Navigating Debt: 3 proven practices for Caring Professionals

Navigating Debt: 3 proven practices  for Caring Professionals

For those of us tackling card debt, the sheer number of recommendations can be overwhelming. Where to start? What to do?

For those of us tackling card debt, the sheer number of recommendations can be overwhelming. Where to start? What to do? 

My goal is to pay off my debt within two years just because I really want to go back to school.” – Jordann, The Beans community member.

Jordann is a community health worker who has a goal of enrolling in nursing school in the next two years. She experienced a layoff during the pandemic and as a result, accumulated debt on several credit cards. She is employed now, and finding it difficult to find her way out from under the monthly interest charges that keep stacking up. Jordann made a Plan with The Beans and joined a Community Session with Dr. Brittne, MD and money coach. Here’s 3 proven practices to try. 

Be Your Own Best Advocate

Creditors want to get paid, which means they want to work with you.  They won’t know about any external factors impacting your ability to pay like job loss or illness unless you tell them.

Telling them means calling them up and sharing your situation – how empowered do you feel to advocate for yourself like this? Initiating the call might feel intimidating, but you can be your own best advocate. 

“So I may seem a little nervous, but I know people have done it and I know I can do it.”-Jordann

Start with the creditors that you are in good standing with and that you have been with the longest. Negotiate for a better interest rate or different payback terms by using phrases like this, “I am committed to paying my debt in full (good to start here!). I was laid off but have found a new job. Will you lower my interest rate?”

You can do your homework beforehand to bring some competitors rates and share them, and don’t be afraid to ask to speak with a supervisor. 

You can also work with your lender to create a repayment plan. These are sometimes called hardship programs and are designed to support you in exactly these kinds of situations. Ask, “can we set up a payment plan so I can make progress paying this off?”

It may feel super counter intuitive, but you will catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so reinforce your relationship with your creditor and be kind to the person who answers!

Conduct a Subscription Audit

Dr. Brittne challenged Jordann to review her current recurring subscription charges one by one to see if they are still needed and if they still bring her joy. Are there some that can be paused, downgraded, or altogether canceled to save on monthly expenses? For example, do warmer temps translate to outdoor workouts? Maybe it’s time to pause or cancel that gym membership. If commercial-free music brings you joy then it is probably worth the upgrade, but if you don’t mind the occasional break-in for that slightly annoying ad then drop your ad-free subscription and start saving.

The Side Hustle Supplement

Everyone has talents and treasures to share with the world and if you can find the time in your schedule the supplemental income from a small side hustle could help with debt payoff. Jordann works full-time, but her schedule is flexible so she can take on clients who have part-time or temporary home care needs. She is also exploring how she can leverage her other talents like writing and administrative skills to earn supplemental income that will go straight to paying off that debt. 

Negotiating your interest rate, reviewing your recurring expenses, and upping your side hustle game are all strategies to consider when you are tackling credit card debt. Of course, like many things, debt is personal and not one size fits all. Building your personal Plan for your finances in The Beans app is the best way to get started and for our premium members don’t forget to join an upcoming Community Sessions for that small group, peer support. Paying off your debt is within reach!