Getting out of debt

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Updated: 3/27/2003 4:09 pm
The first step to reducing any debt is to stop adding to it. Begin by decreasing the amount of money spent each month and increasing payments to creditors. You may need to design a new monthly budget that will allow you to save money and make larger payments to credit cards, loans, or mortgages. When creating a budget, it is a good idea to keep a record of all expenses made during one week, including everything from pocket change to rent money. After one week, you can decide what changes can be made that will allow you to spend less. Some ideas include taking your lunch to work or turning down the thermostat a few degrees. You may be able to save a great deal by reducing small, out of pocket, expenses. Make a commitment to yourself to set goals and a realistic time frame to get out of debt. If you need help, there are many nonprofit organizations such as the Consumer Credit Counseling Service. This service can help you work out a budget and debt repayment plan. In addition, they can often help negotiate with creditors to lower your interest and payment rates. It's important to reform spending habits permanently, so that once you are out of debt, you can remain debt-free. For more information, contact a personal finance professional in your area.

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