39% of Women Plan to Pay Down Debt Over the Next 12 Months. 6 Tips to Tackle Your Debt

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  • While debt is a common struggle, ignoring it can have negative consequences.
  • Following a budget, increasing your income, and prioritizing high-interest debt could help you tackle your debt faster.

Getting out of debt is a really smart move.

Many people end up in debt at some point in their lives. Debt can negatively impact your credit score and cause stress. However, even if you've accumulated a significant amount of debt, there are ways to get out of it to improve your financial situation and life.

A recent Fidelity Investments study examined women's outlook on their careers, finances, and overall well-being since the pandemic. While nearly half of the women reported that their outlook on money and economic issues are worse compared to last year, that's not stopping them from making money moves that will allow them to reach their personal finance goals.

Here are two notable findings of the study:

  1. 30% of women plan to start or add to their emergency funds over the next year.
  2. 39% of women plan to pay down debt over the next year.

Savings for future expenses and paying off debt are both smart money moves. If you have a lot of high-interest debt, it may make sense to primarily focus on debt payoff first, so you have more extra income to allocate to your savings goals.

Are you struggling to pay off debt, or does it feel impossible? The following tips may help.

1. Be honest with yourself

It will be challenging to improve your situation if you're not honest about where your finances stand. While it can be uncomfortable to review your finances if things aren't going well, it's essential. Take the time to figure out how much debt you have so you can make a realistic plan.

2. Learn to budget

If it feels like you don't have enough money to put toward debt payoff, you likely need to make some money habit changes. Setting and following a budget is an excellent way to have more control over your finances. If you're new to budgeting, budgeting apps can make the process easier. You can set spending limits in areas where you need to cut down on unnecessary purchases and free up extra income toward your debt.

3. Prioritize high-interest debt

Some interest rates are more manageable, while others are sky-high. If you have high-interest debt, like credit card debt, it can continue to accumulate very quickly the longer it exists. It's in your best interest to pay down higher-interest debt first to pay less money overall. This is known as the debt avalanche method. Consider this as you plan out how you will tackle your debt.

4. Get a side hustle or part-time job

If you can commit to a side hustle or part-time job, doing so could help you boost your income. With more money coming in, it could be easier to pay down debt faster. While working extra hours may not be ideal, doing so, even for only a few months, could be a win for your finances.

5. Track your progress

If you have a large amount of debt, it may feel like your progress is going slowly. But any progress is a big deal and will have you closer to reaching your debt payoff goals.

Keep track of your total debt and the total debt you've paid off so you can celebrate the small wins. Doing this may help you stay motivated on your journey.

6. Don't be afraid to get help

You should never feel embarrassed about asking for help. Many of us are guessing our way through life and doing our best with limited resources.

If you're struggling with paying down your debt, it may be time to seek guidance from others. Hiring a financial advisor is one option. Your advisor can help you develop a detailed plan tailored to your situation and goals.

Another option is to take advantage of free online resources that can help you achieve better success. Don't neglect social media content from money experts and online resources like The Ascent's other personal finance articles to help guide you through the process.

No matter where you are in your financial journey, don't let your debt get you down. You're not alone in your financial struggles -- and there's always a way out.

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