Published in: Credit Cards | April 4, 2020

28% of People With Debt Worry About It Daily

We are committed to full transparency in our mission to make the world smarter, happier, & richer. Offers on The Ascent may be from our partners - it's how we make money - and we have not reviewed all available products and offers. That transparency to you is core to our editorial integrity, which isn’t influenced by compensation.

Here's what to do if this sounds like you.

Being in debt is no fun. On a basic level, it means having ongoing payments hanging over your head and losing money to interest. But in a recent study by The Ascent, 28% of people with debt said they worry about their loan burden every single day. That's a huge mental load to contend with, to say the least.

If you worry about your debt on a daily basis, then you must break that cycle. After all, your health could depend on it as much as your finances. 

Man With Glasses Worrying

Image source: Getty Images

Escaping the debt trap

Getting out of debt isn't easy, but if you've reached the point where owing money is causing you daily stress, it's time to take action. Here's how. 

1. Rank your debts from least to most healthy

Having credit card debt is highly problematic. Not only can too much of it hurt your credit score, but it can also cost you a fortune in interest. Generally speaking, the healthiest debts out there are ones that can help you make money. 

Pay off credit card debt fast with The Ascent’s top balance transfer picks

Pay off credit card debt fast with The Ascent’s top balance transfer picks

The Ascent's best balance transfer cards can help you reach your money goals faster. Stacked with perks like 0% intro APR for up to 21 months, no annual fees, and cash back, you'll be beating your money goals before you know it.

See the picks

A mortgage, for example, lets you build equity in a home and potentially sell that home at a gain. Auto loans fall somewhere in the middle -- vehicles tend to lose value over time, but they also assist in earning money if they get you to and from work. And you can say the same thing about personal loans, which can be used for any purposes -- you can take out a personal loan to fund a new business or put a down payment on a car that gets you to your office. Credit cards, however, fall at the bottom of the pile, making them the least healthy type of debt out there. 

2. Plan to pay off your least healthy debts first

Maybe you've had an auto loan for years and are tired of paying it, while your credit card debt is fairly new and therefore a bit less bothersome. Be that as it may, you're better off paying down your debts in the order of least healthy to most healthy, which probably means you'll need to tackle your credit cards first. If you're carrying a balance on more than one card, a balance transfer is a good way to consolidate that debt and save yourself some money on interest in the process -- especially if you qualify for a card with a 0% introductory APR, which many balance transfer cards offer. 

3. Free up money to pay off debt

A plan to pay off debt will only get you so far if you don't have the money to act on it. To this end, you'll need to start cutting back on spending to free up cash on a regular basis. That could mean moving to a cheaper home to lower your rent, cooking more meals at home to avoid the expense of restaurants and takeout, or limiting yourself to free entertainment only until your financial picture improves. 

Another option? Get yourself a second job. You can use your extra earnings to chip away at your debt so that it slowly but surely disappears. And to be clear, that side gig doesn't have to be something you detest doing. You can sell homemade jewelry for cash, drive for a rideshare company, or get paid to watch other people's kids, pets, or houses. 

Worrying about debt on a daily basis just isn't good for you. If that's your situation right now, don't resign yourself to a daily dose of stress and anxiety. Instead, take steps to get rid of that debt. It could be the one thing that changes your outlook for the better. 

Don't pay credit card interest until nearly 2022

The Ascent just released a free credit card guide that could help you pay off credit card debt once and for all. Inside, you'll uncover a simple debt-cutting strategy that could save you $1,863 in interest charges paying off $10,000 of debt. Best yet, you can get started in just three minutes!