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Illinois: How to tell if you need debt relief and ways to get it

As people in Illinois go through their daily lives, the fact that their debt is getting out of hand may creep up on them. By the time these consumers realize that they are in trouble, they might need help getting out from under their debt. There are ways to get debt relief whether it's on their own or with professional help, but first consumers need to determine if they are in trouble or not.

There are three tell-tale signs that debt is a problem. The first sign is maxed out credit cards. The second is avoiding paying some bills in order to pay others when funds are low. The third warning sign is continuing to use credit cards even after they are paid down or even paid off despite a personal pledge not to use them.

So once a consumer realizes they have a problem, what next? Many people wonder if they should take money out of savings or their retirement account in order to pay off bills, but this could make matters worse. The same is true for only making minimum payments. It could take years to pay off the original balance. It is much more effective to make a detailed list of all debts, earnings and expenditures.

Cutting corners wherever possible can free up extra money that can be used to pay off bills. It may also be possible to sell items that are not used or are duplicates, or there may be other ways to earn extra money to put toward bills. If none of these measures works, it may be time to seek professional help.

Filing for bankruptcy is one debt relief option that Illinois consumers shouldn't be afraid to use. The bankruptcy laws are there for people who, through no fault of their own, find themselves drowning in debt. Getting rid of most, if not all, of a consumer's debt can give that consumer a chance to start over financially.

Source:, The Worst and Best Ways to Destroy Debt, Angela Brandt, Aug. 23, 2013

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