"There are many possible ways to go about getting out of debt, but only a handful of strategies will accelerate your debt elimination plans and get you out of debt sooner rather than later," says Judy Sorensen, president of the Association of Credit Counseling Professionals (ACCPros).
To help consumers nationwide, Sorensen
and the experts from ACCPros
offer the following 5 best strategies to pay off debt in 2015:
"When you have debts you can't handle, especially credit card bills that are out of control, that's a sign you need to lay off the credit cards at least for a while until you get your finances back in order," says Sorensen
2. Move Beyond Minimum Payments
"It's very difficult to get out of debt quickly if you're only making minimum payments," says Sorensen
points out that banks set minimum payment amounts at just one or two percent of your outstanding balance.
"You might get a windfall from any source," says Sorensen
It could be your income tax refund check, or maybe a bonus or a raise from your job.
While it may be tempting to spend those funds, "anytime you get additional cash, you should use that money to reduce debt.
You won't regret it," she
"Not only do we educate consumers we work with about proper budgeting and cash management, we can also negotiate with their creditors on their behalf," says Sorensen
"It simplifies life and gives the consumer greater control," Sorensen
says, adding: "Consolidating your debt can often lower your overall monthly payment too, giving you some financial breathing room."