Sick of opening your credit card bills and staring at an insurmountable number? Reducing your debt is a realistic goal, and living debt free means you can do what you want with the money you earn. This New Year, stick to your debt free resolutions with these 5 tips.

#1 Set Your Goals

Living in debt can feel like a trap, but setting your sights on a positive financial goal can give you the motivation to become debt-free. Imagine what you can accomplish once you’ve paid down your debt, from starting your retirement savings to paying for a vacation you’ve always promised yourself.

#2 Turn Big Financial Goals Into Smaller Ones

The goal you set may seem ambitious, and if you miss a step it will be easier to give up altogether. If you break down big dreams into smaller goals, the job won’t seem so daunting. As you keep meeting smaller benchmarks, you’ll feel motivated to keep up the pace and accomplish bigger things. Whether it’s a vacation, buying a home, or becoming 100% debt-free, it’s easier when you set yourself smaller, more attainable goals that you can meet one at a time.

#3 Get Your Credit Score

When you’re setting goals for yourself, it helps to know where you’re standing. If your financial goals include buying a home or a car, starting up your own business, or any goal that’s going to involve borrowing money, part of your goal should be improving your credit score. You can improve your credit by lowering your credit card debt to 30 percent or less of your balance. If you can borrow up to $10,000 on a single credit card, don’t let your balance exceed $3,000 – although the best balance to carry over is zero. Nevertry to take off debt you’ve successfully finished paying from you credit history; showing that you’ve finished paying off a car loan is better for your credit score, and the better score you have, the lower interest rate you can get at the bank or from another lender.

#4 Credit Counseling

Credit counseling is available from Licensed Insolvency Trustees, firms that manage Consumer Proposals and bankruptcies like Toronto-based David Sklar & Associates. Credit counseling is about identifying financial goals, eliminating your debt, budgeting, and rebuilding a credit rating.

#5 File A Consumer Proposal

When you’re insolvent, it means your income can’t keep up with your debt repayments. You may be eligible to file a Consumer Proposal with the help of a Licensed Insolvency Trustee like David Sklar & Associates. When you file for a Consumer Proposal, a Licensed Insolvency Trustee helps you draft a fair agreement with your unsecured creditors to renegotiate the amount of debt you owe and how long you have to pay it. All of your unsecured creditors will receive a portion of the debt that they’re owed, and such an agreement will put an end to wage garnishments and collection calls. You can get your Consumer Proposal questions answered by a Licensed Insolvency Trustee. Don’t wait before seeking the help of a debt professional. You can meet your financial goals, including living debt free this year.