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Dealing with debt: Some ideas for reducing what you owe

There are dozens of ways to handle debt, even if it seems like it's so much that you'll never pay it off. Whether you're having trouble paying your bills or are just tired of paying on credit debt that never seems to get lower, it's important that you know ways to get out of and to cope with debt.

While many people turn to attorneys and bankruptcy, there are a few things you can try to do yourself first. For instance, you may want to try developing a budget. If you already have one, now would be a good time to review it and tweak it to make changes that can positively affect your lifestyle.

Another thing you can try is to deal with debt collections. You can find out which debts have gone to collections and begin to negotiate to pay them off one by one. You may be able to pay over time or be able to pay a smaller amount in a single, one-time payment. You may also be able to tell the collector when he or she can call and where he or she can call, so your work or home life is not affected.

One more thing you can try is lowering your interest rates or payments, even temporarily. Contact your lenders and ask about lowering your rates or payments if you're struggling to pay your bills. They may be willing to adjust your bills so that you can make payments on time and in full.

Your attorney can help you negotiate with your creditors or begin other debt-reduction programs. With a little help and education, you can get your finances back on track.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, "Coping with Debt," accessed July 07, 2017

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