The 2011 Financial Literacy Survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that more than half of adults don't keep a budget or track their expenses. In order to break the cycle of debt and late fees, Ramsey suggests you first figure out exactly where your money is going. "Make a written budget that gives each dollar a name -- including late fees," he says. You will be able to see just how much money you've been paying in late fees every month and what you can cut if you can pay each bill on time.
Says Ulzheimer: "You have to pay on time and be smart about taking on liability. If not, you are going to have a serious compounding problem unless you bring in more income or spend less."