Tips for debt settlement

Thousands of Americans are looking for some form of debt relief these days, if your typical financial blog or news story is to be believed. With so many people living from paycheck-to-paycheck and swimming up to their eyes in unpaid debts, it can be hard to even begin to swim towards drier land.

To better help you deal with whatever debt crisis you may be facing, here are some tips to help you find debt relief on a budget:

• Stop spending more than you can afford. Start your road to debt settlement by drafting up a budget for yourself, if you haven't already. Be sure to compile all of you monthly bills and other expenses. If you find that your net income is barely enough to keep you afloat every time the check comes in, now would be a good time to evaluate your spending priorities.

• Stick to your budget. One thing I like to try and remind people who get discouraged that their efforts at debt settlement aren't going as smoothly or as quickly as they'd hoped is that the process doesn’t take place overnight; you won’t wake up tomorrow with all of your debts forgiven or wiped out and perfect credit score. The same applies to your budget. You can’t expect to draft one up and let it work itself out each month. If life were that easy, I wouldn't even be writing this blog. If your monthly budget still isn't working for you, it could be because...

• You’re not adjusting it. You shouldn’t think of your budget as a binding contract that isn’t open to negotiation. On the contrary, you’re budget could see dramatic changes at any point in time, for any number of reasons (pay raise, job loss, marriage, baby on the way, etc.) and should be adjusted for these occasions. If you’re not factoring these changes and others like them, into your budget, you’re only hurting yourself.

• Don’t leave out any details. This is a pretty common mistake a lot of people make when they’re setting up a budget for the first time: Forgetting to include every extra expense on their budget, even the small ones. Smaller expenses are easy to overlook when creating a budget and are usually the reason you come up short when checking your spending vs. your income. Refer to your bank statements every chance you get to make sure your numbers add up to theirs.

• Don’t leave any of it to chance. If you’re still having trouble paying your debts down on an adjusted budget, and you’re left feeling like you can’t make any headway on your own, consider contacting a debt settlement company to help you free up your finances.

I know it can be tricky to pick the right debt settlement company to help – what with the wealth of scams out there – so we’ll actually be examining and reviewing some of the top debt settlement companies online and recommending our pick for the top firm to help you settle your debts and improve your credit score.

We’ll be reviewing them based not only on individual company practices, but also their compliance with the new FTC law regarding debt settlement companies and the advance fees they wish they could still charge. You can read more details about it here:

Check back in the coming days for our reviews of the top debt settlement companies and which of them is right for your financial situation.