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5 Ways to Get Out of Debt

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5 Ways to Get Out of Debt

From Experience Life

Americans are wallowing in debt like never before. Counting all types of debt, from mortgages to student loans to credit cards, three out of four of us are in the red, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances. In the first quarter of 2008, average household consumer debt (not including mortgages) amounted to more than $19,000, according to Federal Reserve data. While the current economic crisis has tightened restrictions on lending and led to a slight decrease in average personal debt load, falling home prices, negative net worth and stagnant wages have made existing debts all the more challenging to wrestle into submission. And most experts predict the current recession will be protracted and harsh.

The strain that debt puts on personal finances is significant, but that’s not the whole story. What the headlines rarely mention is the high toll debt exacts on our mental and physical well-being.

Two surveys last year hinted at the breadth of the problem. The first, conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), found that 75 percent of Americans are stressed about money. The second, by the Associated Press–AOL, showed that people who were the most stressed about debt were also more likely to be suffering from digestion problems, muscle tension, migraines, severe anxiety and depression.

The good news: If we are willing to take a close look at our debt, understand its underlying causes and secondary effects, and then shift our spending habits, we can minimize not just our excess financial obligations, but also the stress-related physical problems to which they give rise.

Next: How to lower debt stress

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Read more: Conservation, Health, Life, Money, Self-Help

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Megan, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit experiencelife.com to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.

174 comments

+ add your own
10:47AM PDT on May 11, 2012

thanks

2:57AM PDT on May 10, 2012

So many people, myself included, buy stuff or experiences to make us happier. Unfortunately this only works for a while. Dealing with the pain and emptiness is the only way around it.

6:42PM PDT on May 7, 2012

thanks for share

9:08PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

thanks for the tips...

2:02PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Thanks for the article, very interesting!

1:46PM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

I'm still a bit confused. Since NO savings account of any sort will pay even a tenth in interest what I'm being charged, why should I try saving money that's earmarked for bills? And EVERY extra cent is going towards that.
I'd rather not have debt, but married a man who, every time his mom sneezes, calls for an immediate plane ticket. That's how you end up with debts that total 3/4 of his annual paycheck. I went to work for a while, but realized it was costing us more than I made between buying uniforms, washing uniforms, paying for the gas to get to work and taking away time to do everything else in the house.
And how should I deal with the fact that every time I seem to be gaining speed in paying off all our debts, some other catastrophe that ends up being expensive comes up? Like truck repairs, broken HVAC units, frig going out, etc.
Not seeing it. At least I'm not behind, there's always that.

9:46AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Thank you

7:29AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

it's overwhelming to read this for me but I think if I concentrate on one thing that I have NEVER done it would be the weekly expenditure budget with cash that would really force me to not over spend! Hmmmmm, I think I can do this!

6:09AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

Credit cards should ONLY be used for real emergencies

3:09AM PDT on Apr 23, 2012

The biggest cause of uncontrollable debt is credit companies lending the money and then piling on the interest at exhorbitant rates. And, society making so many things like internet, cars and mobile phones into necessities for those who want to live in the modern mainstream.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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