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How To Create A Plan To Get Out Of Debt

Feb 25, 2008
When you have an overabundance of debt, it's natural to want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Interest costs can really add up, and having too much debt makes it difficult or impossible to take on debt for things you need. But when we're faced with more debt than we can handle, it is important not to panic.

Getting out of debt on one's own is best if it's possible. But many debtors make the mistake of trying to pay their debts off too quickly. They set unrealistic goals, and when they can't achieve them they become discouraged. This often ends with them filing bankruptcy, because they feel that there is no way around it.

The best course of action is to be realistic. Make a budget, and include everything that you spend money on each month. Then find what you can realistically do without, and put the money you save on those things toward paying off your debt. Here are some things we can often cut out of the budget:

* Eating out. Whether you pick up fast food for lunch when you're working, or go out to eat with friends at a fancy restaurant once a week, you can cut costs here. Take your lunch to work, and have dinner with your friends once a month instead of once a week. Or better yet, suggest a less expensive activity that you can do together.

* Vices. Cigarettes, lattes, and other things we buy as a matter of habit are good places to cut back. Quitting smoking is good for you anyway, and switching to regular coffee, made at home with some flavored creamer, would be less expensive. Every little bit helps.

* Entertainment. No one's saying that you have to sit at home and be bored all of the time. Just examine your entertainment budget and see if there are ways you could cut back. If you rent a lot of movies, for example, consider signing up for an unlimited plan.

* Travel. With gas prices usually going up instead of down, cutting back on travel can be a real money saver. Carpooling, and combining trips as much as possible, are two ways that can save you a substantial amount of money on travel.

It may take you several months or even a few years to get your debt paid off, depending on how much debt you're in and how much extra money you can put toward it each month. But as long as you're able to make your minimum payments and add a little extra to at least one of your bills each month, you will be making progress. You'll also be keeping your credit in good shape by making the payments on time. Just be patient, and you will eventually be debt-free.
About the Author
Is your debt stressing you out? Do you have a list of things you would do if you weren't putting all your money towards your debt? Learn how to legally eliminate debt on the Debt Smackdown website.
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