Getting Out of Debt
If you are in debt, you need a plan to get out. The first step is creating a spending and savings plan and sticking to it, which will allow you to free up some money for reducing and paying off your debts.
Once you have your plan together, you can use a technique called the "debt snowball" or "rolldown" to eliminate your debts, one at a time. First, make a list of each debt you have, the amount of each, interest rate, and the minimum monthly payments. Different sources will tell you to list these debts by order of balance or interest rate.
In order to get one of these debts off your back, simply make the minimum payment on all the debts except for either the smallest one or the one with the highest interest rate. You should put as much towards that debt as you can afford each month or each pay day until it is paid off.
Once the smallest debt or the one with the highest interest is paid off, take the monthly payment you were dedicating to the debt you paid off, and put it towards the next debt on the list, in addition to the minimum monthly payment you were making on it before. Repeat this with each debt, until they are all paid off. This method allows you to make the same total monthly payments towards your debt, while progressively paying more on each debt, hence the name, "debt snowball" or "rolldown."
You can also combine this strategy with other efforts to reduce interest, such as speaking to credit card companies about settling for a reduced amount or consolidating debts. However, be sure to read and understand the fine print to ensure that you will not incur additional fees, and that interest rates will not change after a period of time.
Once you have eliminated some to all of your debt, it will be important to stay out of debt by understanding the differences between "needs" and "wants," continuing to follow a realistic spending and savings plan, and establishing effective money management skills for life.