how to: get out of debt

If you’re ready to get out of debt and boost your fiscal fitness, you’ve come to the right place. Staring at that huge stack of bills, fielding the unpleasant phone calls -- even just knowing you’re in the red can really drag you down. Luckily, we’re here to help you get back up! We have tons of advice for getting out of debt, including credit card debt help and an easy-to-use debt calculator to help you pay off debt. You’ll also find debt advice on how to renegotiate your credit card debt and ways to improve your credit (even before you’re out of debt!). Not sure where to begin? Why not give our 7 simple steps to getting out of debt at try -- they will definitely help you find your financial footing. Tackling your debt as a twosome? We’ve got plenty of debt advice geared toward couples. Learn about financial basics for newlyweds, including how to choose the right bank and when to merge your accounts. Peek into real couples’ budgets and see how they fixed their finances. And if you’re wondering where to find all that extra money to pay off debt -- don’t worry, we’ve got that covered too. We have debt help and cash-saving secrets from financial pros, and the money tips that spending savvy couples must know -- plus saving secrets from fellow Nesties. Finally, check out our tips to help you stay out of debt for good -- set up a household budget, plan your paychecks, and get credit smart.

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Real Couple Budget Rehab: Kim & Garrett

Location: San Jose, CA
Ages: She's 22, he's 27,
Career: She's a hairstylist and events coordinator; he's a librarian.
Married For: Two years
Financial Goals: They want to buy a house and, pretty soon, a baby!

Rent The average rent in San Jose is just over $1,200—so you might be overpaying a bit here (or you just have a super-nice pad!). Nowadays, landlords are eager to keep tenants, so the ball’s in your court: Ask him to knock off $100 or more before you re-sign your next lease. What can it hurt, right?
Saved: $100

Utilities Cut some costs by unplugging all of your gadgets, such as your cell phone, coffeemaker and laptops. One cell phone charger left plugged in each month costs about $2—hey, every penny counts!
Saved: $10

Groceries Okay, so $100 a week on groceries wouldn’t be so bad if you weren’t spending $50 a week eating out! When you grocery shop, bring a list with you and stick to it so you don’t end up buying items (read: chocolate pretzels) you don’t really need.
Saved: $100

Eating Out Hitting up your favorite restaurant every now and then is a treat—but not if you do it every week! Don’t give up date night; plan cheaper outings instead, like a romantic picnic in your local park.
Saved: $100

Sporting Events Pick two “must-see” games to buy a pair of tickets for this season (hey, we’re talking minor league here, no Sharks tickets on your budget!) and then get the hockey or baseball package on cable to catch up on the action.
Saved: $92

Clothes The next time you go out to buy clothes or accessories, make a mental note and leave the store empty-handed. If you’re still thinking about an item a few days later, then it might be worth getting. But chances are that most of those almost-purchases will be forgotten about by the time you’re in your car.
Saved: $50

Total Saved: $452 a month!

-- Caitlin Moscatello

See More: Money , Real Couples , Budgeting , Getting Out of Debt