Join our weekly #CreditChat on Periscope, Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Twitter, and Snapchat every Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET. This week, we talked about ways to deal with debt shame. The panel will include: Marsha Barnes: Founder of The Finance Bar, Rod Griffin: Director of Public Education at Experian and Mike Delgado: Director of Social Media at Experian.
To keep up with future chats — or to suggest topics — please join our #CreditChat group on Facebook. We’d love to have you join us.
Sometimes the shame people feel about their financial situation will cause them to avoid it altogether. This will only escalate the situation. Take proactive steps to gain control of your finances by taking stock of how much debt you are in and who you owe. If you are unsure where to start, request a free copy of your credit report. By law, you are entitled to free copies of your credit reports from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax every 12 months. Get yours at AnnualCreditReport.com.
This is a tough, but important step in your journey to overcome debt shame. Coming clean with your loved ones about your situation and the shame you are feeling will allow them to support you and help you to avoid spending temptation. You will feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.
Oh no… it’s the dreaded “B” word! Budgets are important, because they put you in control of your money. Your budget should include your housing expenses, gas, food, utilities, bills, savings, and a little bit of fun money. This is also a great time to see if you can cut out certain bills or find cheaper options.
So you’ve figured out who and what you owe, now it’s time to set the wheels in motion. Prioritize your debt. Some people prefer to tackle high interest debt first (Avalanche method), while others prefer to start with their lowest balance (Snowball method). Do whatever works best for you. If you are at a point where you are still feeling hopeless, you may want to talk to a non-profit credit counselor.
The idea of getting completely out of debt can seem daunting and sometimes unattainable. Mini goals will help you to stay the course. These goals can include: Sticking to your budget for three months, paying off your first credit card, saving a certain amount for emergencies, or even your first month without collection calls.
If you feel as though you’ve reached the point of no return with your debt or you’re just really lost on where to start, don’t be afraid to seek help. We recommend talking to a non-profit credit counselor. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is an excellent resource.
If you’ve never heard about #CreditChat, here is a brief overview: