There are so many tips and tricks out there for getting rid of your debt quickly but the reality is that it takes time and DISCIPLINE. I was in over $50,000 in debt as a 23 year old and I felt so pathetic every day for it, but the reality is that we've all struggled with money some how. The key is the make money WORK FOR YOU and stop being in denial about your debt and money management. The sooner you respect money, the easier it will be to manage and enjoy.
Get Angry & Face it
Okay, this is probably not the first thing you thought I would suggest but it is very necessary to initiate the process. Let's be honest, nobody cares where you went to school or who your parents are. Your debt becomes a representation of you no matter what upbringing you had, so get over it and accept reality. We all make mistakes so we must own up to them and getting angry is step one. My debts made me a broke person. Does that mean I am poor? Hell no, but it does make me angry to know I have been so mindless and irresponsible to get to this point. A point where I felt pathetic every time I looked at my bank account or I had to cancel or avoid plans with friends because I couldn't afford gas. That made me really angry and that anger turned into strength to GET IT TOGETHER. So get angry. That anger will fuel your need to stop spending on unnecessary things and prioritize what you actually need.
Increase your income
I know, I know, easier said than done right. BUT, this is the key to speeding up the process. I started selling clothing and electronics online and let me tell you it has been a huge help. Although it's difficult to let go of things you worked hard in the past to obtain, that doesn't mean you won't be able to have them again. It's time to prioritize, so letting go of that camera you saved for when you were sixteen, can only bring you a better one in the future. Besides, there's always something newer and better. Remember that no work is beneath you and you have to HUSTLE.
Call your credit card company
As much as you don't want to call the credit card company and go through every possible number to get a representative, it will all be worth it in the end. I know how hard it is to be vulnerable and tell a complete stranger you either lost your job or simply aren't earning enough to pay your debt, BUT on the plus side, you don't have to look at them face to face! lol No but seriously, I dreaded calling and seeking for payment options to relieve my outstanding balance. But the outcome is usually always much better than the situation you are currently in, so don't knock it till you try it. Think about it, if someone owed you something you would want to try to come up with a solution to get your money instead of not getting it at all, right? Well, the credit card companies deal with this stuff everyday and you aren't the only person calling for a payment adjustment. I personally cancelled 2 out of 4 credit cards because the interest rates and late fees were murdering me. I rather have a bad record with cancelling my account rather than suffering with even more debt accumulating each month.
Budgeting is tedious but it's going to be your new BFF. I like to simplify things by using Apps and useful charts to have a better understanding of my expenses. After writing down all of my monthly expenses and seeing how much money I had coming in, I almost peed my pants! Not only was I spending way too much on unnecessary things, like two monthly subscription boxes (one for me and one for my dog), Netflix & Hulu, a movie theater pass and monthly razor refills. Like come on, I watch probably three movies a month and it's from the comfort of my couch so why am I wasting $10 a month for "just in case" occasions. I was way in over my head here. I also noticed that I was spending so much money on "miscellaneous" items which included, DIY supplies for YouTube videos I never came around to film, buying things that said "Buy one get one 50% off" when in reality I didn't need two items or ordering things on Amazon. Having that visual representation of my fucked up habits was such a reality check. Check out these apps for easy budgeting and bill tracking.
I am financially illiterate which means I was never taught how to manage or even respect money. Yes, I grew up in a low-income household with a single parent, but that doesn't mean I was taught the appropriate mechanisms of handling money. I just new it was hard to obtain and hard work needed to be accomplished. I was never taught about stocks, interest rates or what a 401k was. Besides, everything they teach you in school is completely irrelevant when it comes to finances and accounting. I like to ask questions. This was definitely my biggest mistake when starting "adulthood". I wasn't asking the right questions. So what are they anyways?
What does interest mean? How long do I have before I need to pay this off? Can I refinance after a year? Can I have someone co-sign? What can I remove from my policy? Do you have a payment plan? What is the difference between Roth IRA and 401k? etc.
This is why we must go out of our way to find the right books, ask the right questions and learn everything we weren't taught through experiences even if they may come off as setbacks. I highly recommend you read these books:
Remember to be kind to yourself and trust your struggle. Financial trouble can always be reconciled with dedication and discipline, like everything in life. If you are having money problems or any types of adversity in your life it doesn't mean you will be going through it forever. Be patient and practice good habits. You have to GO through it to GROW from it!