Live Better and Healthier While Getting Out of Debt

Ask any Medical Doctor, Psychologist or Marriage Counselor about major causes of stress, disease and divorce, stress about finances and debt will nearly always pop up in their top 2-3 answers. Getting out of debt will ease that stress and improve our physical, mental and relationship health. However, most feel that the process of getting out of debt is just as stressful as the debt hanging over one’s head. That need not be the case. 
Getting out of debt can be not only fairly pain free, but can become fun and make you happier and healthier. You don’t have to wait until some long off date to reap these rewards, you can start feeling better and living better on day one! Here are some tips:
Step 1– Save Money: Every dollar you don’t waste is like a dollar raise on your paycheck. Think before you buy. If you are in a store and looking at something of significant cost and really like it. Turn around and go home. Wait until tomorrow or the next day. If it doesn’t feel like it is worth the effort to drive back to the store to get it, you didn’t really want it that bad. Eat at home more. Get excited about cooking. Watch cooking shows more and learn. Learn the joy of making your family and guests happy with food. Educate yourself about healthy eating. It will always be cheaper than eating out. Most people will save hundreds per month and be healthier. If where you need to go is under a mile, walk. Bikes make good transportation as well. Cities often have buses or trains. Try them. They aren’t so bad and can save you money every day. Carpooling can help you make good friends. Check your monthly expenses. How much is your phone bill? Maybe it is time for a switch. Check out other cell companies, with cheaper monthly rates, such as Boost Mobile or Virgin Mobile USA. How about the cable or satellite bill maybe it’s time to “cut the cord.” Perhaps a switch to online media services, such as Netflix, Hulu Plus or Amazon Prime can drastically lower your bill. Even the pay channels like Showtime and HBO can be had online as well as CBS. 
Getting Out of Debt
Step 2– the Credit Rating: Figure out what you owe. Make a list of what you think you owe and get a credit report. That all important credit number seems to rule our financial lives. You may dread doing it, but there may be less bad news on your credit report than you think! A debt you may owe may have rolled off your report because of an expiration of the statute of limitations or maybe it wasn’t reported to the “big 3” credit agencies. Fix the mistakes. Some debts that you don’t even owe may be holding your credit rating down. Get those bad entries removed and you will get an instant credit rating boost. Pay off the tiny bills first. Rather than trying to pay a little to everyone at the same time, take what money you do have and pay off any small delinquencies first. Having 1 larger bill is more desirable than 1 big one and 4 or 5 tiny ones. 
Step 3– Break the Minimum Payment Habit Take the time to learn about the power of compound interest. Just the understanding of how much of your bill is interest may shock you. Pay more than you have to, and ask much as you can afford. For example, paying just a few hundred a month more than required on your home mortgage may take years off the time it will take you to pay it off. 
Step 4- Student Loans Even if the monthly bill is high, don’t freak out. Everything is negotiable. Work with the Department of Education and you can get your payments reduced to no more than 10-15% of your monthly income. Even if you are already in default. They will make arrangements that if you pay these reduced payments for several income quarters, they will take them out of default status. See if you qualify for deferment or forgiveness. Certain life circumstances and jobs will totally get you out of your loans. 
Step 5- Better Yourself and Follow Your Dreams Don’t let yourself feel stuck in your current situation, job or career. Realize that your life can change, sometimes it happens overnight. That type of hope is not irresponsible, it is responsible. Educate yourself. If you have your dream, take the time to learn what it will take to follow that dream. If there is new knowledge you need, go back to school or teach yourself with online resources. If your dream job needs experience that you don’t have on your resume. Take a small part time job or even volunteer. Every day you will know you are closer to your dreams. Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. Each of these steps takes time. But as you follow them, you will not only become more financially stable, but you will become happier and healthier every day.”

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