In Debt Up to Your Eyeballs? Here’s What You Can Do About It

By Jackie Beck   Updated 05/10/2021 at 11:43 am

Let’s face it, when it feels like you’re in debt up to your eyeballs, it can get a little discouraging.

This is especially the case when most of the debt is concentrated in just one or two large loans, such as a student loan or a mortgage. But it can also be the case if you have a bunch of smaller debts that add up to a large amount.

So what can you do if it feels like you’re overwhelmed by debt?

Multiple smaller debts

In the case of the multiple smaller debts, using a debt snowball can help you get a handle on things. You’ll feel especially good once you pay off the first debt in your list, which usually happens relatively quickly as you start throwing everything you can at it. You feel like you’re making progress, and that feels good. Gradually, you’ll become less overwhelmed by debt.

Big pile of debt, one lender

But what if you’re in debt up to your eyeballs, but owe all the money to just one lender? Even if you owe the same amount of money in total (say, $100,000) as a person who has a whole bunch of smaller debts spread out across multiple lenders, and you actually make the same amount of progress as the other person, you may not feel like you’re making much headway.That’s because when you’re in debt like that to a single lender, you don’t get any quick wins.

Feelings matter

It may sound a little silly, but the way you feel about the work you’re doing to get out of debt really does make a difference. Because when you feel positive and successful, you keep at it. And that means you keep right on getting closer and closer to achieving your goal of being debt free.

So if you’re not feeling it, create some wins. For example, even if you owe a bunch of money to a single lender, you can still set milestones and stretch goals — and then really take the time to celebrate when you reach each one.

Setting milestones

You might set milestones like this:

    1. $1,000 paid off
    2. $5000 paid off
    3. Paying off the next $5000
    4. Paying off the next $10,000
    5. Etc.

Or they might be more about your current balance, such as:

  1. Balance under $95,000
  2. Balance under $90,000
  3. Etc.

In either case, you’ll have visible progress marks to keep yourself on track. And before you know it, you’ll have paid off a hefty chunk of debt. You’ll also feel good while you’re doing it — and be more likely to continue doing it, because you’ll be making your progress visible.

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What to do when you're in debt up to your eyeballs

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