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Learn the order in which you should pay your bills

When you are in debt, your focus can either be paying the debts down or just making the minimum payments so that your credit doesn't take a hit. When you decide that you are going to start paying off debts, you can't just pay them off willy-nilly.

First, you need to focus on the necessities. Make sure that you pay your mortgage, car payments and utility bills. These should always be on the top of the list to get paid so that you have somewhere to live, transportation, electricity, gas and water. Your insurance payments also fall into the first on the list category.

Next, you need to pay things that you are legally obligated to pay. This includes your taxes, child support and spousal support. When it comes to taxes, make sure you are taking care of your income taxes, as well as personal property tax.

Last on your list is everything else. You should work to pay your obligations for credit card debt and medical bills. Typically, you should focus on either the accounts with the lowest balances or the ones with the highest interest rates. It is up to you which method you use.

If you sat down to plan your payments and realize that you just can't take care of everything, you might have to consider filing for bankruptcy. This isn't an easy decision, but it might help you to get out of unmanageable debt. Make sure that you carefully consider your options here so that you can make a decision that you feel is right for your circumstances.

Source: FindLaw, "Which Debt to Pay Off First," accessed June 14, 2017

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