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If you are considering debt-consolidation options, avoid these misrepresentations: Credit counseling involves helping consumers develop a budget and the discipline to make steady payments to clear their debt loads. "Most of these individuals make a decent living, but at the end of the week don't have enough money and don't understand why," says Joel Greenberg, president of New Jersey-based Novadebt.Debt-management programs -- or DMPs as insiders like to shorten it -- are one tool in the credit counselors' kit.

You also could look at a personal loan to pay off your balances.

That's where debt consolidation and other financial options come in.

Consolidate Your Debt Now Debt consolidation is combining several unsecured debts — credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, payday loans, etc. Instead of having to write checks to 5–10 creditors every month, you consolidate bills into one payment, and write one check.

These are not quick fixes, but rather long-term financial strategies to help you get out of debt.

When done correctly, debt consolidation can: There are several ways to consolidate debt, depending on how much you owe.