If you've ever gotten caught up in watching an episode of "Extreme Makeover" or "The Biggest Loser," you've witnessed some dramatic transformations as people featured on those shows drastically changed their appearance, behavior and habits to improve their lives. Think about your debt reduction plan as an extreme makeover to change years of poor financial habits.
Go big or go home
Don't go into a debt reduction plan halfway. Either you really want to make changes to get credit debt relief, or you're likely to end up in the same situation or worse. Think about your plan to pay off credit card debt and other bills as a battle for your future financial security. Strategize and put steps in place so you can stick to your plan.
Get reinforcements to help with debt
When you consolidate loans, the goal is to lower the amount of interest paid and the monthly payments, but you don't have to go this alone. Find a reputable debt counseling agency to give you tips and tools to budget and pay off credit card debt and other bills.
Do careful research before signing up with a debt consolidation company. Get referrals for debt counseling from people you know or reputable organizations such as your house of worship or local community agencies. Your state's attorney general's office can advise you of any complaints that have been filed against a particular debt counseling firm.
Some consolidation firms have preyed on consumers by charging large upfront fees without actually providing any real help.
Debt reduction boot camp
It's likely that you'll have to make some huge sacrifices at the beginning of your debt reduction plan. Be honest about whether or not you are living above your means and need to get rid of certain expenses.
No one wants to make choices to give up luxeries or activities they enjoy, but you need to honestly assess whether cutting out some of the extras in your life is what needs to be done to facilitate your extreme makeover to get rid of debt.