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Getting in debt seems so easy to do especially when we have credit cards. Getting out of debt seems to take longer to get out of. In actuality, it is because of the interest rates.

If you become $5,000 in debt using your credit card and this has happened over the span of one year, it will probably take you two to three years to pay this bill off depending on your self restraint and cash flow.

The first step to getting out of debt is to stop using your credit cards except in case of an emergency i.e. needing car repairs, a major appliance needs replacing, etc.

The second step is to take all but one credit card (if you have more than one) out of your wallet and put them away so you won’t use them.

Next, write down on a sheet of paper, all of your monthly, quarterly and yearly expenses. Then take your quarterly bills and divide them by four – this will give you what it costs per month to pay this bill. Now take your annual payments and divide them by twelve and this will give you the monthly cost to pay these bills as well. Once you have all of your monthly payments and expenses, add them together.

Now write down what you else you spend money on: cigarettes, candy, soda, food, gasoline, clothes, video rentals or purchases, hair cuts, pedicures, manicures, makeup, and anything else you spend money on. Add these figures up and add them to your to the other monthly expense figure.

How much money do you bring home each month in your paycheck? Chances are you are overspending or have very little left over. Cut back on the unnecessary spending. Instead of renting or purchasing four to five videos per week, cut it back to one a week or one every two weeks. Do you really need to have the latest in nail care? Do your own nails and go with something simpler that you can do. If you are a smoker, cut back on your smoking. How many cigarettes do you leave burning in an ashtray? You will probably be surprised to find that you are smoking less than you actually thought unless you are a chain smoker.

Now that you have cut back on the unnecessary expenditures, add your figures again to see what the bottom line reads. If you have surplus at the end of the month that is great! Take half of this amount and use that to pay your credit card bills. It will probably be more than the minimum payment the company requests.

If you are still in the red and you cannot cut back any more, then it is time to bring in and additional income. Instead of babysitting or working another four hours somewhere else after you have already worked an eight to ten hour job; find an incentive program on the Internet. Quite a few programs will pay you to surf the web for so much money an hour. People usually spend quite a bit of their time on their computers from home so why not make money while you are online? The best place to look for these programs is by asking in chat rooms. People are more than happy to help. When the money comes in, instead of spending it on extra items, pay your credit cards or buy essentials that you absolutely need.

When you receive your income tax returns in the mail, pay all but one fourth of your check to the credit card company. You deserve a little extra – it helps not to feel too deprived.

In addition, check with the local churches and food banks to see if you are eligible for their assistance with surplus food and clothes. This will help tremendously if you do. Remember this is only until you get your debts paid off. Pay cash for what you need to buy and avoid using credit. If you don’t have the money, don’t buy the item. This will cut down on any unnecessary spending – it makes you evaluate if you need or want the item.

As you pay off your credit cards, cut them up and close the account out until you only have one credit card left. You will need this for emergencies.

There will be house and car payments along the road of life and if you have the extra cash, you can pay these debts off even sooner than anticipated. It is a great feeling to be debt free and you deserve it.