The Ultimate Guide to Becoming Debt-Free

From debt consolidation loans to credit counseling agencies, here's everything you need to know to pay off your bills.
cutting credit card
Most everyone deals with a form of debt at some point in their lives, and it can be easy for it to grow out of hand. If you're striving for debt-free living but are buried in bills, you should know all is not lost.

Check out our guide to becoming debt-free, which has info on how debt consolidation loans work, the top credit counseling agencies, and more.

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money and debt

How Do Debt Consolidation Loans Work, Exactly?

You're up to your eyeballs in debt and want to do something about it, but you don't know where to start. Then you remember a commercial you saw about debt consolidation — it promised to end your woes for good with one low monthly payment. Check out our guide on how consolidation loans work, which answers questions like these:

  • What is a debt consolidation loan?

  • What kinds of fees can you expect?

  • Are debt consolidation loans a good idea?

Top 4 Credit Counseling Agencies

Name Locations Contact Information
CCCS 63 locations across 17 states: GA, IL, IA, KS, KY, MO, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, SC, SD, TN, VA, WV, WI Contact the NFCC at 1-800-388-2227;
fill out a form
GreenPath Financial Wellness 64 locations across 22 states: AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, MI, MT, NE, NV, NH, NY, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, WI, WY Call 800-550-1961;
request a call
Money Management International 43 locations across 30 states: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IL, LA, ME, MD, MA, MS, MO, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OK, OR, PA, TX UT, VA, WA, WV Call 866-889-9347;
fill out a form
Navicore Solutions 11 locations across 11 states: CA, CT, IL, MA, MN, NV, NJ, NC, PA, TX, UT Call 1-800-992-4557;
fill out a form

couple looking at bills

Are Debt Relief Programs a Good Idea?

Finding yourself in a tough spot financially can be overwhelming. Debt relief programs might promise to solve all your problems with one easy payment, but is there any truth to that? And what are the downsides?

Check out our guide to debt relief programs, and what to look for alternatively.

There's no guarantee that debt relief companies will be able to negotiate a better agreement for you.

concerned man with credit card

4 Reasons Why Making a Minimum Payment Is Bad

When it comes to credit cards, making the minimum payment is better than nothing — but don't pat yourself on the back if you're doing this on the regular. Very little of your payment is being applied to your actual credit card debt.

That's tough to hear for many folks. Research shows that 37% of U.S. households carry a credit card balance from month to month, and the average balance at the end of 2018 was $6,506. Read on to learn why making a credit card minimum payment is a bad idea.
Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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