New Year, New Finances Part II: Keeping Your Financial New Year’s Resolution

So you're fed up with your finances and you've made a New Year's resolution to get out of debt. Making that commitment is the first step towards financial freedom, say Chicago bankruptcy attorneys. Unfortunately, it's not the only step.

Millions of Americans vow to change their lives for the better every Jan. 1, yet many of us don't follow through. So what sets the successful apart from the failures? Simple - a solid plan. If you want to make your dream of a debt-free future a reality, it helps to craft a plan that follows the "three Rs," according to

There are lots of ways to save a ton of money, from canceling your cable to socking away a quarter of your annual income. Problem is, drastic measures like these can be too overwhelming. You don't want to burn yourself out emotionally just two months into the New Year. When making serious budget cuts, start small and work your way up. You can always slash more later.

Know that getting out of debt is a struggle for most people, and be prepared to run into some trouble. Maybe that means setting up an automatic payment from your paycheck into your savings account so you can't conveniently forget to set aside cash when times get tough. Maybe it means signing up for a class - for instance, DebtStoppers offers free community financial workshops - or forming a savings club with a group of friends or neighbors to keep yourself accountable.

All work and no play make Jack a dull - and relapse-prone - boy. Make sure to recognize your efforts throughout the year. You don't want to blow all your progress on a shopping binge, but a little treat now and then - maybe a dinner out at the end of a successfully-budgeted month - will help keep you on track. When writing down costs and budget cuts gets tiresome, take a moment to look back at previous months to reflect on how far you've come - and give yourself a pat on the back.

But even the best-laid plans run up against obstacles. If your debt turns out to be too big to handle - or you fall off the wagon along the way - don't give up, get help. Bankruptcy is often the most reasonable, realistic and rewarding way to lower the largest and most stubborn of debt burdens. Find out if bankruptcy might be your best solution when you try a free one-on-one debt analysis with a Chicago bankruptcy attorney today.

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