Getting Off the Debt Treadmill – Stop Running In Place and Start Making Progress

This is a guest post by Trisha Wagner. Trisha is a freelance writer for DestroyDebt.com, a debt community featuring debt forums. Trisha writes regularly on the topics of getting out of debt and personal finance.

Using a treadmill as part of your exercise regime can be a helpful tool in keeping your body active and healthy. Unfortunately, far too many people are running on a different type of treadmill — the treadmill of debt — and it is definitely not good for the health of your mind or body. For families living paycheck to paycheck and can’t pay their bills, the frustration of trying to beat back their growing levels of debt can make life seem almost unbearable. Fortunately, there is hope for people trying to jump of the treadmill of debt. The following tips can help you stop racing to catch up and get your feet firmly back on the ground.

  • How did you get here? The first step to getting out of debt doesn’t actually involve money. There are many people who are suffering financially through no fault of their own. Perhaps they lost their job or had medical issues that kept them from work while racking up huge medical bills? However, these cases are not the majority. In fact, many people dealing with staggering levels of debt got into financial trouble by making bad choices regarding money. With that in mind, before you can truly begin your journey toward debt free living you must understand how you got yourself in your current position in the first place.
  • Financial responsibility. After years and years of overindulgence people are finally coming to terms with the fact that many Americans lack financial responsibility. With the introduction of credit cards several decades ago people slowly lost sight of what it means to live within or below your means, now an entire generation has to learn how to manage money responsibly again. Simply put, this means you have to spend less than you earn AND actively put money aside for future expenses.
  • Make changes to get out of debt. If you find yourself worrying how you are going to keep making the minimum payments on your high interest credit cards you have to make changes immediately in your lifestyle. Get rid of your credit cards and stop incurring debt starting today. Obviously the way you have been handling your finances is not working so the next step would be to determine what changes you can make to get back on track and find financial stability. Closely examine where you are spending money each day and cut out unexpected expenses which will put money back in your budget for debt repayment. Find a method of debt repayment that works for you and your financial situation and begin aggressively paying off you debt. If you find you are unable to develop a strategy on your own do not be ashamed to seek the help of a reputable, experienced financial advisor.

The key to getting off the never ending treadmill of debt is to face your situation head on and actively work toward reducing your debt and regaining control of your life. Millions of people before you have been in the same situation and through discipline and sacrifice have been able to overcome high levels of debt and find financial stability.

Trisha Wagner is a freelance writer for DestroyDebt.com, a debt community featuring debt forums. Trisha writes regularly on the topics of getting out of debt and personal finance.

Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle

My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.

4 comments
Kristy @ Master Your Card
Kristy @ Master Your Card

I like the analogy, Trisha, but I felt this was a fluff piece. The only tangible piece of advice you gave was to figure out how you got into debt in the first place. But getting off the debt treadmill requires more than that, like Nate said, it's an attitude adjustment. It's about making a plan and figuring out how you can stick to that plan. It's about budgeting and learning ways to be frugal. You gloss over these things, but I was pretty excited by the analogy, only to be let down by the piece not being fully realized.

It deserves more attention.

Ken
Ken

Good info..I wrote a post on this same topic a few weeks ago. I believe it is 7 tips. I like your idea of identifying why you got there...this is important!

Miranda
Miranda

I love this analogy. It is a great point that serious changes need to be made. And I like the idea of owning up to what you did to get in the mess. I ended up doing it in my own life, and it allowed me to see what I needed to do to avoid the same problems going forward.

Nate @ Debt-free Scholar
Nate @ Debt-free Scholar

You need to change your mindset to get out of debt. If you do not change your mindset, any other changes will only be temporary.

Thanks,
Nate