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You might be puzzled by the words debt and happy being in the same sentence, but rest assure there is a way for the two to coexist. While it’s true that debt can sometimes suck all of the happiness out of you, addressing your debt head-on is your most accessible ticket to living a less stressful and happier life.

Getting out of debt can seem like an impossible thing to overcome, but you can come out of debt on top. Here are some helpful tips for getting out of debt and being happy.

Know your ‘why.’

Maybe you’re thinking about getting a new car for your family, going on a family vacation, or wanting to purchase a home. Knowing your ‘why’ for getting out of debt is an excellent place to start when addressing your debt. Whatever your inspiration may be, make sure you have an apparent reason for wanting to get out of debt because addressing your debt requires some sacrifice. It may be tough at times, but the financial goals you set for yourself will be your motivation to see yourself through it.

Create a budget and stick to it.

Having a set budget will be essential as you work to get out of debt. A budget will allow you to create a spending plan for your money, keep track of your monthly expenses, and make sure you aren’t overspending. This is one way to pay down debt faster, but it will require you to cut down your costs as much as possible. Having a set budget will help you save money, track your progress, and make your dreams a reality. A budget will also help shed light on bad spending habits and prepare you for emergencies. Keep in mind that though money may seem tight while you’re living on a stricter budget, that this is just a temporary situation, and you are one step closer to living debt-free.

Pay more than just the minimum payment.

The best way to pay off any debt faster, especially when it comes to loans, is to make more than just the minimum payment. Making larger payments will save you a lot of money on interest throughout the life of your loan. Whenever you find yourself with any extra cash, dedicate that money to paying off your debts. Whether it's credit card debt, car loans, student loans, or mortgages, order your debts from smallest to largest and attack the smallest debts first. By chucking more money into the payments, you will be able to get rid of the smaller debts faster. Be sure to check if your loan charges any prepayment penalties before you start making larger payments on them.

Get a part-time job.

If you’re willing and able, getting a part-time job will provide you with the extra income to pay off debts. Be intentional with your job search and try to find a part-time job that you will enjoy doing. Lining up your part-time job with any hobbies or interests you have will give you that extra boost in motivation to work. Ensure that the part-time job you land is centered around your schedule and lifestyle, not the other way around. You never want to take a part-time job that puts your primary source of income in danger. Your part-time job could be anything from retail or childcare, a remote position that allows you to work from home, or starting a small business.

Explore financial tools.

There are tools designed to help get your finances in order and ultimately out of debt. A balance transfer will allow you to transfer debt from one credit card to a new credit card at zero percent interest rate for a set amount of months. Balance transfers don’t solve your debt problem, but they can buy you time to make more significant payments towards your debt.

Debt consolidation loans allow you to consolidate multiple debts into one affordable monthly payment. There will be a fixed term and monthly payment, depending on the amount you owe, and you have the satisfaction of knowing that your debt will be paid off at the end of the term.

Credit counseling is another financial tool that can be used to address your debt. Credit counseling or debt management will provide you with expert support on how to manage your debt efficiently and effectively. Sometimes debt can become too much to handle, and the knowledge that a credit counselor can provide will help educate you on your debt and how to avoid it in the future.

There may be times during your journey to become debt-free that you become discouraged and start to doubt your ability to be debt-free. This is entirely normal when working towards any goal, but you should also be doing things to make you feel supported throughout the process.

As you work to pay off your debts, make sure you are devoting time to do things that genuinely make you happy. This will ease the tension debt can sometimes cause us and provide a healthy distraction when needed. Your efforts to becoming debt-free will allow you to be creative in your free time. Doing things such as spending time with your family, developing a new skill, or expanding your social circle are all things that don’t require you to spend loads of money to do.

During this chapter of rebuilding, make sure you are celebrating the small wins you have along the way and savor all of the sweet moments you have. Debt can be scary when you aren’t prepared with the resources or knowledge to handle it, but by taking steps to acknowledge it , you are moving in the right direction. Give yourself a pat on the back for taking the initiative to address debt that could be holding you back from the life you are meant to live and look forward to all of the fantastic things that are ahead of you. Debt can weigh heavily on you, but once you can get rid of it, you will notice how easier it is to enjoy life and breathe.

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