Unless you've been the victim of job loss, a medical condition, or another unforeseen catastrophe that has left you mired in debt, it is likely that your spending habits have led or contributed to your troubles.

It's easy to accumulate debt with easy accessibility to credit and the wide variety of temptations that surround the average consumer. 

Fortunately, there are various ways, both personal and legal, to relieve yourself of unmanageable debt. However, all of these methods will require personal sacrifices.

Option 1: Manage your money and bill payments

Unless your debt is too excessive, you can get yourself out of debt by controlling your spending while structuring the repayment of your debt to obtain the greatest benefit.

Resolve to abstain from using credit cars for anything but emergencies, such as replacing a broken appliance. All consumables, such as food and gas, must be paid for in cash. Don't swipe your credit card with a plan to pay before your next credit card statement. It's too tempting to pay the the minimum required payment.

You should pay more than the minimum required payment without adding to the balance owed. Check the interest rates of all of your accounts, and pay anything extra that you can afford to the accounts with the highest interest rates.

If you have both installment loans and credit card debt, and both have comparable interest rates, pay an additional payment on an installment loan if possible.

Option 2: Consumer credit counseling services

These nonprofit services will offer both counseling and debt consolidation plans to repay creditors if needed. They will negotiate with your creditors to lower interest rates and fees on your debts to enable you to lower your debt.

If you enter into a debt consolidation plan, you will pay a fixed monthly payment to the credit counseling service, who will then distribute the money to your creditors. These services only handle unsecured debt, such as credit cards and personal loans. If you choose this option, you will need to deal with your secured credit, such as car loans and home mortgages.

Option 3: Bankruptcy

If you are facing a default on your mortgage or repossession of your vehicle, in addition to other serious debt, you can choose to file for chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.

You must have sufficient income to file for this type of bankruptcy, which involves structured payments to your creditors through federal Bankruptcy Court over a period of three to five years.

Your debt may be substantially reduced, depending on your income, and you can make arrangements to pay arrears to keep your home or vehicle if you are in danger of losing them. Filing for bankruptcy protection grants an automatic "stay", or cessation, of any debt collection efforts or repossessions.

If you are completely destitute, and need a fresh start, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will eliminate all of your personal debt except federal debts such as taxes, court costs, or student loans. However, you will likely need to give up some property if your have assets above a specified limit.

Bankruptcy can be complicated, and can seriously affect both your present and your future life. Hiring an experienced bankruptcy lawyer like Law Office of Michael Alfano will give your and your assets the best protection possible if bankruptcy becomes the only option available.