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: Marisa & Joe

This Nestie couple let us peek at their monthly budget to find out where they’re overspending and how to save.

Location: Farmington, CT
Ages: She's 24; he's 25.
Careers: She's a youth counselor; he's a photo editor.
Financial Goals: Establish a realistic monthly budget and save to buy a home

See their money makeover plan after the jump.

Transportation Depending on your driving record, insurance can cost less than $100 a month. Add that to negotiating a cheaper lease (or a less pricey ride altogether!), and Joe’s car payments could go down to as little as $200. Don’t forget about cash for gas!
Saved: $415

Cable This might make you cringe, but if you’re working on paying off that credit card debt, get basic cable (which can cost as little as $10 a month!) and go over to your friends’ houses to watch HBO.
Saved: $40

Drinks On-the-Go We don’t have to tell you that spending on S-bucks (or, ahem, “five-bucks”) is money down the drain. Save some cash -- and paper -- by brewing at home and toting your caffeine in a thermos.
Saved: $10

Eating Out Okay, so you don’t want to stay cooped up in your house all the time. Next time you go out, skip the wine or eat at home and just order dessert.
Saved: $50

Traveling to Friends' Weddings Wow, um, 10 weddings?! You do know you don’t have to accept every invite, right? Unless it’s the wedding of a close friend or family member, just politely decline and send a small gift to congratulate them.
Saved: $125

Big Brother Volunteering Can’t argue with spending money for a good cause! Good news: Cash you shell out for a charity/volunteering (for Joe, it’s taking his “little brother to ball games”) can be deducted from your taxes and save you bucks. So keep those receipts!
Saved: $14


Student Loan Payments If you’re having trouble making your minimum payments each month, talk to your lender. You might be able to get a lower rate or at least talk about different payment plans.
Saved: $900 (or less)

Credit Card Payments Got will power? Doubling the amount of your credit card payments (from $300 to $600) will be tough, but it’ll get you that much closer to being a prime home-buying applicant! The cash you have left over can be socked away for savings, a new home, retirement...the options are endless (no more stress, yeah!).
Saved: +$300

Total Saved: $354 a month

(Plus, they'll dig out of debt twice as fast by doubling their credit card payments!)

> See how another real couple made over their budget
> More getting-out-of-debt solutions

-- Caitlin Moscatello

See More: Getting Out of Debt