How Not to Lose Hope When Dealing with Debt

Latin Business Man Worried Paying Bills On Couch

Debt, particularly having a large amount of it, can be both mentally and emotionally draining. Instead of submitting to all the negative feelings that are rushing through your head every time you see that outstanding balance number, there are a few things you can do to help ease your financial worries and maintain a healthy life balance. Here are the methods I try to keep in mind to help me deal with my debt:

Stop comparing your situation to other people’s

It can be difficult to keep feelings of envy at bay when you think you’re the only one in your friend group who suffers from debt. The important thing to remember is that comparing your debt to everyone else’s financial situation  A.) won’t make it disappear anytime faster, and B.) doesn’t serve any purpose other than causing you an exorbitant amount of stress. Debt comes in many forms, and just because you have one type of debt doesn’t mean your peers are in any better financial shape.

Continue saving for other goals

When it comes to debt, the light at the end of the tunnel can potentially be so many years into the future, it’s difficult to keep hope alive in the interim. It is said that the anticipation of a trip can oftentimes lead to more happiness than the trip itself; a great way to stay motivated is by adding money to several different savings goals each month to give yourself fun things to look forward to in the short-term.

For example, my bank allows me to have up to 20 differently named savings accounts, and it significantly increases my happiness when I see the amount for “Summer Trips with Friends” and “New Beauty Products” grow little by little.

Have free stress-reducing hobbies

Having a substantial amount of debt can definitely take a mental toll. It’s easy to let thoughts of your (seemingly impossible) future financial freedom completely consume you and add even more stress to your day-to-day life. This is why it’s essential to have hobbies to help lower that stress — ideally ones that are free and can be accessed anywhere. Think: meditation, reading, writing, exercise, outdoor sports and exploring new places by foot.

Get a side hustle

This is a piece of advice that I feel is much easier said than done. I feebly attempted to secure the elusive side hustle by applying to a few part-time gigs here and there over the course of my first post-grad year, but when I didn’t land anything I became discouraged and stopped altogether. It wasn’t until I tried much harder to reach out to people in my professional network and continued applying to several things each week that I finally started working on a few side jobs. Now I have a cushion of income each month strictly dedicated to paying off my debt.

Read personal finance blogs

Numerous money and personal finance blogs are out there just waiting for your eyes to feast upon them. I’ve found that regularly reading financial blogs has been beneficial to me personally because they’re a free source of inspiration on how to save money, motivation on how to pay off my debt faster when I read about how others did it, and a reminder that I am not alone in my journey to get rid of debt as quickly as possible. My favorite finance blog is The Financial Diet, which also regularly features lists of other financial articles around the internet that I’ve found fun to read as well.

Originally published on September 8, 2017.

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Nicole is a Boston-based young professional in the tech industry with a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan. When she's not writing, she enjoys exploring her neighborhood by foot, reading whatever she can get her hands on, and obsessing over beauty blogs. Follow her hilarious tweets here.