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Lung Cancer Risks

Lung Cancer Risks

What Causes Lung Cancer

Anyone can get lung cancer. Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lung mutate or change. Various factors can cause this mutation to happen. Most often, this change in lung cells happens when people breathe in dangerous, toxic substances. Even if you were exposed to these substances many years ago, you are still at risk for lung cancer. Talk to your doctor if you have been exposed to any of the substances listed below and take steps to reduce your risk and protect your lungs.

Smoking

Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. It causes about 90 percent of lung cancer cases. Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that are known to cause lung cancer. If you still smoke, quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your lung health. Learn how to quit smoking.

Smokers are not the only ones affected by cigarette smoke. If you are a former smoker, your risk is decreased, but has not gone away completely—you can still get lung cancer. Nonsmokers also can be affected by smoking. Breathing in secondhand smoke puts you at risk for lung cancer or other illnesses.

Reduce your risk:

·      Don’t start smoking

·      Quit smoking if you smoke

·      Avoid secondhand smoke

 

Radon

Radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that exists naturally in soil. It comes up through the soil and enters buildings through small gaps and cracks. One out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is subject to radon exposure. Exposure to radon combined with cigarette smoking seriously increases your lung cancer risk.

 

Reduce your risk: Test your home for radon. You can do this with inexpensive, easy-to-use test kits sold at hardware stores.

Hazardous Chemicals

Exposure to certain hazardous chemicals poses a lung cancer risk. Working with materials such as asbestos, uranium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and some petroleum products is especially dangerous. If you think you may be breathing in hazardous chemicals at your job, talk to your employer and your doctor to find out to protect yourself.

 

Reduce your risk: If you are exposed to dust and fumes at work, ask your health and safety advisor how you are being protected.

 

Particle Pollution

Particle pollution refers to a mix of very tiny solid and liquid particles that are in the air we breathe. Evidence shows that particle pollution—like that coming from that exhaust smoke—increases the risk of lung cancer.

 

Reduce your risk: Help fight pollution. Work with others in your community to clean up the air you and your family breathe.

 

Genes

Genetic factors also may play a role in one’s chances of developing lung cancer. A family history of lung cancer may mean you are at a higher risk of getting the disease. If others in your family have or ever had lung cancer, it’s important to mention this to your doctor.

Source https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/lung-cancer/learn-about-lung-cancer/what-is-lung-cancer/what-causes-lung-cancer.html

 


How to Prevent Diabetes

What is type 2 diabetes?

If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels are too high. With type 2 diabetes, this happens because your body does not make enough insulin, or it does not use insulin well (this is called insulin resistance). If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, you might be able to prevent or delay developing it.

 

Who is at risk for type 2 diabetes?

Many Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes. Your chances of getting it depend on a combination of risk factors such as your genes and lifestyle. The risk factors include

·         Having prediabetes, which means you have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes

·         Being overweight or having obesity

·         Being age 45 or older

·         A family history of diabetes

·         Being African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander

·         Having high blood pressure

·         Having a low level of HDL (good) cholesterol or a high level of triglycerides

·         A history of diabetes in pregnancy

·         Having given birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more

·         An inactive lifestyle

·         A history of heart disease or stroke

·         Having depression

·         Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

·         Having acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition in which your skin becomes dark and thick, especially around your neck or armpits

·         Smoking

 

How can I prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes?

If you are at risk for diabetes, you may be able to prevent or delay getting it. Most of the things that you need to do involve having a healthier lifestyle. So if you make these changes, you will get other health benefits as well. You may lower your risk of other diseases, and you will probably feel better and have more energy. The changes are:

Losing weight and keeping it off. Weight control is an important part of diabetes prevention. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose between 10 to 20 pounds. And once you lose the weight, it is important that you don’t gain it back.

 

Following a healthy eating plan. It is important to reduce the amount of calories you eat and drink each day, so you can lose weight and keep it off. To do that, your diet should include smaller portions and less fat and sugar. You should also eat a variety of foods from each food group, including plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also a good idea to limit red meat and avoid processed meats.

 

Get regular exercise. Exercise has many health benefits, including helping you to lose weight and lower your blood sugar levels. These both lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional to figure out which types of exercise are best for you. You can start slowly and work up to your goal.

 

Don’t smoke. Smoking can contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. If you already smoke, try to quit.

 

Talk to your health care provider to see whether there is anything else you can do to delay or to prevent type 2 diabetes. If you are at high risk, your provider may suggest that you take one of a few types of diabetes medicines.

Source https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventdiabetes.html

 


A Financial Plan that Works

Before The Dave Ramsey Show joined the talk radio airwaves, Dave was counseling people one on one with his tried-and-true money principles. Seeing the need for a relatable and proven financial plan to get your money in The book The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey on top of a planner working with notes on the Debt Snowball.shape, he wrote The Total Money Makeover, a follow-up to his first book, Financial Peace.

The Total Money Makeover is Dave’s how-to approach for living out the Baby Steps in everyday life, complete with shots of inspiration from people who have worked the plan and made it to the other side to scream, “We’re debt-free!”

What Is a Financial Plan?

A financial plan is your map to get from where you are to where you want to be with your money. It’s the process of setting goals and thinking through the steps it will take you to reach them. Remember: Each person’s financial plan looks different, depending on their short-term and long-term financial goals.

But no matter what your goals look like, it’s important to think about where you want to be and then figure out how you can get there. That’s why you need to create a solid financial plan that’s easy to understand.

A Financial Plan That Works

With so many self-help books and thousands of new ways to do a budget on the market today, it can be . . . overwhelming, to say the least. But you can trust that we’re here to cut through all the self-help clutter out there and help you make a financial plan that will work for you and your family.

Say hello to The Total Money Makeover. In a no-nonsense kind of way, this book walks you through the steps you need to reach financial peace.

The 7 Baby Steps

Dave breaks down the 7 Baby Steps and walks you through each stage of the journey. Dave wouldn’t tell you to do anything he hasn’t already done himself—he fought his way out of debt and bankruptcy using this exact plan! Whether you’re trying to save money for retirement, invest, or pay off debt with a plan that actually works, you’ll find out how to do it with the Baby Steps.

Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 in a Beginner Emergency Fund
Baby Step 2: Get Out of Debt Using the Debt Snowball
Baby Step 3: Save 3 to 6 Months of Expenses in a Fully Funded Emergency Fund
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of Your Income for Retirement
Baby Step 5: Save for Your Children’s College
Baby Step 6: Pay Off Your Home
Baby Step 7: Build Wealth and Give

Saving for Emergencies

Otherwise known as Baby Step 1, this step is crucial for when life happens. And we all know life has a way of showing up unannounced and unwelcome—and it’s usually not free.

When the A/C unit goes out during the hottest week of the summer or your pipes burst while you’re on vacation . . . there’s nothing to do but fork over the cash to fix it. But instead of letting your Mastercard cover it with interest (and making payments for the next two years), what if you could pay for it with cash on the spot? That’s why you need an emergency fund.

How to Pay Off Debt

If you’ve spent even five minutes listening to The Dave Ramsey Show, you’ve probably heard that we’re pretty serious about helping people get out of debt. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Debt sucks and we don’t want you to waste even one more dollar on your past when you could be planning for your future.

That’s where the debt snowball method comes in. It’s the best way to get out of debt—and we aren’t just saying that. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: List your debts smallest to largest, regardless of interest rate. Pay minimum payments on everything but the little one.

Step 2: Attack the smallest debt with a vengeance. Once that debt is gone, take that payment (and any extra money you can squeeze out of the budget) and apply it to the second-smallest debt while continuing to make minimum payments on the rest.

Step 3: Once that debt is gone, take its payment and apply it to the next-smallest debt. The more you pay off, the more your freed-up money grows and gets thrown onto the next debt—like a snowball rolling downhill.

Step 4: Repeat until you’re completely debt-free!

Investing for Your Future

What if your financial plan actually led you to the retirement of your dreams? What if your plan included a way for you to live and give like no one else? Guess what—it can.

The Proven Plan to Reach Your Financial Goals

When The Total Money Makeover hit the shelves, it skyrocketed to #1 on The New York Times best sellers list in its first week—and has continued to spend more than 200 weeks there. Today, over 6 million copies of the book have been sold worldwide, giving people the hope and strategy they need to create a financial plan and take on their own money makeover.

