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What is consumer debt? Debt incurred for the purchase of consumer goods. Credit card and student loan debt are examples of consumer debt.

Do you have consumer debt and if so, how much? The principal amount of credit card debt, student loans, personal loans, etc. must be paid back with interest. Credit card debt is nothing more than a high-interest bank loan. Your best budgeting strategy is to keep your debt low and your savings high.

Know your credit rating and your FICO score. Your score is calculated based on the way you use credit. Three credit reporting agencies, Equifax (, Experian ( and Transunion ( review your credit usage and determine, based on your FICO score, your borrowing and interest rate eligibility. To receive a free annual credit report, go to

If you find yourself in a high debt situation, consider debt management counseling and loan consolidation. There are many agencies that will assist you with managing your debt repayment, but you may be asked to discontinue borrowing in order to become solvent. Your consumer debt amount can impact the approval amount and interest rate of a home mortgage or an automobile loan.

Numerous articles have been written recently on the negative impact of high debt incurred by currently enrolled and recently graduated students. Your financial future can be seriously affected if you are not careful about using credit and borrowing loans while enrolled in school.

For information and advice about budgeting and financial planning, go to the following web sites: