Debt can become a crippling weight around your neck. Not only will debt demand your money but it can also prevent you from living the life you want to live through blacklisting and bad credit. Getting out of debt is very difficult because it takes more than changing where you put your money, you may have to change your entire life. Let’s take a look at the steps involved in getting yourself out of debt.

The debt trap

Of course, not all debt is created equal. And a lot will depend on how you ended up in debt in the first place. If you are carrying debt that is not affecting your life your considerations will be different from someone who is on the verge of having their property seized over debt. Then there are situations which we see more of on the ground where people accumulate small debts and they eventually snowball into trouble. You can read about the debt trap in detail in this article. However you got into debt, the next 5 steps will help you get out of it.

Know your position

They say the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging it. You will be surprised how many people know they are in debt but do not know just how much they are in debt. Add to that not knowing how much of the debt is interest and/or penalties. Also, consider that those penalties and interest will continue to increase the amount the longer it is outstanding. You need to know the size of the hole you’re in to know your way out of it. Many people would rather skip this step because it is emotionally confronting.

Consider Consolidation

This is not available to everyone in the same way but it is a viable method for dealing with debt.  You can find professional debt consolidation services that will pay off all your debts and leave you with one payment to make. This is something to consider because it takes the weight off. Having 20 different conversations with 20 different people about what you owe them is taxing on even the best of us. It is not available for everyone or all debts equally but it is worth considering. It’s also worth noting that consolidation is not a walk in the park. It has its drawbacks too but is at least worth considering.

Free up cash flow

The hardest part of getting out of debt is changing the way you do things. You see, the reality is barring one major catastrophic strain on your finances you likely walked or waded your way into debt. This means that getting into debt was more of a process than an event. The reason you want to free up cash flow is so you can make payments on your debts. The hard part about freeing up cash flow is that more often than not it means changing the way you live and do things. This is where most people fail.

Stick to the plan

Having a plan is one thing, living it is another. Sticking to your get out of debt is a hurdle many find hard to climb for a few reasons. It’s bad enough you’re in debt but now you have to take away things from your life? No fun. As you deal with creditors you will find once you negotiate plans with them it is best to stick to those plans you have made. Defaulting makes things worse and as much as it may hurt to give all that money away with no improvement in your life you must find the strength to stick to the plan.

Remember how and why you got into debt

Finally, I think it’s important to remind yourself of how you got where you are. Hear me out before you walk thinking this guy hates me and wants to see me in more pain. They say in life you will repeat the lesson until you learn the lesson and it’s very easy to forget the real reason we ended up where we are. Perhaps you were in an unfortunate situation and had to borrow. This is where emergency funds and savings come in. Perhaps you were forced to borrow to make ends meet. Could you be living beyond your means? There’s a lot you can learn from this and it can also add to your motivation to stay the course.