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How can you get back in control of your finances?

If you're struggling to cope with debt, it can be one of the worst feelings in the world. You may not know if you'll have enough money to pay rent, to pay for gas to get to work or even to buy food. If you're worried about losing your home or car, you're not alone. Many people face these issues at least once in their lives.

There are a few different things you can do to cope with debt. You can try debt-relief services, using a realistic budget, or consider working with a debt settlement program with a reputable organization or your attorney. If those aren't options for you, filing bankruptcy or negotiating lower payments through debt-relief programs with the help of your attorney are both options.

The first step is generally to develop a budget. The main goal of any program is going to be for you to take control of your finances. Start cutting out the things you don't need, so you can focus on the things you do. List all your fixed expenses on your budget alongside your income.

If there is money to spare, you can start using that to pay down the debt with the highest interest rate. If there isn't, then you may want to look at those expenses and see if there are any ways you can reduce your costs. For instance, if your electrical bills are $150 a month, see if there are things you can turn off in your home or if you can reduce your use of heat or electric to reduce that bill and free up some money in your budget.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, "Coping with Debt," accessed June 02, 2016

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