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4 things to do to avoid or pay down debt

When faced with debt of any amount, it's easy to become overwhelmed. In an overwhelmed state, we often fail to take action because no action seems big enough to deal with the problem. With debt, however, the little actions you take can build up to a big solution. Here are four actions you can take to help your debt situation.

First, when you leave your house, don't take credit cards with you. Credit cards can be good tools for emergencies or for travel, when you don't want to link spending to your bank account. But they aren't great tools for normal shopping and dining expenses, because they make it easier to overspend. Instead, take cash.

Second, create a plan for spending. Know how much money you have coming in, how much debt you need to make payments on and how much you spend on required expenses such as your utility bill and groceries. Once you know these things, you can set goals to reduce unnecessary spending so you can save or pay down debt.

Third, actually pay down debt. Take the money you saved on unnecessary spending and put it toward debt. Focus on paying extra on a single debt while meeting requirements on all others. Once you pay off that debt, move on to another.

Finally, save some money. Even before you begin paying off debt, get some emergency funds in the bank. That way, you don't have to resort to credit cards should a small emergency arise.

By working to pay down or avoid debt, you put yourself in a better financial situation. If you can't do this because of the amount of debt you owe or the income situation you find yourself in, then consider further options such as bankruptcy so you can deal with debt and move on with life.

Source: Christian Broadcasting Network, "10 Tips for Becoming Debt Free," Deborah Nayrocker, accessed Jan. 29, 2016

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