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7 tips to get out of debt

Nina Pineda has the 7 On Your Side report
Seven On Your Side
February 4, 2014 6:45:27 AM PST
You've eaten, shopped, and travelled your way up a mountain of bills, now it's time to get a handle on that Everest of debt.

But chopping that debt down to size isn't easy, that's why we have a seven step program.

"Ignoring your debt eats away at you. You've got to deal with it head on," said Karen Elizaga, author, "Find Your Sweet Spot."

Karen Elizaga, an executive coach and author says first, take ownership of your payment problem.

"You take a brutally honest look at yourself where are you spending money, are you cabbing where you can walk, are you eating out?" Elizaga said.

Next, go to AnnualCreditReport.com and pull up each of your three credit reports, free of charge, to find out your debt amounts.

Step Two: Once you know where you stand come up with a pay down plan.

"You can target one of your debts. Stamp it out and pay it off in one month and pay the minimum amount due on your other debts," said Kenneth Ross Urken, of TheStreet.com.

Ross Kenneth with TheStreet.com says to use either "The Snowball" or "the Avalanche" method.

Snowball method pays off the account with the smallest balance first. The avalanche approach, you pay off the credit card with the highest interest first.

"If you have a steady income and it's going to remain the same for three years, I would say use the avalanche method," Ross Urken.

A third way to dig out of debt is to consolidate. Pay off debts by taking out a loan or transferring balance, just beware of high credit cards rates.

Debt settlement is number four on our list.

"Debt settlement you'll use if you're heading to death triage. You can really turn on the phone call your debt collector and turn on the charm and ask for a break. Maybe say you'll pay 50% of debt in two years. Most would take you up on your offer," Ross Urken.

If that doesn't work try number five, enroll in non-profit credit counseling. Your creditor will see you're trying and may call of the collection dogs.

Number six is a last resort for many people, and that's bankruptcy. If you are being threatened with lawsuits, or if your income has been reduced to the point where you can't make your payments, find out whether bankruptcy could help.

Tip number 7 is to use cash. Set a limit on what you can spend weekly or monthly. Studies show people who only use cash are less likely to impulse buy. The drawback is that you have no credit card protections like warranty and insurance when buying things with cash.

Non-profit credit counselors in NJ and NY:

http://www.novadebt.org/

http://www.cccsnj.org/ NYC:

http://www.nyc.gov/html/ofe/html/help/counselor.shtml


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