The Total Money Makeover gives you a simple, straightforward plan for breaking bad money habits and beating debt—and it works! Here’s a sneak peek into what you can expect to find in Dave’s best seller.

Commonsense Financial Advice Your Grandma Would Give You

The Total Money Makeover doesn’t list sophisticated or hypothetical tips that are hard to understand, and you don’t need a corner office (or a three-piece suit) to understand them either! These are simply the same nuggets of advice your grandparents followed. Live within your means. Don’t mess with credit. Save for a rainy day. Quit trying to keep up with the Joneses. These tips may seem obvious, but they stand the test of time.

Busting the Money Myths

Sadly, most of us have accepted money myths as gospel and use them as a standard for making financial decisions. Some we just grew up with, and others are societal norms we’ve bought into—hook, line and sinker.

Here are a couple myths Dave calls out in The Total Money Makeover:

Myth: A credit score is the only way to show how great I am with managing money.
Truth: “Bankers, car dealers, and unknowledgeable mortgage lenders have told America for years to ‘build your credit,’” Dave said. “[The FICO score] is not a score that says you are winning with money or that you have a million dollars; it mathematically says you LOVE DEBT.”

Myth: Having a credit card will help me build wealth.
Truth: “When you play with snakes, you get bitten. I’ve heard all the bait out there to lure the unsuspecting into the pit,” Dave said. “Broke people use credit cards; rich people don’t.”

Success Stories From Real People Who Have Been There

As you flip through the pages, you’ll follow the journeys of everyday people who have been in debt, worked their way through the Baby Steps with dedication, and completed their own total money makeover.

David and Tayelor used credit cards as their income and lived paycheck to paycheck until they started on their own financial plan. After cutting up their credit cards and becoming debt-free, they now live their lives without fear of the future.

Autumn is a single parent. She was living off of $400 a month and drowning in $100,000 of credit card debt. After following the plan, she paid off her car loan, continues to pay off her debt, and even owns her own company!

There are thousands of stories from incredible people just like you who decided to make their financial plan, chipped away at mountains of debt, paid off their homes in record time, and are on the path to becoming everyday millionaires.

 

Source https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/a-financial-plan-that-works

 


Stomach Cancer Risks & Prevention

Some of the factors that may increase the risk for development of gastric cancer include age, gender, ethnicity, smoking, family history, diet, and h. Pylori.

  1. pylori is a common, treatable infection which leads to stomach inflammation and may increase the risk of developing gastric cancer.

In the United States, gastric cancer is more common in American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Hispanic Americans, and African Americans than in Non-Hispanic Whites.

Risks of Stomach Cancer

Some risks cannot be controlled, but others can be REDUCED by focusing on one’s health and choices. Review these lists and see what your risks and options might be:

Behavioral/Lifestyle Risks

  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Diets rich in smoked, salted and pickled foods
  • Diets low in fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Environmental exposure to dust and fumes

Risks for Personal Awareness

  • Age 50 and over
  • Male gender
  • Having blood type A
  • Long-term inflammation of the stomach
  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterial infection
  • Megaloblastic (pernicious) anemia
  • History of stomach polyps or stomach lymphoma
  • Race (more common in Asians, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and African Americans than in non-Hispanic Caucasian Americans)

Genetic Risks for Stomach Cancer

Preventing Stomach Cancer

  • Early detection is the key to surviving stomach cancer.
  • Lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, can potentially reduce the risk of stomach cancer.
  • Treatment of H. pylori infection (a common bacterial infection of the stomach) can decrease the risk of stomach cancer development.
  • Knowing your family history and discussing it with your healthcare provider can help determine if you are at risk for inherited cancer syndromes.

 

Source https://www.nostomachforcancer.org/about/risk-prevention

 


Tips to Keep Healthy Lungs

Sometimes we take our lungs for granted. They keep us alive and well and for the most part, we don’t need to think about them. That’s why it is important to prioritize your lung health.

