one step at a time, figure out other ways to rearrange your money, and change the way you think about and act with your money, then your situation will change for the better.
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