The holidays are over, but a significant number of Americans are still struggling with debt that they acquired during last year’s winter holiday season. If you are among them, it is important to understand that there are many things that you can do right now to start bringing your overwhelming debt back under control.

If your debt is frustrating but not overwhelming, it may benefit you to employ some basic strategies designed to better control your debt-to-income ratio. For example, and this may be easier said than done, you can limit your non-essential spending until your debt load becomes more reasonable.

Instead of going to the movies once a week, watch some of your favorite videos at home. If you can make a significant profit downsizing your current vehicle, the profits can be used to help bring your debt down to reasonable levels. This first tier of solutions is best utilized by those whose debt is mounting but not yet overwhelming.

If your debt load is spiraling out of control, it may benefit you to take some more dramatic steps to realign your finances. For example, speaking to an attorney about debt consolidation, other debt relief tools and about bankruptcy may be the best action you can engage in right now in order to bring your debt back under control.

Whatever methods you choose, keeping your debt loads reasonable is the soundest financial decision you can make under most circumstances. Acting to ensure that your debt loads will reach reasonable levels sooner rather than later is a decision worthy of your time and effort.

Source: USA Today, “How to reduce your debt,” Eric Hutchinson, March 9, 2014