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Bankruptcy is often considered a dirty word, but in some cases it truly is the best choice to rid yourself and your family of a lifetime of debt.

Not all of the nearly 1.7 million Americans who filed last year can be wrong.

Here's help for you to decide if the dreaded "B" word is the way for you to go and if you're even eligible to file. Once you're out of the hole -- through bankruptcy or through wrenching personal sacrifice -- the important thing is to keep yourself on firm ground. We'll show you how to save even if you're broke, sneaky ways to save money and even a free, interactive budgeting tool you can use to set up and maintain a basic family budget.

2004 Debt Guide
30 yr fixed mtg 3.65%
15 yr fixed mtg 2.78%
5/1 jumbo ARM 3.81%
See Also
Calculate your payment on any loan
How much house can you afford?
Can you borrow from your home equity?

Life after debt

Shopping online for budget aid -- Before you can get out of debt, you have to know how you got there. Budget programs can help, and looking for a system via the Internet is a good place to start.
Plus: Experts review budget software

Free interactive tool to create your own household budget -- Here's a simple spreadsheet you can use -- for free -- to get you started on your personal family spending plan.

Is no. 13 your best bet? -- True, Chapter 13 bankruptcy doesn't get rid of all your debts, but it does have its good features.

Are you eligible for Chapter 13? -- Individuality, steady income and debt ceilings govern whether you can file for Chapter 13.

Coming back from the black hole (of bankruptcy) -- If you file for bankruptcy, you're down but not out. In one to three years you'll be able to start borrowing all over again.

How to save when you're broke -- If you run out of month before you run out of money, these cash-conserving tips can help.

17 sneaky ways to save -- Everybody needs to save, but it's never easy. Well, it gets a lot easier if you use these 17 sneaky, and fairly painless, ways to save money.

How to budget -- Tips on how to make a budget and stick with it.


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