Debt is perhaps one of the worst four-letter words we can come up with. Just the thought of it is enough to get a lot of people stressed. For those in its grips, debt is something that threatens to overwhelm and drown them.

Being in debt is scary and often leads to a sense of paralysis where the person in that situation feels so helpless, that they often give up all hope and run the risks of losing their home and worse.

But there is hope for anyone facing tough times and who find themselves in debt. We take a look at how you can take the first steps towards untangling yourself from its sticky web.

Face Facts

It’s a scary process but a necessary one. Take a day out to tackle the issue head-on. Begin by going through your creditors and working out how much you are paying back, how much you owe and when that debt expires. You’ll very soon be able to work out exactly how much you are in debt by and how much you are paying back each month. If you are behind on payments, then work out how much you need to pay as a one-off to get you back on track.

You will, no doubt, be fully aware that the amount you pay back will generally be much more than you originally borrowed thanks to high interest. At this point, it’s often worth seeing if there’s a solution to this.

If, for example, your debt is mainly related to credit cards and you’re paying back the minimum amount each month on a number of cards, it might well be worthwhile rolling them all on to an interest-free, or low-interest card. Then you will be able to pay back the one debt, but above the minimum payment and start to make a real dent in the capital.

It’s important to note here that you should not use the card at all to accumulate more debt, give it to someone you trust or cut it up so you can’t use it for purchases.

Don’t Panic

An easy thing to say but the sooner you start dealing with the problem, the sooner you are going to find yourself on the road to debt recovery. If you can’t handle it yourself, have a conversation with a debt counselor who will help you find a path through and get your repayment plan sorted out.

The important thing is to do something, even if that’s just cut up the credit cards you currently have. Talk to family and friends about how you are feeling if you’re finding the stress is beginning to get you down. One action will lead to another and pretty soon you will be able to see a clearer path ahead that leads you out of debt and back on to an even keel.