Your body has a natural defense system designed to protect the lungs, keeping dirt and germs at bay. But there are some important things you can do to reduce your risk of lung disease. Here are some ways to keep your lungs healthy.

Don’t Smoke

Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Cigarette smoke can narrow the air passages and make breathing more difficult. It causes chronic inflammation, or swelling in the lung, which can lead to chronic bronchitis. Over time cigarette smoke destroys lung tissue and may trigger changes that grow into cancer. If you smoke, it’s never too late to benefit from quitting. The American Lung Association can help whenever you are ready.

Avoid Exposure to Indoor Pollutants That Can Damage Your Lungs

Secondhand smoke, chemicals in the home and workplace, and radon all can cause or worsen lung disease. Make your home and car smokefree. Test your home for radon. Avoid exercising outdoors on bad air days. And talk to your healthcare provider if you are worried that something in your home, school or work may be making you sick.

 

Minimize Exposure to Outdoor Air Pollution

The air quality outside can vary from day to day and sometimes is unhealthy to breathe. Knowing how outdoor air pollution affects your health and useful strategies to minimize prolonged exposure can help keep you and your family well. Climate change and natural disasters can also directly impact lung health.

 

Prevent Infection

A cold or other respiratory infection can sometimes become very serious. There are several things you can do to protect yourself:

·     Wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol-based cleaners are a good substitute if you cannot wash.

·     Avoids crowds during the cold and flu season.

·     Good oral hygiene can protect you from the germs in your mouth leading to infections. Brush your teeth at least twice daily and see your dentist at least every six months.

·     Get vaccinated every year against influenza. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if the pneumonia vaccine is right for you.

·     If you get sick, keep it to yourself! Protect the people around you, including your loved ones, by keeping your distance. Stay home from work or school until you’re feeling better.

Get Regular Healthcare

Regular check-ups help prevent diseases, even when you are feeling well. This is especially true for lung disease, which sometimes goes undetected until it is serious. During a check-up, your healthcare provider will listen to your breathing and listen to your concerns. If you need health insurance, learn more about your options.

 

Exercise

Whether you are young or old, slender or large, able-bodied or living with a chronic illness or disability, being physically active can help keep your lungs healthy. Learn more about how exercise can strengthen your lungs.

 

Source https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/protecting-your-lungs/

 


13 Tips to Keep Your Bladder Healthy

People rarely talk about bladder health, but everyone is affected by it. Each day, adults pass about a quart and a half of urine through the bladder and out of the body.

As people get older, the bladder changes. Visit Bladder Health for Older Adults for more information on how the bladder changes and common medical problems, including bladder infections, urinary incontinence, and urinary tract infections.

While you can’t control everything that affects bladder health, there are some steps you can take to improve bladder health. Follow these 13 tips to keep your bladder healthy.

  1. Drink enough fluids, especially water. Most healthy people should try to drink six to eight, 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. Water is the best fluid for bladder health. At least half of fluid intake should be water. Some people need to drink less water because of certain conditions, such as kidney failure or heart diseaseAsk your healthcare provider how much fluid is healthy for you.
  2. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Cutting down on alcohol and caffeinated foods and drinks—such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and most sodas—may help.
  3. Quit smoking. If you smoke, take steps to quit . If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
  4. Avoid constipation. Eating plenty of high-fiber foods (like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits), drinking enough water, and being physically active can help prevent constipation.
  5. Keep a healthy weight. Making healthy food choices and being physically active can help you keep a healthy weight.
  6. Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help prevent bladder problems, as well as constipation. It can also help you keep a healthy weight.
  7. Do pelvic floor muscle exercises. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, help hold urine in the bladder. Daily exercises can strengthen these muscles, which can help keep urine from leaking when you sneeze, cough, lift, laugh, or have a sudden urge to urinate.
  8. Use the bathroom often and when needed. Try to urinate at least every 3 to 4 hours. Holding urine in your bladder for too long can weaken your bladder muscles and make a bladder infection more likely.
  9. Take enough time to fully empty the bladder when urinating. Rushing when you urinate may not allow you to fully empty the bladder. If urine stays in the bladder too long, it can make a bladder infection more likely.
  10. Be in a relaxed position while urinating. Relaxing the muscles around the bladder will make it easier to empty the bladder. For women, hovering over the toilet seat may make it hard to relax, so it is best to sit on the toilet seat.
  11. Wipe from front to back after using the toilet. Women should wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from getting into the urethra. This step is most important after a bowel movement.
  12. Urinate after sex. Both women and men should urinate shortly after sex to flush away bacteria that may have entered the urethra during sex.
  13. Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. Wearing loose, cotton clothing will allow air to keep the area around the urethra dry. Tight-fitting jeans and nylon underwear can trap moisture and help bacteria grow.

