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Important debt management tips

Most people will experience some level of debt in their lives, and it's important to know how to deal with it. Obviously, this varies from one situation to the next—having $5,000 in credit card debt is much different than having $50,000 in business debt—but these tips can help.

1. Don't put it off. Debt can feel overwhelming, but it just gets worse if you do nothing. Even doing a little bit helps, so get started as soon as possible.

2. Prioritize your spending. Make a budget with only things you absolutely have to pay—the mortgage, for example, or the food bill at the grocery store. You may find a lot of ways to trim spending and work on debt if you identify what you really need.

3. Track your payments with online banking. Keep track of what you owe and what you pay off each month. Not only is this helpful for keeping records, but it can motivate you. Some people even start a separate bank account just for this purpose.

4. List out all of the debts that you have. A lot of little debts may feel confusing and chaotic, but listing them out helps you focus on what needs to be done.

5. Use automatic payments. This is especially helpful if your debt is getting worse not because you don't have the money to pay, but because you often forget to make payments on time and so you're accumulating a lot of fines and fees that you'd be better off without.

As always, make sure you look into all of your debt management options in Pennsylvania.

Source: Woman's Day, "10 Easy Steps to Debt Management," ShawnTe Pierce, accessed April 29, 2016

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