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Top 5 ways to get out of debt

Lori Wilson is a SheKnows.com Home & Living columnist, as well as a freelance writer in Los Angeles, who after a lifetime of enduring harsh Michigan winters, relishes the warmth year round.

Break free from bills

Your bills keep coming and your debt continues to pile up. It may seem daunting, but if you change your attitude and focus on getting out of debt, it can be easier than you think.

Cutting Up Credit Card

1. Cut up your credit cards

Yes, that's right. Cut them up, cancel them and stop using them! You've heard this countless times, but yet you're still charging things you can't afford on your credit cards. All that high interest you're paying is only putting yourself further into debt. So cancel your cards, start paying them off and start paying for things with cash. If you don't have the money in hand, then don't buy it.

2. Give yourself a raise

One way to ensure you don't fall back on your credit cards is to make more money so you always have cash on hand. If getting a raise at your current job isn't an option, then look into getting a second job or working overtime. Just make sure your newfound cash flow goes toward practical things first such as bills, paying down your debt and putting it in your savings account. If you have money left over, then go ahead and splurge a little, just make sure you leave the credit cards at home.

3. One bill at a time

Zero in on one bill at a time and make an effort to pay it off quickly. Pay the minimum amount on all your other bills, but pay a little extra on the one you've singled out. Pick your smallest bill or the one with the highest interest rate first. Once that bill gets paid off, tackle the next one by applying the payment you were making on the paid off bill to your next one and so on and so on. It may take some time, but you'll have a solid plan for eventually becoming debt free.

4. Save for a rainy day

Set up an emergency fund and make sure you keep a minimum amount in it each month. Having a little extra padding for unexpected emergencieswill help prevent you from turning to your credit cards. Keeping roughly $500 - $1,000 in a savings account at all times will come in handy when you need new tires on your car or you crack your tooth.

5. Pay your bills on time

It may be difficult some months, but it's crucial that you don't rack up late fees on your bills. If you're just disorganized, then pay each bill as soon as it comes in or write down your due dates on a calendar. You can also set up automatic payments with many companies. You just have to remember to make sure that money is in your account on the due date so you don't incur overdraft fees. If you link your emergency fund to your checking account, you'll have a little back up in case you forget one month.

6. State of mind

No matter what action you take to start paying off your debt, you have to make a commitment to it first. Get in the mind-set that you will bring your credit card, or other debt balances down. It might require a bit of a lifestyle change, but just think of the freedom you'll enjoy once you aren't chained to your bills.

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