If you are one of the millions of Americans who have found yourself in serious debt and are looking to avoid bankruptcy it might be tempting to contract with one of the many debt reduction or debt settlement services advertised on TV or in the newspaper. Instead of paying someone to do your debt consolidation, it is possible to find debt relief on your own by following a few basic steps.
Understand your own finances:
If you don’t have a firm grasp on what is coming in and what is going out it will be very difficult to make any steps to improve your situation. Make a spreadsheet or use a money management software to see where you are overspending and determine how much you can carve out to reduce your existing debt.
Research your options
Call your existing debtors and ask if they will consider reducing your interest rate or adjusting your payments with the understanding that you pay off the balance within a certain time period. If they won’t work with you, do some research and see if you can move your credit balances to a card with a lower interest rate until it is paid off.
Develop a Plan
Evaluate your needs versus your wants and decide what you can’t live without (insurance, food, gas etc) and make a similar list of what you don’t really need (coffees, new clothing, eating out). Make a commitment to direct every penny that you have allocated to reducing your debt.
Stay focused on your goal
If your plan is to be debt free in 6 months, 1 year, 2 years stay focused on that goal. Your progress might seem slow but resist the temptation to start using those credit cards again. It will only add to your outstanding balance and make your objective that much further off.
Once out of debt you can celebrate how you have avoided bankruptcy and developed lifelong frugal living habits along the way. Make it a priority to not let debt grab a chokehold on you and your life ever again.