americans in debt.

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

If you feel like you’re drowning in debt, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. There are many of Americans, just like you, that are also suffering the effects of debt. You may have gotten into debt in different ways, over half those people being in debt due to their homes, but you’re all there nonetheless.

The one good thing about debt is that it isn’t permanent. You can get out of debt, but it takes time and patience. If you want to work toward debt freedom, and have more control over your finances, here are some of the steps you should be taking.

Start Fixing It Now

Get on your credit immediately. You’ll be thankful you took care of your debt quickly, especially if you find yourself wanting to own a home or needing to buy a new car. You may even be able to negotiate lower prices with the creditors that are coming after you for money.

If doing it on your own seems like too much, or you owe a great deal of money, you should consider debt consolidation. There are plenty of companies out there offering help with this. It can put all your payments together in one lump sum, which can make it much easier on you and your wallet.

Make Better Decisions

Once your debt is cleared, it’s time to learn to make better decisions with your money. Start by learning the differences between the things you want and the things you need in order to survive. There is a fine line. You may want that $20 steak, but you can survive on much cheaper meat.

Learn to always pay your bills first, before you decide to have fun or buy things that are just for show. Learn that the measure of a man is not what he owns, but how he is to other people. Your hoarded collections will impress some, but they might not be the right people to have in your life, especially if they only care about you because of your possessions.

Pay Off Credit Cards

Now that you’ve gotten rid of your old credit card debt, it’s time to start paying off the current debt. The more money you owe, even if it’s not in collections, the worse your credit looks. If you have more available credit, like a bunch of paid off credit cards, your credit score will go up.

Once you’ve paid off all of your credit cards you can consider canceling some of them. Don’t cancel any of them until they are all paid off, or you’ll just be hurting yourself and your credit score. If you’re worried about using them, take them out of your wallet and lock them up in your fire safe until they are paid off.