Source https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/13-tips-keep-your-bladder-healthy

 


Bladder Cancer Symptoms

How do you know that you may have bladder cancer? Some people may have symptoms that suggest they have bladder cancer. Others may feel nothing at all. Some symptoms should never be ignored. You may need to talk to a urologist about your symptoms. A urologist is a doctor who focuses on problems of the urinary system and male reproductive system. Talk to one about:

  • Hematuria (blood in the urine) – the most common symptom, often without pain
  • Frequent and urgent urination
  • Pain when you pass urine
  • Pain in your lower abdomen
  • Back pain

Symptoms You Should Not Ignore

Blood in the urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. It is generally painless. Often, you cannot see blood in your urine without a microscope. If you can see blood with your naked eye you should tell your healthcare provider immediately. Even if the blood goes away, you should still talk to your doctor about it.

Blood in the urine does not always mean that you have bladder cancer. There are a number of reasons why you may have blood in your urine. You may have an infection or kidney stones. But a very small amount of blood might be normal in some people.

Frequent urination and pain when you pass urine (dysuria) are less common symptoms of bladder cancer. If you have these symptoms, it’s important to see your healthcare provider. He/she will find out if you have a urinary tract infection or something more serious, like bladder cancer.

Source https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/non-muscle-invasive-bladder-cancer#Symptoms


Understanding Prediabetes

When it comes to prediabetes, there are no clear symptoms—so you may have it and not know it. Here’s why that’s important: before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have prediabetes—blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. You may have some of the symptoms of diabetes or even some of the complications.

Regardless, check with your doctor and get tested. If you discover that you do have prediabetes, remember that it doesn’t mean you’ll develop type 2, particularly if you follow a treatment plan and a diet and exercise routine. Even small changes can have a huge impact on managing this disease or preventing it all together—so get to a doctor today and get tested.

There are many factors you can control. Prediabetes is a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and even heart disease. Your chances of having prediabetes go up if you:

  • Are 45 or older
  • Are Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
  • Have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
  • Are overweight
  • Are physically inactive
  • Have high blood pressure or take medicine for high blood pressure
  • Have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
  • Had diabetes during pregnancy
  • Have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Source https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes


Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

What Are the Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Scientists continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It seems likely that damage to the brain starts a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems appear. During this preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people seem to be symptom-free, but toxic changes are taking place in the brain.

Damage occurring in the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s disease begins to show itself in very early clinical signs and symptoms. For most people with Alzheimer’s—those who have the late-onset variety—symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s begin between a person’s 30s and mid-60s.

The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s vary from person to person. Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimer’s disease. Decline in non-memory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. And some people may be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. As the disease progresses, people experience greater memory loss and other cognitive difficulties.

Alzheimer’s disease progresses in several stages: preclinical, mild (sometimes called early-stage), moderate, and severe (sometimes called late-stage).

 

Signs of Mild Alzheimer’s Disease

In mild Alzheimer’s disease, a person may seem to be healthy but has more and more trouble making sense of the world around him or her. The realization that something is wrong often comes gradually to the person and his or her family. Problems can include:

 

Alzheimer’s disease is often diagnosed at this stage.

