The new year allows individuals to start anew in many ways. While that sentiment is much tougher when it comes to personal finances, analysts say 2011 should be the year when consumers try to finally get their debt under control. First, consumers should focus on whittling down their credit card debt, writes Pamela Yip for the Dallas Morning News. Reducing one's credit card balance is the one of the easiest ways to instantly decrease debt. Having monthly and annual goals and making better credit decisions
overall will help keep individuals within budgets. "Come up with a plan on how to become debt-free, either on your own or with debt counseling," said Todd Mark, vice president of education at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas. "What matters is taking those steps." Ensuring money is put aside is equally important. A person will be unable to meet debt reduction goals if a certain percentage is not immediately put aside every time income is attained. While 37 percent of credit card holders reported using their cards less frequently in 2009, according to CreditCards.com, the average college graduate has approximately $20,000 in debt.