There are few things worse than the panic that comes with discovering just how in over your head you are with money troubles. While the temptation to freak out and give into your anxiety might be strong, we have a few suggestions to help you stay on top of your situation even when it feels like everything is falling apart.
Don’t Play the Blame Game
No matter how much you want to push the responsibility for your money woes off on someone else, the hard truth is you have to own up to and accept your own accountability. While it’s true that in some cases the blame is equally shared with others, don’t let your anger and bitterness control you and stop you from taking the steps you need to in order to clean up the situation. Allow yourself to accept the part you played in what happened, and move on from it. There’s no point stewing in regret; all it does is stress you out even more.
Get All the Facts
Understand just how bad the situation is. As tempting as it is to bury your head in the sand and hope it all goes away, you have to force yourself to open every bill, check every online account and make sure you understand everything about how much you owe and what penalties you might face. If you don’t feel confident doing this on your own, ask someone you trust to help you and act as a moral support. You can also book a meeting with someone at your financial institution who can help you break down your situation in detail so it’s easier for you to understand (and on the plus side – they might be able to advise you and offer suggestions you never would have known about or thought of on your own).
Stay in Control
It’s tough to feel like you’re still the one with power over your own life when you’re faced with financial difficulties. Don’t forget that no matter how much is being thrown at you, you are still the one in control of your life. You’re still the one who gets to make the decisions about your future and how to tackles the challenges ahead of you. Don’t concern yourself with the things that are outside of your sphere of influence because they’ll only stress you out further. Make a list of what you can control vs what you can’t and focus on changing the things that are within your power.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ever. If you’re not sure what a certain charge is for, ask. If you don’t know exactly what you’re expected to pay back, ask. Banks and other financial institutions would much rather work with you than against you. Be as proactive as possible; if you’re upfront about your situation and show that you want to get out from under your debt, you’re demonstrating that you’re responsible and courteous (which can only help you in the long run).
Write Everything Down and Keep Track
Make note of every phone call, every in person meeting, every email and every paper letter that comes in the mail. Having a concrete timeline to refer to will help you if you ever need to dispute something in future (or if you have trouble understanding anything about your payments). Even if you never end up using it, it’s always better to have a record where your finances are concerned.
Don’t Make any Impulsive Decisions Concerning Your Finances
No matter how stressed out or anxious you are, do not make any sudden decisions without looking at other alternatives and seriously spending time considering whether or not it’s the right move for you. Talk over your options with someone you trust before making any decisions; there is nothing worse than the regret you feel after making a rash decision that could have been avoided had you waited and weighed your options first.