5 Steps You Need to Take to Create a Debt Payoff Plan

For people with substantial debt, it’s easy become overwhelmed when confronted with how much money they actually owe, especially if they live on a limited income It can seem impossible to work your budget in a manner that allows you to pay all of your current expenses, settle debts, and save money for emergency situations.

However, where there is a will there’s a way, and you can create a debt payoff plan, regardless of your current situation by understanding exactly how to structure your debt payment plan and lifestyle budget.

The following five steps are designed to help you create a debt payoff plan that works for you.

Rank Your Debts

The first step to take towards financial freedom is to determine exactly what debts you currently owe.

In order to do so, create a list of all the people and places who you owe by checking all of your records. It is important to list every debt that you have, as neglecting debt can lead to a hit on your credit score.

After making a list of all debts that you currently have, it is time to find out exactly how much you owe on each debt. In many instances, doing so requires getting into contact with the creditor and receiving a precise number as to how much you owe. It is also important to verify the estimation for honesty based on the interest rate established in the contract and the amount that you have previously paid on the debt.

After determining how much you owe each creditor, rank your debts from most important to least important. In most cases, it is best to rank the lowest debts first and work your way up, eliminating debts one by one as you go.

Negotiate Debts

After you rank your debts, it is time to negotiate your debts.

Many debtors fear to negotiate with creditors out of fear that they will be unreasonable and simply want their money as soon as possible. While it is true most creditors do want you to pay the debt off as soon as possible, they understand that many people struggle to do so, which gives you some leverage in the situation, as they may be willing to accept lower interest rates or even a settlement payment in order to get you to pay.

When contacting creditors, try and work out the lowest interest rates possible. In some cases, you may be able to settle the debt outright for a much lower price than originally agreed upon. However, settling your debt may require a large sum of money being paid at once, which means it may only be an option if you have money saved up.

Organize Your Budget

At this point, you should fully understand your debt situation, including who you owe, how much you owe, and the interest rates for each debt.

Before establishing a debt payoff plan, it is important to ensure you have your necessary expenses covered, such as rent, car payments, etc. The best way to organize your budget is to list all of your expenses you have each month, whether it is necessary or unnecessary. In some cases, going through a month documenting all of your expenses is a great way to gain a full understanding of where your money goes.

After creating a list of all expenses, determine which are necessary and eliminate or greatly reduce all unnecessary expenses.

After determining your expenses, you need to find out exactly how much your monthly income is, and seek additional income opportunities if you are short of meeting your mandatory expenses. While it may seem challenging, many are able to find additional income doing something they love. For example, you could consider officiating sports games, working at a bookstore, or consulting in an area in which you are skilled or knowledgeable.

Create a Payment Plan

Ideally, you should have enough monthly income to cover your expenses and still have some money left over for debt payments and savings. In the event you do not have enough income monthly to cover your expenses, you may need to continue to cut expenses or continue seeking consistent income opportunities outside of your main line of work.

After finalizing your budget and creating a surplus of monthly income, it is finally time to create a debt payoff plan. First and foremost, it is important to stay organized and make a plan with a debt payoff planner. The most recommended way to pay off debt is to pay the minimum amount possible on all debts, except for the one with the lowest amount, which you should try and pay off as soon as possible. Once a debt is fully paid off, move on to the next debt and eliminate one debt at a time.

As previously discussed, try and negotiate the lowest interest rates possible with all creditors, and settle as many debts beforehand as possible.

Save Money When Possible

It may seem difficult to save money when paying off debt and covering all monthly expenses. However, it is very important to create an emergency fund. The fact of the matter is things happen in life, and an unexpected injury or car repair is enough to derail your entire budget and debt payoff plan, leaving you feeling hopeless and trapped in an unfriendly financial situation.

Therefore, the best way to handle saving money is to treat it as another expense. Do everything in your power to save money each month, even if it means temporarily cutting expenses or finding additional income opportunities.

