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Debt management tips and strategies

For many Pennsylvania families, high levels of debt can feel overwhelming. Faced with an unmanageable combined debt payment each month, it can be difficult to even make ends meet, much less set aside funds for future goals. While excessive debt loads can pose a challenge, there are methods available that can ease a family's financial crunch, and make a debt-free future an attainable goal. The following debt management tips are offered as a demonstration of just a few of the possible paths toward reaching that goal.

Perhaps the most important step in paying down high levels of debt is accepting that there will be a wide range of changes necessary to accomplish this goal. Downsizing is often a good start, especially for those who are renting. Moving into a less expensive housing option is a good way to cut monthly expenses. Choosing to forego expensive cable, phone or internet services is another way to trim the monthly costs of living.

Paring down expenses also requires a frugal approach to everyday choices. Many consumers find it helpful to track their every expense for a month or two, which can give them a clear picture of where their money is going and where cuts can be made. Examples include repairing things that are broken or damaged instead of buying replacements, or making small changes such as cooking at home and brewing your own coffee versus going out. These changes may be difficult to integrate at first, but the final outcome is well worth the effort.

These tips can help in many cases, but there are some Pennsylvania families who are simply too far in debt to emerge on their own, no matter how many debt management measures they put into place. For these consumers, personal bankruptcy may offer a faster and simpler path toward a debt-free future. Bankruptcy can lead to the elimination of a wide range of unsecured debts, including credit card debt, medical debt and other obligations.

Source: US News and World Report, How One Family Paid Off $118,000 in Debt, Kimberly Palmer, Jan. 2, 2014

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