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How can you start reducing your debts?

Debt can become overwhelming quickly. It's easy to buy items on credit, but when the monthly bill comes, you may be surprised at just how much you owe.

You can reduce your debt on your own if you understand the basics for how to get started. For instance, if you owe $1,000, it's important to know where that money can come from and to start making payments. Of course, there are other factors like interest rates and your other bills to consider.

The first thing to do is to look at your debt and evaluate it. If you owe $1,000, how much interest do you pay? What's the monthly payment? If your payment is $25 a month, you'd be paying for 40 months with 0 percent interest to pay off the debt. With interest included, you could be paying many times more than that.

To help you pay down interest and the principle balance quickly, it's time to look at your budget and to start making cuts. Do you get coffee or eat out once or twice a week? Try to avoid doing that, and put that money toward your debt directly. Instead of making a minimum payment, pay just a little more. This helps you get through the debt faster and reduce the overall interest you'll pay.

If you're having trouble meeting your minimum payments, it's worth discussing your situation with an attorney and the credit card or loan companies directly. The lenders may be willing to work with you to reduce the interest rate or monthly bill, so you can get ahead on your debts.

Source: Credit.com, "5 Steps to Reduce Your Debt: Do-it-Yourself Debt Reduction," Kali Geldis, accessed Jan. 17, 2017

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