According to the federal government, 43-percent of American families spend more than earn. On average, $1.22 for every $1.00 earned.
How do you know if that's you?
"You sit down and get it on paper. List your income, living expenses, and debt. Make sure 2 and 2 equals 4. Make sure you can cover all that. If you can't you need to make some changes."
Witherspoon says most debt problems start when people are young and there are "red flags" you need to be aware of.
- Paying bills on time
- Borrowing money to pay off other debts
- Trouble sleeping because of debt
- Fighting with spouse over money
He also says parents need to talk to their children. Credit card companies inundate college students with card offers. Chavez witnessed that when he was in college.
"They'll have tables set up in common areas and they're handing out applications to anyone who comes by," says Chavez.
Here are some tips to help you get out of debt:
First - Set up an emergency fund of 500$ to $1,000. If something happens you don't have to turn to credit.
Second - If you can't afford it-sell it. You can't get emotionally attached to material things that are driving you into debt.
Third - Tackle one debt at a time. Keep up with minimum payments on everything, but throw all your extra money at the smallest debt. Pay that one off and move to the next one.
Finally - Get help. Organizations like Consumer Credit Counseling have classes and other programs to help you. Don't wait until it's too late.