The trouble with debt is that it tends to accumulate without you even realizing. One day you’re putting something on a credit card without giving it a second thought, the next you’re opening letters asking for loan repayments or struggling to pay bills. Once you get to a point when you’re reliant on credit, or you find yourself running out of money before payday arrives, it’s very easy to fall into a debt spiral. If you owe money, it is possible to move from the red to the black. Here are some tips that may prove useful.

Assessing your financial situation

Many of us bury our heads when it comes to debt. We throw statements and bills on a pile of unopened mail, and we avoid checking our balance, keeping our fingers crossed that cash will continue to slide out of the ATM when we put our card in. If you’re a self-confessed ostrich, it’s time to face the music. Until you know exactly how much you owe, it’s impossible to move forward. It can be a daunting prospect but be brave, open those statements and check your accounts online. Write everything down, and then you can start thinking about which debts you need to clear first and how you’re going to take the first step to getting back into the black.

Make sure you earn money while you figure things out

Don’t sit back and feel pity for yourself. Make sure you earn money while you figure things out to move forward. I’ve listed 50+ ideas to earn extra income from home, from starting a blog to watching videos (yes really – it can be that easy!). Once you have your own business that you run from home in a very passive way, you can try to challenge yourself to double your earnings with this course challenge, $5k in 21-days.

A step by step plan to getting out of the debt spiral

Seek expert advice

If you’re in debt, there are various paths you can take, and it’s best to seek advice from a financial expert to determine which option is best for you. It may be possible to clear your debts by moving credit card debt to a new card that offers interest-free balance transfers or by reducing spending and using savings to pay bills that are overdue. At the other end of the spectrum, you may be in a situation where it’s impossible to cover debts, and you might be advised to consider seeing a bankruptcy attorney. It’s always a good idea to consider all the options that are open to you, and an independent expert can provide you with information that will help you make the right decision.

Prioritize your debts

Often, when you’re in debt, you have different types of debt. You may have a credit card, store cards, a loan or household bills, for example. It’s wise to prioritize your debts, as this will help you save money in the long-run and also protect your credit rating. If you’re paying a fortune in interest on a credit card, for example, switch to 0% card and try and keep up with minimum monthly payments. If you’ve got bills that are final demands, pay these before you incur penalties or creditors take legal action. It’s best to clear debts that are costing you money first.

Controlling spending

Once your debts are under control, it’s important to take action to ensure you don’t end up in the same boat again. Draw up a monthly budget, avoid turning to credit and try and live within your means.

If you’re in debt, it’s best to act as quickly as possible. It’s not difficult to get tangled up in a web and find yourself hurtling down a slippery slope. Hopefully, this guide will help you get back on the straight and narrow.