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One of the best ways to make sure you stay out of serious debt is to apply the lessons you've learned to your current lifestyle.

That means establishing good credit and using subprime loans and lenders as necessary to prevent you from falling prey to high-interest credit card debt instead.

The road to riches

Haunted by 619? Get a subprime loan -- If your credit score falls below 620 you can still borrow money. You'll just have to pay a little more.

Subprime loans pricey but helpful -- You should weigh the pros and cons before getting a subprime mortgage. They carry rates high enough to double total interest costs, though they may help people rebuild troubled credit histories.

It's 'buyer beware' on subprime loans -- Just because they'll lend you money doesn't mean they're not trying to get all you have. What to watch for.

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Don't take your prime credit to a subprime lender -- Even if your credit's excellent, you could pay higher rates and fees if you deal with subsidiaries.

Horrible credit? There's a card for you -- Even if your credit rating ranges from "pretty bad" to "downright horrible" there's still a card you can get.

Dos and don'ts for establishing credit -- Before you have good credit or bad credit you've got to have credit. Here's how to get it started.

Put a push on paying credit debts -- Organize, prioritize and vaporize your debts with our step-by-step guide for paying down debt.

Where to find subprime lenders -- You've been turned down by the by all the corner banks, so where do you go from here?

Online payday lending: A financial strip search -- You turn over a great deal of private information to people you don't know.

State regulations on payday lending -- Chart shows the state laws on payday lending, including the effective APR.

Make sure your good credit gets recorded -- You may be paying a steep price to repair your credit but if the on-time payments are not getting reported you're getting shortchanged.

'05 Debt Credit Guide
 Credit in our lives
 Road to ruin

Compare Rates
NATIONAL OVERNIGHT AVERAGES
$30K HELOC 4.33%
Personal loan 11.93%
$30K Home equity loan 5.05%
Rates may include points
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