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Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your Debt

Aug 17, 2007
You may be in debt for reasons totally out of your control but it is totally up to you to fix it. So it is critical to make a plan for getting yourself out of debt. But before we make this plan, we need to understand some underlying truths. The first truth is that there are no "free lunches." Companies who claim they can help you get out of debt and are "non-profit" should be scrutinized carefully if not avoided altogether.

These companies claim to be non-profit but you would be foolish to think that they are doing it for free. The second truth is that, at least in the United States anyways, there is no such thing as debtor's prison. However, keep in mind that you can go to prison for non-payment of child support or taxes. A third truth is that you cannot "draw blood from a turnip" as I was told growing up. If you are in a situation where you do not have the money to pay then you don't have the money to pay. You can't steal it as that will only complicate your problems. By considering these truths, it will help to eliminate your worries and help you to avoid chasing after solutions that will only sink you deeper. Worrying about your debt will not solve your problem and there is no one else that can fix your debt problem other than you.

So, keeping these truths in the back of your mind, it's time to come up with a plan for reducing your debt. Here are 10 ways you can start:

1. Stop charging on your credit cards. If you have to use a credit card then avoid taking cash advances from ATMs. Cash advances on credit cards have the highest interest rates.
2. Try to increase your income in order to make larger payments on your debt. This might mean moonlighting or taking a second job on the side (the internet is full of additional income opportunities) or having a garage sale.
3. Reduce your expenses. Do you really need all of those premium cable channels? Do you need a bigger second car or do you even need a second car?
4. Liquidate assets. Analyze this carefully but sometimes you have assets such as stock that can be sold even at a loss in order to pay off high-interest credit card debt.
5. Come up with a budget. This is the simplest yet most overlooked strategy to reducing your debt.
6. Try to keep your expenses fixed. Avoid any type of variable expense if possible. This makes it easier to create a budget.
7. Bring your own lunch to work. Try to avoid eating out for lunch or at least minimize it.
8. Transfer high-interest credit cards to a low-interest credit card if you can.
9. Look for things you can do yourself instead of hiring someone. For example, men might be able to invest in some barber clippers and try cutting their own hair. You might be mechanically-inclined and be able to make your own minor auto repairs (such as changing belts or replacing headlights).
10. Look for ways to cut your utility costs. If you have a fireplace in your home, you can actually save money in the winter by burning more fires. For those who live in desert climates, you can landscape your yard with desert flowers and shrubs and virtually eliminate the need for lawn watering.

And there are many more tips that can be added to this list. The overall goal of this list is to cut your expenditures and increase your income and savings. Unless you achieve this overall goal, you are bound to remain in debt forever.
About the Author
For more resources on managing your debt visit: http://www.debtconsolidatecenter.com/
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