Thanks for participating in the Keeping Debt Under Control: Avoid Detours workshop!

Many of the things we want, and even quite a few of the things we need, are purchased with credit cards and loans. Almost everyone carries some amount of debt and there’s no shame in that. The problem is when that debt begins to grow.

Unmanageable amounts of debt can put an incredible strain on your ability to lead a happy, healthy life. The key to maintaining a manageable level of debt is understanding your limitations and making smart money decisions. The following information will help you keep your debt under control.

Determine Your Debt Load

Is your debt already out of control? The best way to find out is to determine your debt load and compare it to your income. In this case, the numbers rarely lie.

Download: The Debt Load Worksheet in order to properly catalogue all of your outstanding debt.

Download: The Debt-to-Income Worksheet to see what level of debt is reasonable to carry at your debt load.

Download: The Warning Signs of a Credit Crisis Quiz to assess your skill at managing credit and debt.

Read: Just for You: In Debt for a rundown of your rights as a debtor.

Read: How to Determine Who You Owe and How Much You Owe for help determining who your creditors are.

Read: How to Know When a Little Debt is Too Much Debt for a quick quiz that will help you assess your current debt situation.

Dealing with Debt

There are many ways to deal with overwhelming debt. You can seek out a third party credit counseling agency for assistance, consider consolidating your debt into a single loan, or make a plan to handle it all on your own. The following information should help you decide which option is right for you.

Download: The Budget Worksheet to draft your own personal home budget.

Read: Five things you need to know about money and personal budgeting for the answers to five essential personal budgeting questions.

Read: Make a Personal Budget and Keep Track of Spending for instructions on creating and living by a personal budget and spending plan.

Read: Learn about and Request a Lender Hardship Program if your creditor bills are exceeding what your budget allows.

Read: Debt Management FAQs to get further information on how a debt management plan works.

Read: Five myths about credit counseling for a better understanding of what credit counseling is (and what it is not).

Read: Alternatives to Filing Bankruptcy for a list of options to consider in place of bankruptcy.

Read: Just for You: Considering Bankruptcy to understand the consequences that come with filing for bankruptcy.

Read: How To: Prepare to File for Personal Bankruptcy if you’ve made the decision that bankruptcy is the best option for you.

Beware of Easy Credit

Predatory lenders often target consumers who are already in an at-risk position, driving them further into debt with excessive fees and extremely high interest rates.

View: Refund Anticipation Loans to see why “rapid refund loans” are almost always a bad idea.

Read: The ugly truth about payday loans for all the dirty details on how payday loans often victimize struggling consumers.

How Do I Start Over?

The deeper you fall into debt, the harder it becomes to stay current on all of your obligations, which can eventually impact your credit score.

Read: How to Get Your Credit Report and Credit Score for details on how to obtain your credit report and credit score.

Download: the Credit Report Request form and submit a request for your credit report today.

Read: What to Look for on Your Credit Report for a roadmap on how to read your report and which areas need the closest scrutiny.

Download: our Reviewing Your Credit Report for Errors handout for tips on how to locate common reporting errors.

Read: How to Reestablish Good Credit for advice on how to rebuild your credit after a setback has brought your score down.

How to Get Out of Debt Fast

In order to get out of debt you must create a plan of attack for repayment, while reducing expenses wherever possible. The bigger the debt, the harder it will fall, but the effort will most certainly be worth it!

View: How to Step Down Your Spending for a video guide to choosing less expensive options.

Remember, MMI is here to help

If you've assessed your financial plan and find you need assistance achieving your financial goals, MMI's certified counselors are here to help. Take the next step toward financial freedom today and schedule a free counseling session: Fill out a counseling form online or call 866.515.2227.

Interested in learning more about debt repayment? Listen to successful MMI clients, Sharon and Craig, as they share their stories about overcoming debt and achieving financial freedom.