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How to Get (and Stay Out) of Debt

With today’s troubled economic climate and with the fact that things seem to cost more than ever before, it’s incredibly easy to find yourself in debt. Tanked housing values, a tight lending market and high unemployment make it tougher than ever before to make ends meet. Unfortunately, for many, the relief of tapping into funds from credit cards, home equity and personal loans resulted in mounds of un-repayable debt.

This is a problem faced by people from all walks of life—from military veterans to teachers and even seemingly successful lawyers, doctors, and the like. The good news is that no matter who you are, what you do, or even how bad your debt problems are, you can take control of the situation and find your way out of debt for good.

Know Where Your Money Goes

One of the major reasons that people find themselves in debt is because they are not mindful of their spending habits. Starting right now, however, you can change all that. Spend a few days or a week writing down every penny that you spend and what you spend it on.

You’ll quickly see the areas where your spending is out of control, and that can help you choose areas to cut back. Need help regaining control of your finances? SpendingProfile.com is one great online resource for cataloging your spending habits.

Budget Your Money

Just as you need to see where you’re spending the majority of your money, you should also be aware of what bills you have and of your overall income. Take the time to sit down and write out a monthly budget. Pay attention to how much you earn, how much you have to pay for each bill and when bills are due. If you actually do have the money to handle your debts, you’ll be able to get back on track easily; if you don’t, you’ll know it’s time to turn to other tactics.

Working with Creditors

Often, when individuals are overwhelmed with debt, they choose to ignore their financial problems. When those creditors call, they refuse to answer the phone or they toss those past due bills in the trash can. This is a big mistake, however.

In many cases, if you’re willing to talk with your creditors and explain your situation, you can work out some kind of payment arrangement that’s better suited to your needs. Financial Library offers a great guide to dealing with your creditors.

Filing for Bankruptcy

Sometimes, people get so far into debt there’s really no easy way out. When this is the case, it may be time to consider filing for bankruptcy. While bankruptcy is often regarded as a financial dead end and one that leads to horrible credit, it actually helps people get back on their feet with a fresh financial start.

It’s not easy, however, and many applicants don’t qualify. Speak with a credible bankruptcy attorney to find out if you do, and, if so, what your next step should be.

Adrienne Erin is a blogger and aspiring author. When she’s not blogging about tech and social media, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.

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January 7, 2013 um 5:12 am
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