Need Help With Debt? Here are Some Advice on What to Do

Question

Hi, My wife and I both work and have good steady jobs. We have fallen into debt the last few years. I have looked all over for a place to tell us what to do to get back on track. I just want some advice on what to do, Do you have any place or website that you trust that we can go to.

Thank you,

Dan

Answers

Before I answer this question, I’d like to share answers from my peers.

Here’s the response from Lynnae at Being Frugal

I’m sorry to hear about your situation.

I always like to follow Dave Ramsey’s advice when it comes to getting out of debt. Work hard on building up a small emergency fund, so you don’t go deeper into debt when you have a financial emergency.  Then put all of your effort into paying off your debt.  Find little ways to save or earn money, so you can put extra money toward your debt repayment.  Your budget will be tight while you’re working so hard to pay things off, but realize it’s temporary, and it will all be worth it when you’re debt free.

If you realize that your budget won’t cover your monthly expenses plus your debt repayment, you’re going to need to cut some expenses or increase your income.  If you can’t balance your budget at all, it may be time to look into getting some help from Consumer Credit Counseling.

Here’s the response from Mrs. Micah

Like Lynnae, I’ve found the debt snowball method helpful. There are a number of different ways of putting together a debt snowball. A debt snowball isn’t that hard to get started and manage, but it does take time and a certain amount of commitment. What you’ll get out of it is what you’re willing and able to put in.

Even if you’re able to do your monthly spending, meet your minimums, and start snowballing, you might want to consider whether or not you can do some consulting work or use your skills in another way to earn a little extra money each month. The money I bring in beyond my usual salary helps us pay off our debt even faster.

Here’s the response from Gibble at Gather Little By Little

Hi Dan! Bad news is you’re in debt, good news is your in good company, including yours truly.

I’ve written a whole series of articles on how to get your finances under control and get out of debt. It basically follows the Dave Ramsey process but adds in some personal flavor and my own best practices.

Just remember, there is not silver bullet or magic pill you can take to get rid of your debt instantly. Getting out of debt is going to take a great deal of commitment and focus. Just like most things, it’s a journey but keep your eyes on the goal. Put as much money as you can towards your debt.

Good luck, and if you ever feel like you’re falling off the program or need some encouragement, let us know. We’ve been there.

Here’s the response from Patrick at Cash Money Life

I will agree with what the others have said so far — the system Dave Ramsey uses is a great system because it is proven to work and it is easy to follow.

The first and most import thing you will need to do is make the commitment to change your spending habits and get out of debt. Then you will need to analyze your spending patterns and work toward making positive changes. Good luck!

Here’s my response

I have to agree with everyone recommending Dave Ramsey as the authority on this matter.  You can find his web site at www.daveramsey.com.  In particular, I like his Seven Baby Steps:

  1. $1,000 in an emergency fund
  2. Pay off all debt with the Debt Snowball
  3. 3 to 6 months expenses in savings
  4. Invest 15% of income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement plans
  5. College funding
  6. Pay off your home early
  7. Build wealth and give!

In addition, I would like to invite you to peruse the Debt Reduction section on this blog. In particular, check out these articles:

I hope you found our answers helpful.

About the Author

By , on Feb 11, 2009
The following is a question submitted by our reader. You can see all questions submitted here, and submit your question here. Please remember that our answers are opinions and should not be considered professional advice and we assume no responsibility of any kind. Please consult a financial expert as needed.

Leave Your Comment (4 Comments)

  1. I like your post. No matter what amount of debt a person has, willingness to retire is the first step

  2. Outlaw says:

    Following Dave is always a good idea. The very first thing you should do is sit down and determine exactly how far in debt you are. Develop a budget and determine what you can cut out and then apply this to your debts. Start a snowball and before you know it your debt will start shrinking.

  3. Steve says:

    Great information! I am also in good company right along with you. But I am consistently taking steps to pay it down. I am looking into refinancing our 30 year loan into a 20 year fixed, and working to free up some monthly cash flow to go toward debt payment. Just cause our government is on a spending spree doesn’t mean we have to be! 🙂

  4. PT Money says:

    Would definitely recommend Dave like the others. But if they are looking to actually sit down with someone and talk over the numbers for free. They should use someone recommended by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Just happen to have done a recent interview with them: http://ptmoney.com/fix-your-cr.....ounseling/ Good luck getting out of debt, Dan.

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