Some California residents who are in debt make mistakes that cause their financial situations to go from bad to worse. For instance, an individual may spend money on food or other nonessential items to forget about their plight. However, it is important that an individual starts on a path to getting out of debt immediately. This means not spending money on frivolous items.

By getting out of debt in a timely manner, long-term effects can be minimized. When attempting to pay down debt, don’t make it harder by taking short-term loans from a bank or payday lender. These typically come with high interest rates and other fees. A payday loan can come with an APR of 400 percent while checks sent by lenders can have interest rates as high as 36 percent.

Don’t forget to create an emergency fund in addition to paying down credit card debt. Otherwise, it could be difficult to pay for a car repair or unexpected medical expense without putting it back on the credit card. Those who are looking to consolidate their debt should think carefully before committing to a balance transfer. While many cards come with an interest-free introductory period, it may not help much if the balance isn’t paid off before that period ends.

Filing for bankruptcy may be beneficial for those looking to get out of debt. In some cases, a balance could be wiped out entirely. It is also possible that a debtor will be able to repay some or all of that balance over three or five years. This may reduce the monthly payment and allow the debtor to build an emergency fund. An attorney could explain more about the other benefits bankruptcy may provide.