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However, becoming debt-free, and evendoing it quickly, isn't an impossible goal. But you'll have to make some sacrifices. If you're ready to.
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But if you want to go on a tear with your debt reduction efforts, a balance transfer can help.

Take this advice and pay back what you owe

By transferring high rate debt to a zero percent deal — one that lasts for 12 months or so — you eliminate all credit-card interest. That frees up cash flow, giving you additional money to knock out those credit card bills. Just read the fine print before signing up to make sure you are really getting that low rate. Some people pay off old credit card debts — really old ones — even when they're no longer legally obligated to do so. We all want to repay our bills. But if times are especially tight and you just don't have the money, you should focus on current debts and consider forgoing repayment of old bills that are 7 to 10 years old, or even older.

Each state has its own set of rules regarding outstanding debts. Some states don't allow a debt collector to collect a certain type of debt after a certain period of time; others limit the amount of time when a creditor can sue you over an old debt. Either way, you should find out whether the statute of limitations has passed regarding an old debt you may owe. If it has passed, you can likely forgo repayment without worrying about financial, legal or credit consequences plaguing you.

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For more information about dealing with old debts, contact your state Attorney General or the consumer protection agency for help and advice regarding your state's statute of limitations on credit card debt. Bankruptcy should only be used as a last-ditch option to rid yourself of debt.

But under extreme circumstances — as when you have no income or you have completely unmanageable credit card payments or medical bills — a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is appropriate to discharge credit card bills in their entirety. If you feel morally obligated to repay your debts, you can also look into Chapter 13, which reduces some of your credit card bills.

Then you repay the remaining debt over a three- to-five year period. You can follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Strategies for paying down debt

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Please return to AARP. Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive. In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails related to AARP volunteering. Studies show that shoppers spend percent more when making purchases with credit cards instead of cash. Do pay off outstanding debts. Tackle these debts by prioritizing them.

7 steps to a debt-free 2018

What debts have the highest rates? How many payments are left? Focus efforts on paying off one debt ahead of schedule, and then continue on to the next one. Do save for a better future.

Find workable ways to begin saving now. Recent figures show that as 78 million baby boomers head to retirement, they have the fastest growing debt problem. Experts predict the numbers to rise as the cost of living increases and retirement funds fall short. These include entertainment, recreation, vacations, discretionary clothing, and other incidentals. When you cut these expenses, there is more money left to pay down debt and to save. Making minimum payments and adding more debt gets you nowhere.

7 steps to a debt-free | Fin24

Resolve to wipe out debt. This eliminates interest on purchases. MoneySmart states that rising numbers of cardholders are defaulting. The number of home foreclosures and auto repossessions is higher now than ever. It is always good to know that your credit record is in check. Be alert and make sure there's nothing fishy going on with your credit score.

If you see something suspicious, sort it out right away by getting in contact with the relevant credit bureaus. You are responsible for your debt and finance management. If you are not going to control your spending splurges, nobody else will. Instead, do the necessary research and compare rates and costs from different credit providers to see if you can afford a loan s or item s before applying for any credit. Life happens and you must therefore protect what is most important to you.

Make sure you have credit-linked insurance to take care of yourself and your loved ones when unpredicted or in some cases predictable things happen like temporary or permanent disability, retrenchment and maternity leave as well as death. Contributions of words or more will be considered for publication. Money Clinic Get your financial questions answered.

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