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Like car alarms that go off at 3 a.m. or those echoing drips in the bathroom sink, financial worries are costing many Americans sleep, according to a recent poll by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.
Nearly 4 out of 5 poll respondents said money worries kept them awake at night. Those results might be a little skewed because the poll was taken via the NFCC website, and presumably many of its visitors are people with credit problems. Still, the point is valid. When someone has money problems, those problems tend to creep around in the middle of the night, making misery.
Keeping money worries at bay
Here is the key thing to remember: The middle of the night is not the time to confront your financial fears. You need to work on them in the light of day, when you can do something constructive about them. Here are some positive steps you can take to put your financial worries to sleep:
- Create a budget to get current expenses below income. Debt may be your most troubling problem, but you cannot think about reducing it until you stop overspending. Focus on the present by formulating a budget that brings spending below income. Only then can you begin to think about addressing your debt.
- Prioritize debt by interest expense. Line up those credit card statements on the kitchen table, and sort them from highest to lowest interest, so you know which sources of debt are the most costly.
- Target high-interest credit cards. With your credit cards prioritized by interest expense, start attacking the highest ones first.
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