Living with debt sucks. Not only can it lead to added stress, it can ruin relationships with your friends and your family, and even lead to health problems. However, there is no way you need to take being in debt lying down. Sure, the mountain of bills and the unceasing march of due dates can be a lot of handle but the situation is not impossible. With that in mind, here are five ways to get you out of debt and save your life.

How Do We End Up in Debt?

For some people, it is easy to caste those struggling with debt as irresponsible, but the truth is often more complicated than that. While some people living with debt are not good at managing their money, for others the costs of trying the maintain a middle-class life can be too much.

Think about it, the costs of education, housing, and healthcare have increased significantly faster than wages and this has put tremendous pressure on most people. Even if you major in something more practical than underwater basket weaving in college, you might end up graduating with more than $150,000 in student loans. To make matter worse, these loans will haunt people well into their 30s or beyond.

Then there is the cost of housing. For some people, they suffered when housing prices crashed and only now are their homes worth more than the balance due on their loans. For others, they just don’t make enough to afford a decent home. This is especially true in high-cost areas like San Francisco or New York.

If that wasn’t bad enough, then you have healthcare costs in the U.S. which can run into the tens of thousands for even routine treatments. Given this, it is no wonder that people pay $5,000 per year or more for health insurance.

With these factors weighing against you, it is easy to understand how even hardworking, frugal people can end up with debt ruining their lives. But how can they get out of debt? Read on as here are five sure-fire tips. If this isn’t for you, then check out this link for another option –

1) Stop Borrowing Money

While this might lead to additional hardship in the short-run, debt often begets more debt. So, if you stop borrowing money and they focus on paying off the loans you already have, you will not only start to make some progress but you might even end up with no debt at all.

This also goes for your credit cards. While you might not think that using a credit card is borrowing money, that is exactly what it is. If you really want to get out of debt, leave your credit cards at home. Doing so will force you to use cash or go without.

2) Set up an Emergency Fund

Some advisors recommend a fund of $1,000 but for those living with debt, this might be too much, too soon. As such, set a small goal – like saving $20 per week – then as you get to $200 or $300 in your bank account, then set another goal.

By using a ‘baby steps’ approach you will make the ‘impossible’ possible. Not only will this give you confidence but it will get you into the habit of saving money. An added benefit of this approach is that you will really like the idea of having money left over in your account every month.

This money can then be used for something exotic – investing. Don’t go for anything risky at this point, instead put your money in certificates of deposit or savings bonds. Both vehicles will help you benefit from compounding interest as your money starts to work for you.

3) Have a Budget

While this isn’t exactly rocket science, you would be surprised how many people don’t have a budget. This is a shame as having one in place will better help you track home much money is coming in and how much is going out.

Another thing that having a budget does is it will force you to make some tough choices about your lifestyle. If you are working a job where your income is inconsistent, then you’ll need to take this into account when planning and having is the best way to identify potential issues.

4) Get Organized

The worst thing you can do is try to pay down all your debts at once. This is not to say that you should ignore some debts; however, you will need to prioritize. In the beginning, pick on or two to pay down completely. Doing so will free up more money to then move on to the next debt and so on. In addition, getting organized will help you feel a sense of accomplishment and this will give you the confidence to keep going.

5) Set a Goal

Hoping to get out of debt is not enough. Set a goal, map out that goal in your budget, and then stick to it. This is the only way to get out of debt and in the process, you will get your life back.

By Eddy

Eddy is the editorial columnist in Business Fundas, and oversees partner relationships. He posts articles of partners on various topics related to strategy, marketing, supply chain, technology management, social media, e-business, finance, economics and operations management. The articles posted are copyrighted under a Creative Commons unported license 4.0. To contact him, please direct your emails to [email protected].