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Pay Down Your Debt Challenge

Become Debt-Free This Year

Join the AARP Pay Down Your Debt Challenge on Jan. 2, and make a plan to pay off your credit card bills, other loans and debts

I wasn't in debt because of high medical costs or as a result of going through a divorce or a downsizing — although the latter two events did occur to me while I was in the middle of paying off those weighty bills. I got into financial trouble because of overspending, plain and simple.

Deep in my heart, I knew that no one had put a gun to my head and made me go out and spend excessively. I also knew that, by adopting proper fiscal habits and making smart money moves, I could dig myself out of debt and emerge from the experience smarter and on more stable financial ground.

Now I'd like to share some of my hard-earned wisdom and techniques with you.

This month, I'm hosting AARP's "Pay Down Your Debt Challenge." It's designed to help you eliminate debt and learn how to manage credit and debt wisely. And what better month to get started than January, when you've made a resolution to improve your finances?

So every week, you'll find my debt-busting advice right here on this site. I'll also be answering your debt-related questions online and doing a book giveaway each week, and we'll pick some overall winners at the end. Be sure to read our contest rules.

Be sure to return to the Pay Down Your Debt Challenge group to try our weekly challenges and share your stories and tips. And keep using our tracker tool to keep track of your progress. You'll find a lot of good strategies about dealing with your debt on our Pay Down Your Debt page.

The Pay Down Your Debt Challenge will be chock-full of information, but it'll be fun too. Together we'll share our hits and misses, strategize about what works — and what doesn't — when it comes to paying off debt, and keep the conversation going about why it's so important to practice good money-management skills at every phase of life.

You can start your debt-free journey today. Join us.

Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®, is a personal finance expert, television and radio personality, and a regular contributor to AARP. You can follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Also of interest: More Budgeting and Saving tips. >>

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