Learning to Take Control of Your Debt

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Many of us find it difficult to deal with our debt problems and find ourselves going deeper and deeper into debt until we've created a problem so big that our only resolution may be bankruptcy.  While bankruptcy may be the only solution at the time, many people don't learn their lesson and end up having to file for bankruptcy a second or even a third time.  It is important to know how to stop the bleeding, when you're in debt so you don't keep making the same mistakes over and over.    

The first thing you need to do is to check your credit report.  Although this may be scary for many of you, it is very important because it will give you an idea of where you stand with regard to your credit.  Ask yourself, what's the worst that can happen?  So what if you find out that your credit score is 480.  Your credit score doesn't define you.  Once you face your fears and take control of your situation you have the ability to make the decisions that will eventually increase your score in the end.    Websites like FREECREDITREPORT.COM are great places to start.  You can view your credit score and report, immediately, for as little as $1.00 for the first thirty days.  You can also request a copy of your credit report for no cost, but you have to wait to receive it in the mail.  Make sure the information on the report is valid.  If you find any errors, report them to the credit agencies so they can be investigated and then removed. 

Once you are aware of your credit situation, the next thing you need to do is STOP USING YOUR CREDIT CARDS and stay away from NEW CREDIT CARD OFFERS.  I'm not saying credit cards are bad.  In fact, they can be quite helpful in raising your credit score when you use them responsibly.  It's just that you need to become more aware of where and what you spend your money on.  When you make a purchase, use cash instead.  Using cash that you have available will help you to purchase items that you NEED instead of purchasing items that you WANT.  It will be difficult at first, but you will start to feel relief as you see your credit card balances start to decline.

As soon as you have learned to control your credit card spending, take a stab at tackling another debt that may be weighing you down.  Maybe you can pay a little extra on your car payment or mortgage every month.  See if you can pay down your student loans. Take it one debt at a time.  Every step you make towards paying off your debt will keep YOU in control of your DEBT and not the other way around.    
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