Even the smallest savings can help protect against the unforeseen. Simply saving a hundred dollars each month is enough to create a significant buffer that covers you in the event an emergency occurs.

The most important part of a debt payoff plan is actually sticking to it. The best debt payoff plan is useless if it is not properly executed. Therefore, be sure to stay consistent and stick to the budget. The long-term financial freedom is worth the temporary sacrifices you may have to make.

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When Your Labs are “Normal” but you Aren’t

A few months ago, I visited my primary care physician begging her to run blood work on me to test various functions: thyroid, my blood sugar (A1C), and anything else she thought could be causing the symptoms I was experiencing. I felt awful every day; like I was seriously dying. I was waking up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, sweating like I was on fire, and feeling like I was going to throw up. I was extremely fatigued- I could sleep 10 hours a night and still feel like I needed more sleep. I just felt ‘off’, like something was just not right. My anxiety had skyrocketed, much worse than usual. When I inquired about the doctor running my full thyroid panel- not only TSH, but free T3 and T4, total T3 and T4, and a thyroid antibody test as well, she told me that she would only run TSH because she was “pretty sure it would come back normal”. She also told me to try Zoloft, that she thought maybe I was anxious or depressed. I’ve been anxious most of my life, and this was definitely not normal anxiety.

Sure enough, my TSH value (as well as other labs) came back in the “normal” range, but I was still feeling like garbage. My health got so bad that I decided I would have to visit a functional medicine doctor that would hopefully actually listen to my problems and get to the root cause of my issues. I couldn’t get in to the office for a few weeks, so I tried everything I could to help address my symptoms before hand. I started making sure I was in bed earlier- your cortisol can spike if you stay awake after 10-10:30PM. It can be a good thing at the time, but then you stay up way too late and feel awful the next day. I made sure my diet was optimal- I started eating strict Paleo again to hopefully help address any nutritional deficiencies. I started taking supplements again. I did start feeling better.

By the time I saw my new doctor, I had done some work to heal my body. I felt improvement over my symptoms. I didn’t feel back to my old self, but I felt like I was heading in the right direction. After meeting with the doctor, she said she would run a full thyroid panel because she was almost positive that I was having some thyroid problem based on my symptoms.

At my next appointment, she told me I am clinically hypothyroid and to continue with the Paleo diet (I am actually considering trying the GAPS diet for some serious healing), and to take a medicine called NDT (natural desiccated thyroid) at a low dose and we would increase it if necessary. She also said that I had HPA axis (hypothalamus pituitary adrenal) dysfunction and we would work on treating that as well. My vitamin D level was also a little low- 21 was the value; she would like to see it at least 50. The anxiety and fatigue I was feeling was caused from gut inflammation, thyroid, and adrenals. She said to make sure that my stress level is low, and to not over commit to things (hard to do as a mom!).

Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms

  • Waking up feeling fatigued
  • Inability to handle stress, feeling overwhelmed
  • Relying on caffeine to get going
  • Weakened immune system
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Blood sugar problems
  • Low libido
  • Moodiness

I ordered this book, which has been so helpful in figuring out how to treat everything that’s going on. These are some of the supplements I started taking in an effort to heal my body from the mineral imbalance that is causing the hypothyroid and adrenal issues:

              • A methylated B complex vitamin- this is the correct form for people with MTHFR issues.
              • Whole food vitamin C – this is not a synthetic form.
              • Triple Calm Magnesium –magnesium is so important to the body!
              • A soil based probiotic – I love this probiotic. I can notice a difference when I take it. It helps with gut repair.
              • Rhodiola, an adaptogen that can help your body adapt to stress. This one is recommended for anxiety as well.
              • Ashwagandha– probably one of the most well known and widely used adaptogens.
              • N-A-C, a powerful antioxidant that helps with detoxification

I’ve heard ff you have a problem money can fix, it’s not that big of a problem. That makes total sense!  Dealing with a health issue has been so hard; much harder than getting out of debt!  I did have to pay out of pocket to visit the functional medicine doctor, as they don’t accept insurance.  If it helps heal me, it will be worth every penny! Some days are great, and then other days are really hard.  The healing is not linear, which is very frustrating. I am hopeful that in a few months or so I will be feeling a whole lot better! I’ll be sure to update on the healing journey.

