You have made an excellent start you have decided to look for ways to help yourself out of this situation. Facing the fact that you have a debt problem is one of the most difficult things some people ever have to face. So well done! Now let's start dealing with the debt.

The very first thing you need to do is work out exactly how big the problem is. I am sure you know roughly you owe $..., or £, but that is not good enough.

For your efforts dealing with debt to succeed you need to know exactly where you stand with all the people you owe money to.

So here is my first tip-

1. Collect all your paperwork together, look in the back of the drawers in the kitchen, in the glove compartment in the car in you wallet or purse, hand bag or briefcase. We need to know it all before we can start to work on clearing it. OK got it all right, now for the next step.

2. Sort it out, by this I mean separate the letters and bills and reminders and demands into piles which relate to the company or debt they refer to. So the mortgage or rent demands, the electricity the gas, the water, credit cards, a pile for each card, bills that relate to the payment of tax etc. Then take each pile and put the letters and demands into date order. Yes it's a slog but when you have finished you will know exactly who is intending to take you to court and who is asking you to pay by the end of the month.

Ok now you have to make a list. This should give you the total that you need to pay as well as the amount you need to pay each month. This is very important when it come to the next step, which is working out the priority of the debts.

3. Well, now you know how much you owe, let us take a look at the other side of your finances. How much money comes in every month for wages or salary, social security etc. Make a budget which includes paying the highest priority debts and being able to feed the family.

4. Do you owe money to any one who could send you to prison? Check this first - for example the tax authorities. You must negotiate payment of this type of debt first as it is hard to earn money in prison and then what would your family do?

For further steps to take, keep a look out for more ideas.

Author's Bio: 

Many years experience advising on all aspects of personal finance.