To prioritize your debt, address your most vital needs first like housing, utilities and groceries. Then list transportation and phone. After that comes IRS debt, medical bills, student loans and credit card debt, says Glass.
It's important to work with hospitals, clinics or doctors' offices on your medical bills, and they should work with you if you approach them, Glass says.
Some people may be behind on their mortgage loan because of job loss or a decrease in income. In that case, Glass recommends working with your lender and possibly doing a short sale or forbearance. In a short sale, you sell your home for less than the balance owed. With forbearance, your lender gives you a grace period to remain in the home without making payments, with the understanding that you'll resume your payments on a specified date.
You might also qualify for a mortgage modification, which can mean reducing your interest rate or applying your delinquency to the end of your mortgage loan term.
"It's very important to prioritize because those (debt) collectors, calling you every day and screaming the loudest, are not always the most important ones to pay," says Glass.