Debt can be crippling to a family and the stress that mounting debt can cause can be devastating. Whether you can’t afford repayments, have been made redundant, or feel like your debt will never come to an end, here’s a few pointers for you and your family:

Talk to someone

Firstly, you need to share your debt. If you’re keeping it to yourself, you can feel quickly overwhelmed. So, even if you know it will upset people, a problem shared is a problem halved and the truth about the debt needs to be shared with everyone who realistically needs to know. You can also seek help through counsellors and debt advisors.

Don’t feel ashamed

Remember, you are not alone. According to statistics, since 2007, about 402 000 consumers have applied for debt counselling and over R10 billion has been paid to credit providers by consumers in debt counselling. Also, every month about R255 million is collected from consumers in counselling and paid over to their creditors. It is estimated that 110 000 consumers are in debt counselling. So – don’t be embarrassed

Come up with a plan

Then write it down with other family members. It can be easier to write things down and see things laid out on paper. Write down everything you have coming in which is spare and what you can repay each month – be realistic. Stick to your plan. Put it up on the fridge, the office – wherever you are reminded.

Don’t get in more debt

Many people feel so disheartened by their debt that they get in more debt, because they think, ‘why not?’ But this is not the attitude to take, especially if you already have a lot of credit cards or you have been applying for several loans online. Payday loan provider Wonga S. Africa, blog that ‘bad debt’ i.e. debt that is spent on unnecessary items, can be the worst type of debt. It can quickly escalate and get out of control. Avoid adding to your debt and if necessary, put a halt to your credit cards in the meantime. Make sure all family members are on the same page.

Switch providers

Make sure that all your outgoings are the best deal you can make. So when it comes to energy, negotiate a good contract with your provider and switch if necessary. The same goes for any insurances, phone bills, groceries and so on. Don’t accept the price you’re given, because real savings can be made when you haggle. Keep a spreadsheet of what’s going in and out, and when you switched, to keep all the information in one place. This can really help you to organise your life and get your admin in order. You may notice some spare money somewhere in your accounts which is going unnoticed, and you could use this to help pay down your debt.

Every penny counts

It can seem like an uphill battle but try and keep on top of your debt and remember that any amount of money, however small, can help in the long run.