For starters, here are five things that you can do to begin your journey to a debt-free future:
Don’t add to your debt
The first thing to do is to stop spending.
Avoid buying items that you don’t need or using your credit card unnecessarily.
Manage your finances
Organise statements, bills, receipts, and other expenses to counter-check all your documents and ensure that the amount owed is correct. Seek clarity if you are unsure about any accounts or transactions.
Create a plan or a spreadsheet with an itemised list of all your debts (with all the necessary details) and indicate how much is owed, plus interest. Establish a realistic and manageable pay schedule for each of your debts. Negotiate better payment terms where you can.
Talk to creditors
Approach creditors and ask whether they have a hardship program. Most companies would be willing to extend help to its clients as long as their circumstance is legitimate.
Talk to experts
The National Debt Helpline, which is open Mondays to Fridays from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, is a non-profit service that gives Australians sound financial advice for free. Likewise, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) also has a search database of local financial counselling organisations and legal credit aid services in its website—consumers threatened with legal action would primarily benefit most from this.
Find support from friends and family
Seek the advice of family members, or friends, who may have experienced similar hardships They may not be able to give you a direct solution but they may know people who can. Sometimes confiding to your family can alleviate some anxiety.
Find ways to earn more money
It might help to take up a part-time job, or two, if you can.
If another job is too much, think of other creative ways to pay off debt. Maybe you’ve got a skill or talent to profit from, like drawing illustrations or painting fences.
You can also sell unused items that are in good condition.
These suggested are a sound start to improving your financial wellbeing.
This information has been sourced from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and ASIC's Moneysmart.