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You read about student loans all the time and the seemingly unfillable hole of debt that people are desperately trying to climb out of. According to Jason Peceny from Men’s Health magazine, it is possible to survive bankruptcy and boost your credit score. Now that he’s made it back from the other side, he offers some tips.

The first thing to do is to know exactly how much money is going in and out. You need to give yourself a budget and acknowledge where every dollar is being spent. It will also show you things that you didn’t even realize you can live without. As far as saving money, If you want to put money into your savings account, take your monthly after-tax paycheck, deduct your expenses and then put it in the bank. If you’re considering saving for retirement, he suggests choosing a tax-deductible IRA or a nondeductible Roth IRA that grows tax-free for the rest of your life

The next major piece of advice is to limit your credit cards. This seems obvious, but nobody needs 24 different accounts. This advice is especially important for college kids because campuses are crawling with credit-card vendors, Use one card and pay it off every month to establish credit. The key is to pay it off IN FULL and not accumulate those ridiculous interest rates.  

Most people don’t realize there is room for bargaining sometimes. Jason learned to “haggle” by quoting a competitor’s rate or by looking for promotions, even expired ones. Americans notoriously don’t like to haggle but cars and houses are the two biggest items we buy and both are open to negotiation.

If you have a lot of debt, try to prioritize which bills to pay. Numerous websites claim to have tips. If possible, a general rule of thumb is to pay off all the higher-interest rate items. Sometimes, however, that isn’t possible and you just need to go into survival mode. In his article, Jason talks about keeping up his car payments, even after filing for bankruptcy, to keep his car from being repossessed.

Doing things to gain confidence can also help give you the motivation to bounce back from a hardship. For example, Jason turned to fitness to empower himself. Other websites offer ways to keep you feeling great while also navigating the tides of debt.