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Do You Know How Much Debt You Actually Have?

Debt consolidation can be used to help people get out of debt. In order to consolidate your debt, you first need to find out how much money you actually owe. Because not all debts scream in your face every month for payment, you may not realize how far in debt you are. Before you can consolidate your debt, it is important to get your paperwork together and find out how much debt you actually have. Look in the following places to put together a list of all the debt that you have.

Monthly Bills

Probably the easiest debts to find out about are the ones that send you bills every month. Your credit cards, store cards, student loans, and auto loans expect payment every month. Your mortgage is also part of your debt load, although you will not be including that in debt consolidation. You will not include utility bills, rent, or any monthly payments for ongoing services. Check your bills to see if a balance is listed. If your statement doesn’t include a balance, you will need to call your lender to find out what the payoff amount will be.

Miscellaneous Debt

Often, we incur miscellaneous debt over time. We may have to make an emergency room visit when we are uninsured. Perhaps you lose the box your cable company has loaned to you during a move. These bills often pop up at the least convenient times, and if you don’t have the money to pay back the debt right away, the bill might get lost in the shuffle and forgotten about. Try to remember any miscellaneous bills that you might have. Did you have to take your sick child to the doctor? Are there any other bills that you weren’t able to pay at the time? Now is the time to take care of all these miscellaneous debts that you have forgotten about, while you are getting ready for debt consolidation.

Check Your Credit Report

There are plenty of reasons why you should check your credit report at least once a year. One good reason to check your credit report while you are preparing for debt consolidation is to find out if you have any debt that you might have forgotten about. If you see any debt that you don’t remember on your credit report, it is either a debt that you have forgotten about, or a debt that was put there by mistake. You may have incurred debt without knowing about it. For example, if you move, you may owe your former utility companies a final payment, but never ended up getting the bill. Before you add an unfamiliar debt to the amount that you are consolidating, find out if the debt is actually yours. If the debt is not yours, you can send in a letter of dispute to the credit reporting agency. If it is your debt, you can include it in the consolidation loan and pay it off. You may have to contact the creditor listed on your credit report in order to find out how much you owe, and who to send the payoff amount to.

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