1. Assess how much money you take in and how much you spend. List your "fixed" expenses and your "variable" expenses.
2. Contact your creditors immediately and try to work out a modified payment plan.
3. There are laws regarding debt collectors. Be aware that they may not harass you, lie, or use unfair practices.
4. Secured debts are tied to an asset and can be repossessed or foreclosed upon default of payment. Consider selling a car to pay off that debt and to avoid added costs of repossession and bad credit. Work out something with your lender if you are close to facing foreclosure. Most lenders are willing to work with you.
5. Get help from a credit counseling organization. It's best to get in-person counseling so that you can get a handle on you money management.
6. You might choose to enroll in a debt management plan (DMP). You deposit money each month and they pay your unsecured debts to creditors who may agree to lower your interest rates or waive certain fees.
7. Check out debt settlement companies by entering the name and the word "complaints" into a search engine.
8. Remember that the IRS considers any amount of savings as income and is taxable.
9. The costs of debt consolidation can add up. Take care before you use a home equity line of credit where you use you home as collateral.
10. As a last resort, consider bankruptcy where the court says you don't have to repay certain debts. Bankruptcy information stays on your credit report for 10 years.