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A powerful approach to lasting debt relief

Once debt has reached an untenable level, most Washington residents are more than ready to take action. Determining how to best approach debt relief, however, is not always a simple or easy task. In order to truly gain freedom from overwhelming debt, it is necessary to try different approaches until the best possible fit is discovered. The following approach uses a combination of tactics to help consumers achieve lasting debt relief.

The process begins by making a comprehensive list of all current debt. This includes the most recent balance, the interest rate and the monthly payment. Prioritize those debts that have a high associated cost, such as high interest or significant fees. Next, open a separate bank account that is dedicated to nothing other than paying down debt.

From this point forward, look for ways to cut costs within the monthly budget, and place those savings into the debt repayment account. These efforts might include cutting off cable/satellite TV for a while, or making changes to cell phone service, subscriptions or other expenses. Cutting down on entertainment and restaurant expenses is a great way to find "extra" money in the budget.

Next, consider augmenting the debt repayment account by picking up extra work when possible. There are a multitude of online resources that connect individuals who are looking for services with those who are interested in earning a little extra money. Whether it is part-time tutoring, pet-sitting, minor home improvement jobs or online gigs, those extra dollars can really add up. The key is to employ discipline, and to make sure that anything extra is used to pay down debt.

For some Washington residents, this approach can eliminate debt over a period of time. In other cases, however, the level of debt has risen to the point that repayment efforts are unlikely to yield timely or significant results. For those individuals, personal bankruptcy may offer a more powerful debt relief opportunity.  

Source: oprah.com, "How One Woman Paid Off $68,000 of Debt in 3 Years", Farnoosh Torabi, March 7, 2017

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