Debt is a stressful thing to be in and eliminating it can provide you with freedom and a better quality of life. Here’s how to do so.

1. Figure out exactly where you stand.

Before you can start tackling your debt problem, you need to get a solid idea of exactly how much you owe, how much money you have coming in, and what your monthly expenses are. The first step in getting rid of debt is to gather together all of your financial documents so that you can take a detailed look at your income and expenses. Take note of exactly where your money is going. Don’t forget to include bank fees, interest, and other hidden expenses. Your everyday expenses ranging from school lunches for your kids to car maintenance costs should also be included. Track all of this data in a spreadsheet so that you can see exactly where you stand. Although this step can be challenging, it is essential if you really want to find a way out. The more honest you are with yourself, the more likely you are to come up with a plan that will help you get rid of your debt for good.

2. Identify your necessities.

Once you have a clear understanding of where your money is going, you can decide which expenses are necessities and which expenses are optional. Typically, necessities include your housing costs, taxes, utilities, and food. After you identify these expenses, you can then focus on making them your priority. Ask yourself whether or not any of these expenses could be reduced. However, don’t make any cuts to these items unless you are sure you can stick with them for the long run.

3. Take care of the most pressing problems first.

Tackling your debt can be a scary prospect – especially when you are receiving threatening letters from creditors. Until you acknowledge everything that you owe, however, it will be impossible for you to get out of debt. Open up all of your mail from your creditors and evaluate which items are the most pressing. Documents from the court are particularly important to pay attention to. Make sure that you closely adhere to any timetables that are set out in these letters and that you show up for any court appearances that are scheduled.

4. Understand that you have choices.

There are a variety of different ways to deal with debt. The best option usually will depend on the amount of money that you owe and the amount of money that you have coming in. Analyze your budget to see if you can find extra money that you can apply toward your payday debt or other outgoings. If not, don’t feel too discouraged. There are still options available that can help you deal with your outstanding debt.

5. Get help if you need it

There are plenty of professionals and organizations out there who are dedicated to helping people deal with debt. Find a reputable debt management group in your area that can help you decide how best to proceed. After analyzing your financial situation, they can give you advice on what steps you should take. Just make sure that you are working with a well-respected organization. Avoid companies that want you to pay a fee before they give you any advice.