But South Florida's average credit card debt of $4,555 is among the nation's highest, according to a recent survey by Experian, a credit information firm.
Get a clear picture of what you owe and the interest rate each creditor is charging. Then plan, prioritize and be patient. Experts recommend paying off the largest or highest-interest-rate debts first. But you might feel better with paying off a smaller debt first.
Control your spending for what you really want. To monitor your spending, go to the free website DoughHound.com that was started by a Davie couple, Jillian and Daniel Tobias who managed to save $80,000 to travel the world.
Set a debt-reduction goal and reward yourself for reaching it. Then set a new, higher goal -- with a bigger reward.
Don't tempt yourself. Rather than leaving excess funds in your checking account, use it to pay down debt. Give yourself a weekly or monthly allowance to function as a spending ceiling.
Look for support from family and friends who share your debt reduction goals. Distance yourself from big spenders or people who spend money to feel good.
Watch out for profiteering debt settlement organizations that promise a lot, deliver less and charge plenty along the way. Be aware of debt consolidation loans that won't necessarily change the spending behavior that got you in trouble.