Getting out of debt is going to be hard work. But your not alone. Debt is the 21st century nightmare of the western world. It effects almost everyone to some degree. Even if you are one of the lucky one's that is not affected, then its probably your kids or some other member of your family or friends that is. This recession hasn't really ended, it will be here for some time so its best to get used to it. Adapt and make plans to get out of debt, and stay out of debt. Unfortunately many people in debt either do not realise it, or they are too frightened to face up to it. Its all to easy to think its just a temporary glitch and things will get better. Admitting that your in debt is the first step to get out of debt.

What you need to do:-

Stop accumulating debt: Cut up your credit cards. Stop spending money on things that you don't need. Whenever you go to make a purchase, ask yourself this 'Is This Really Essential, Can I Live Without It'. Do not take on new debts.

Reducing expenses: Do you need a 48 inch plasma screen television ? Do you need two cars. Do you need to buy that new outfit. There are so many things that we feel we must have, but the truth is we really do not need them.

Creditors: Always stay in contact with your creditor/s and try and continue with payments even if they are small. This way you will be seen to be making an effort to pay. Speak to your creditors if you are going to be making a late payment, communication is the key.

Debt settlement companies & Professional negotiators:  These people are supposed to be there to help you but in my experience they are in business for themselves. All they seem to want is money, your money. In fact the first thing they will ask for is money upfront. For people in debt this is the last thing they need or can afford.  If you need advice book an appointment with a citizen's advice centre. Plenty of free advice is available on the internet, some of it will be rubbish. But some will be solid and genuine from other people who have already experienced financial difficulties. If someone is asking for money to help you, then you can be sure they will be putting their finances before yours. Signing up to a third party to negotiate on your behalf is a risk, The Federal Trade commission are currently looking into their practice.

Debt settlement: With the current state of the economy creditors have been willing to accept much lower settlements. You may be offered to clear the outstanding amount by paying a lump sum of just 50% or similar, off the capital you owe. So if you owed $5,000 your creditors would accept $2,500. The rest would be written off. This works out as a really good deal for you, if you can raise the funds.

Make a plan: Try and get your finances on an even keel so that your outgoings match your income. Although you will be paying back several creditors, select the smallest debt you have, then pay a little extra off that debt and try to pay that off first. Once that is paid off completely select the next smallest debt and pay that off next.  When you see your arrears going down, it will give you the motivation to carry on and get rid of all of it.

Become a 'new' you: Get disciplined, find your willpower and resolve to turn debt into wealth. You cannot get out of debt without changing the way you think and do things. Its a bit like going on a diet, it takes time, sacrifice and hard work. But its worth it in the end.

Bankruptcy: This is the last thing you need, and should be undertaken only as a last resort. By now you will have covered every single aspect of reducing your debt down as far as you can. But like many other people, it will not be enough. For most people a simple $200/month extra would make all the difference. So your next step is to increase your income.

First of all many people will come up with all the excuses they can. I haven't got the time. I'm too busy as it is. I'm not skilled. I will need to travel to find extra work, and so on. To create an extra income is not easy, but its not impossible, and what choice do you have ? Assuming that you are in full time employment, the first step is to turn off the television and set aside 1 or 2 hours a night and some time at the weekend to spend on your new venture. But what can you do. Well there is a whole list of ways to make money. With the advent of the computer and the internet making money opens up a whole new world. Log on to the search engine Google, and type in 'ways to make money' and you will get 795 million results. Type in 'work from home' and you get 5,140 million results. Plenty to choose from and think about. But you must go careful, many of the make money programmes are just scams. If you do come across something you like, do your due diligence, research the opportunity thoroughly.

Selling on Ebay and Amazon are worth considering as they are trusted and regulated. Over 10,000 people worldwide trade on ebay alone as their main income, and thousands more use it to generate a second income.

Multilevel marketing or network marketing as it is sometimes called is an excellent way to make a second income. But, this type of business is generally regarded as a long term business. Unless you are a highly motivated individual with great marketing skills, it would be better left alone. However, some multilevel marketing companies are structured in such a way that they can provide you with an excellent income for very little outlay. These companies work by selling door to door. So a good income could be generated simply by selling their products in your local area. 

Poker, horse racing and any form of gambling should be left well alone. We all think we are good at these things but the honest truth is that the bookmaker always wins. The same goes for forex trading, Stocks and shares are a gamble for the man in the street.

There are lists or directories that can easily be found on Google that will give you plenty of ideas, pizza delivery, taking in laundry and arts and crafts such as making jewellery and candle making. Certainly worth a look.

Think about what you are good at, or what you enjoy. These two things generally go hand in hand. Even something simple like wood working or knitting could mean that you can create a product that someone is willing to pay good money for. Perhaps you have a skill, but because it comes easily and naturally to you, you don't realise how gifted you are !