How to rid yourself of debt for a better night’s sleep

You can live with the fear forever, or you can decide to face it and do something about it.

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Nothing used to keep my ex-husband awake at night. Me, I worried about the kids, my business, money. He’d bounce a cheque and never think twice about it. I’d agonize if I made the smallest mistake.

What keeps you awake? Do you worry about debt because all you ever seem to pay is the minimum required and the balance just keeps going up? Do you get knots in your stomach because you’re living from paycheque to paycheque and there’s a fresh round of layoffs at work. Do you toss your bills in a drawer without opening them because you don’t even want to think about how you’ll deal with them?

You can live with the fear forever, or you can decide to face it and do something that gives you a sense of control over your money and your life.

Facing the fear isn’t easy. There’s the work involved. Yes, there’s work involved. And there’s the knot that tightens in your belly as you finally dig through your money mess and sort things out. It’s worth it.

First, do a spending analysis to see where your money is going so you can put it where it’ll do the most good.

Second, create a debt repayment plan that gets you out of consumer debt in three years or less, even if you have to get a second job.

Next, create a balanced budget. Make yourself accountable by telling friends and family, “Sorry, it’s not in my budget this month,” whenever you can’t afford something.

Facing the fear is just the beginning. Once you’ve worked up the courage to look at your money in the bright light of reality, and make the changes—there will be changes—to live in the light, the darkness of fear will give way to less worry and more of a sense of  control.

I don’t worry so much anymore. While I haven’t thrown out my worry beads, I’m far more philosophical about the fact that crap happens and it’s easier just to deal with it than to spend energy worrying about it before it actually does.  It also helps that I have a very healthy personal economy: no debt, a balanced budget and a big fat emergency fund.

So, are you ready to do the work it’ll take to vanquish your nightly demons? Here’s to a good night’s sleep.

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