 

Signs of Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease

In this stage, more intensive supervision and care become necessary, which can be difficult for many spouses and families. Symptoms may include:

  • Increased memory loss and confusion
  • Inability to learn new things
  • Difficulty with languageand problems with reading, writing, and working with numbers
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts and thinking logically
  • Shortened attention span
  • Problems coping with new situations
  • Difficulty carrying out multistep tasks, such as getting dressed
  • Problems recognizing family and friends
  • Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
  • Impulsive behavior such as undressing at inappropriate times or places or using vulgar language
  • Inappropriate outbursts of anger
  • Restlessness, agitation, anxiety, tearfulness, wandering—especially in the late afternoon or evening
  • Repetitive statements or movement, occasional muscle twitches

 

Signs of Severe Alzheimer’s Disease

People with severe Alzheimer’s cannot communicate and are completely dependent on others for their care. Near the end, the person may be in bed most or all of the time as the body shuts down. Their symptoms often include:

  • Inability to communicate
  • Weight loss
  • Seizures
  • Skin infections
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Groaning, moaning, or grunting
  • Increased sleeping
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

 

A common cause of death for people with Alzheimer’s disease is aspiration pneumonia. This type of pneumonia develops when a person cannot swallow properly and takes food or liquids into the lungs instead of air.

 

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, though there are medicines that can treat the symptoms of the disease.

 

Symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment

Some people have a condition called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. It can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. But, not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s disease. People with MCI can still take care of themselves and do their normal activities. MCI memory problems may include:

  • Losing things often
  • Forgetting to go to events or appointments
  • Having more trouble coming up with words than other people the same age

 

Source https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-signs-alzheimers-disease

 


What to Do if You’re Drowning in Debt

What to Do if You’re Drowning in DebtWhen you’re drowning in debt, it often feels like the world is caving in around you. Your thoughts are swirling and just won’t stop. You’re not sleeping, and you’re worried if your next paycheck will be enough to provide for your family. And then the questions fueled by endless worry begin: How will I make ends meet? How in the world will I cover my mortgage/rent this month? Will these debt collectors call my boss (how embarrassing)?

You’re not alone. In fact, 78% of Americans today are living paycheck to paycheck.1That means you’re not the only person who’s ever been in debt. In fact, Dave knows what drowning in debt feels like all too well. But he decided enough was enough. And so can you. Choose—right this moment—to start changing the way you interact with money.

Did you know that personal finance is 80% behavior and only 20% head knowledge? That means with a plan—and a lot of hard work—you can be standing on solid ground in no time. And who knows? You could even become an everyday millionaire. We believe in you!

What to Do When You’re Drowning in Debt

1. Get on a budget.

Doing a budget is one of the most important steps you can take when you’re drowning in debt. A budget is the very thing that will show you where your money is going and why you feel like you’re drowning. But you don’t have feel that way any longer—and a budget will help!

When you’re making your zero-based budget, you might be tempted to account for all of your extra expenses first.

But first, you need to make sure your basic needs are met. We call these the Four Walls, and they are:

  • Food
  • Utilities
  • Shelter
  • Transportation

Now, after you’ve budgeted for groceries, water, electricity, your rent or mortgage, and gas to get you to work (in that order), you can start assigning any leftover dollars to other pressing needs. Do you have student loans or a car payment? Are those hospital bills piling up? Or maybe your dad’s birthday is coming up and you at least need to send a card. Whether it’s $50 or $500, all expenses must go in the budget. Need to go to the doctor this month? Yup—make sure to put that in there too. Remember: Income minus expenses should equal zero!

2. Cut back on the “extras.”

Now that every dollar has been accounted for, it’s time to see where you can cut back.

Take an inventory of any automatic payments that routinely come out of your bank account. Maybe you have a $7 subscription to the clean beard club. We’re not knocking beards—especially clean beards—but these kinds of expenses add up quickly. Plus, that free gift they offered you when you signed up is probably long gone, leaving you with a subscribtion you keep forgetting to cancel every single month—and more beard oil than you know what to do with.

Don’t get us wrong, we love a good mail day just like the next person. But whether you’re drowning in student loan debt or drowning in credit card debt (or just plain debt), you’ve got to make some pretty big changes. You guessed it: We’re talking about cutting back on these nonessential items and getting your “want-itis” under control. Here are some tips:

  • Make coffee at home (skip the $5 lattes until you’re no longer drowning in debt).
  • Cut back on your grocery bill by cutting coupons and going without the kids so you’re not tempted to overspend on Oreos. Psst: Leftovers are your friend.
  • Don’t even step foot in a restaurant unless you’re working there.
  • Sell everything that’s not nailed down.

