Ah, money. It can make or break a person, even a marriage. But before things get worse (like when checks start bouncing and the lawsuits come), calmly sit down with your family (even the kids, as long as they understand the basics of the household budget) and look at your financial situation closely.

If you have made some unwise decisions (like maxing out your credit cards so you have to pay up to 36 percent per year in interest alone!) when it comes to your finances, now is the time to strategize. Plus, even if the amount owed isn't that great, you'll still benefit from planning the best ways you can pay it off. Here are sure-fire ways to get out of debt and have a good night's sleep:

Want more tips on how to manage your budget and debts? Here are some articles that can help you:

(First published in Good Housekeeping Magazine, Money section as "Money Watch" in October 2004"; adapted for use in Female Network)

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