If you're looking for debt relief, one thing you want to consider is working to curb your spending. This may not get you out of debt, but it can help you plan for the future -- after bankruptcy, debt consolidation or whatever you end up doing -- so that you don't get into debt again.
That said, in a consumer culture, it's often hard to know where to start. Here are a few things that you can do:
- Figure out what you really use. Get rid of what you don't. Focus future purchases on the things you really enjoy.
- Cut back on energy use around the house. Just switching to LED bulbs can save you money every month.
- If you have things you buy a lot -- coffee, for instance, or cereal -- consider buying in bulk. You pay more up front, but you save over time.
- Focus on hobbies that don't cost money. Stop working out at the gym and start running outside, for instance. Instead of paying to go to the movies, take the time to read some of the books you already own.
- Don't buy bottled water. If you want to filter your water, get a filter and a bottle you can wash and refill.
- Find a bank without fees. The last thing you need is to see some of your income disappearing every month, with nothing in return.
- Make a budget. This is the most important step. Figure out what you can spend every month and then stick to it.
Again, while these tips can help for the future, they may not erase current problems. Make sure you know what legal options you have.