3. Pause all investing.

Really? Yep. Saving for your future when you’re living paycheck to paycheck (or worse) isn’t the best idea. At least not yet. If you’re still trying to pay off credit cards, an upside-down car loan, or a huge pile of student loan debt, it’s time to press pause on your future investments . . . temporarily. This temporary pause frees up extra cash you can use to pay down your debt.

Don’t worry, you’ll come back to this once you’re debt-free.

4. Don’t take on any new debt.

None. We know it’s hard (and maybe not what you’ve been used to), but trust us—taking on debt robs you and your family of a secure financial future. Your choices right now can and will impact future generations of your family tree. So don’t take on even another penny of debt.

Get out your favorite scissors and do some plastic surgery (or as Dave calls it, a plasectomy). The best part? No medical experience required. Yup—we’re talking about cutting up those credit cards.

You may feel your heart start to race and your hands begin to sweat. But let us remind you: Having a credit card for emergencies seems like a good idea until your next “emergency” looks like your next afternoon coffee run. When you cut up those cards, you’re choosing to put an end to the merciless cycle of debt for good.

5. Increase your income.

Now that you’re on a budget and you’ve decided to stop taking on any new debt altogether, it’s time to figure out how you can increase your income. Take a second job or pursue a side hustle that will give you the extra income you need (as quickly as possible) to throw at your debt. Whether that’s working at your local coffee shop, mowing lawns, or driving for a ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft, you’ve got to bring in more cash.

We get it. No one wants to work around the clock. But in order to see that mountain of debt turn into a valley, you’ve got to start doing something different. Remember: This isn’t forever. You won’t be skipping out on time with family and friends for the long haul. But in order to get on the right track, you’ve got to start making sacrifices now.

6. Start working the debt snowball.

Now that you’ve got some extra money coming in each month, it’s time to start paying off your debt with something we call the debt snowball method:

  • List your debts from smallest to largest—no matter the interest rate.
  • Attack the smallest debt with everything you have. Did you sell the couch? Great—throw your earnings on this debt. Keep putting anything extra you make toward this debt until it’s gone.
  • Once that debt has been paid, take the minimum payment (plus that money from your second job) and throw it at the next largest debt while paying minimum payments on the rest.
  • Keep this snowball rolling until you’re debt-free!

Want more debt snowball tips? Sign up for this free, three-day email series that will send helpful tips and encouragement straight to your inbox.

7. Stop the comparison trap.

Comparison is one of the worst things you could do while you’re getting out of debt, and social media is one of the biggest culprits. If you’re scolling through your news feed and see your friend (whom you haven’t talked to in years) on a European vacation with her mom, that doesn’t give you permission to plan a fancy vacation too. Nope. Europe will still be there when you’re completely debt-free.

When you’re in debt and going after your debt with gazelle intensity,* it’s hard not to compare your financial situation with other people’s situations. But here’s the truth: You don’t actually know their financial situation. We don’t know if your friend put her fancy vacation on a credit card. But we do know that once you’re out of debt, you’ll be able to plan these trips of your own. Listen: The Joneses are broke. If you’re falling into the comparison trap, it might be time to take a much-needed break from social media.

8. Start (or keep) working the Baby Steps.

Have you heard of the Baby Steps? These seven steps are the proven (and practical) way to help you change your life. And now that you’re standing on more stable ground, you’ll want to follow these steps all the way to building wealth and giving.

Baby Step 1: Save $1,000 for your starter emergency fund.
Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt (except the house) using the debt snowball.
Baby Step 3: Save 3–6 months of expenses in a fully funded emergency fund.
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of your household income in retirement.
Baby Step 5: Save for your children’s college fund.
Baby Step 6: Pay off your home early.
Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give.

It may feel like you’re drowning in debt right now. But like we said earlier, it doesn’t have to be this way. Once you’ve had it with debt (and we hope you have), you can climb your way out of it. And remember: You’re not alone in this.

Take our free, three-minute assessment to find out where you stand with debt. We’ll give you a curated list of next steps and resources to help you get started on your journey to financial peace.

Source https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/drowning-in-debt