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How to start dealing with debt


How to start dealing with debt

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Our experience in a shopping centre

My wife and I went to our local shopping centre on the 24th of December. 

We bought a couple of things and then had a coffee at a coffee shop. 

It was the most interesting thing to people watch – people running around like demon-possessed ants trying to make sure they are stocked up for the end of the world. People were queuing for miles to pay for their gifts and then again for getting their gifts wrapped.

I find there’s a fundamental flaw in our thinking – we have this idea that everything should be perfect, otherwise we are ‘not good enough’.

Look, I am all for the idea of buying something for someone special. I am also for making a difference in people’s lives. Yet, I think what we need to rethink this.

What we need is a mind shift before we buy the world. 

But, well, it’s now the time of year where we want to die due to credit card debt and lie awake at night because we are worrying about the end of the month not coming soon enough.

If you blundered, you blundered

Be honest with yourself. The R 2 000 bottle of wine was nice, but nobody noticed. You might as well have bought a R 100 bottle of wine.

The sad thing is we don’t know where to start. We think that one day we will get it under control. 

We believe the government will take care of us.

Related: 5 Signs that your debt is getting out of control

Okay, so let’s start

Once you’ve come to the realization of what’s going on, you need to find out how big the issue is. 

You need to know the numbers.

All of them.

Open your bank account and credit card statement. 

Write down the numbers. 

The sooner you get this in place, the better. Think about all monies coming in and going out. Write everything down, including what you can do to resolve this. 

Remember, there are two main ways to handle debt:

  1. Get more income,
  2. Cut your expenses. 

Related: Is all debt bad debt?

What if you need help?

Sometimes you cannot deal with it on your own.

There are just too many things. 

We get blinded by our own world.

The world offers options. Some of these include:

  • Personal finance coaching – get someone to sit with you and look through your matters
  • Use a budgeting app like 22Seven. You will be able to check how you spend.
  • Have accountability with a close friend who you trust.

Try and avoid debt collectors and debt councilling – these will stay on your records for many moons and will cause chaos in your life. Try everything in your power to avoid bankruptcy. 

I know it’s not easy. 

Do it for yourself and your family.

Related: Debt consolidation – who is it for and how does it work?

Lower expenses

If you see any places you are overspending before reaching your goals, tweak your plan and adjust the way you live. 

As in one of my recent twitter polls, many people just don’t carry money to start off with. 

Maybe it’s not worth it going to the mall for that ‘window shopping’ after all?


It’s so worth thinking about how to tackle issues in our life. 

Though not easy, get people you can trust around you to talk about your finances.

Know exactly how big the issue is.

Start lowering expenses and creating more income.

So, go now.

And start getting that debt monster under control.

Article reposted with permission from Frugal Local. Original post here.


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Carl Barnard

Hey, I am frugal... I love talking about property and money. Some interesting facts about me: I drink too much coffee. I have walked the Camino de Santiago twice. I have the most awesome wife. I am a software developer by day.

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