Have you ever gone through a health problem like this?

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, this is just my personal experience with hypothyroid and adrenal fatigue. Some of the links in the post are Amazon affiliate links- I make a very small commission off them, which will help me buy my supplements.

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4 Reasons Cryptocurrency May Not Be Done Yet

It’s starting to feel as if those who have been bullish on cryptocurrency’s prospects for 2018 are running out of time to be proven correct. Bitcoin fell below $5,600 for the first time this year recently, and while a late-year surge is certainly possible, it’s unlikely at this point that we’ll see anything like what happened in November and early December of 2017. And this is merely when we consider cryptocurrency as an investment asset. As a currency, many have written it off as useless, suggesting that it’s just too impractical, too volatile, and too limited in its use to ever become a viable form of currency. 

It could be that all of the above is simply accurate and lasting. Perhaps cryptocurrency will have been a strange trading fad, a bold technological ploy, and ultimately a vehicle for blockchain technology to emerge in the world – and nothing else. However, it could also be that cryptocurrency is merely finding its place in the world, and that it isn’t done just yet. To counter the pervasive negativity that now surrounds crypto coverage, here are a few reasons to support this idea. 

1. A Market Downturn & Haven Philosophy 

Almost anywhere you look, there are mild-to-severe predictions of an economic downturn in the western world. In particular, many experts appear to see an American recession on the horizon, even if it’s not expected to be as dramatic as the last one toward the end of the last decade. What remains to be seen, if these predictions come to fruition, is how they affect currency. And the thinking among many is that bitcoin and its counterparts will be thought of much the same way gold has in the past – which is to say as a secure haven when currencies dive. Now, my writing this does not mean this is necessarily correct or even logical – but if enough people feel this way, we may see a crypto boost in the event of a recession anyway. 

2. A Sleeping Giant Of Opportunity 

There’s reason to believe that the sleeping giant for cryptocurrency legitimacy is online gaming and betting. Bitcoin and a few other cryptocurrencies are already in use at some online casinos, and figure to expand in this category due to the perception that they provide inherent security – which online gamers crave. Now, I say sleeping giant because of the gigantic and largely untapped U.S. market in these spaces. Nevada has long allowed for betting and real money gaming, and New Jersey has joined in with accessible gaming sites of its own, and recently sports betting platforms as well. Now, should this activity spread out in the U.S., and should cryptocurrency become more prevalent in the industry – both fairly likely – demand could conceivably skyrocket. 

3. Familiarity Over Time 

I won’t dwell on this idea too much, but it’s perfectly possible that people just aren’t used to cryptocurrency enough to use it regularly at this stage. It’s still quite new in the scheme of things, and downloading a crypto wallet and putting it to use can be somewhat daunting for the casual, would-be user. If cryptocurrency can linger in the public conscience a while longer however, and if wallets and exchanges get a bit easier to use, people could simply become more familiar and thus more likely to use it. 

4. Defiant Bullishness Among Influencers 

I mentioned above that those making bullish predictions on bitcoin in 2018 have not been proven right – but that doesn’t mean they never will be. Lots of predictions from industry influencers still suggest that bitcoin is heading to big numbers, even if other cryptocurrencies may not be. And the interesting thing is that some of these influencers may actually hold sway over what happens. That is to say, predictions like these from people who have made a fortune in bitcoin previously could conceivably indicate a plan to buoy the markets yet again, which is possible with the current state of cryptocurrency. A relatively small handful of investors hold a huge portion of all available bitcoin, and thus have incentive to buy more together if and when they buy back in.

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