Are you a single mom drowning in debt?

If debt is blocking your path to personal wealth, you’re not alone. Most single moms – most Americans, actually – have more debt than they can easily handle. This is one time looking at the big picture won’t help. In fact, doing that can overwhelm you…like it overwhelmed me.

In my early single mom days, I was living paycheck to paycheck in a rented house I could barely afford (long story short – I needed a place to live immediately, and it was the only place available even close to my price range). I got help where I could, applied for WIC, and worked as much as possible. But the rent, child care, and everyday expenses like food cost more than I had, and I turned to credit cards.

Before I knew it, my credit card debt had ballooned to more than $8,000. Just making minimum payments was stretching my already thin budget. I knew I had to make some changes, and ditch that debt for good.

When I looked at that mountain of debt, though, I felt there was nothing I could do to get rid of it. So I went smaller, and focused on dealing with one debt at a time. It took a while, but I finally got them all paid off. That’s when my financial situation took a very positive turn away from debt management toward wealth building.

You can use that same idea to start chipping away at your debt. I attacked my smallest debts first – it was immensely satisfying to see obvious progress, and quickly cross some debts off the list.

Some people prefer to tackle their highest-interest debts first, no matter how big they are. This makes sense mathematically, because you’ll end up paying less interest over time, even if it takes longer to get that first debt paid off.

Go whichever way is more comfortable for you – it doesn’t matter which debt you start with as long as you get started right away. But no matter how you decide to move ahead, you’ll want to make sure that you

As you pay off each debt, you’ll have more money to put toward the next one. Your monthly payments will keep growing until all of that debt is paid off.

And once your debt is completely ditched, redirect the money you’d been using to pay it down into savings and investments…so you’ll never be stuck under a mountain of debt again.