Warren Buffet said to stay away from credit cards and invest in yourself; that is very true. When you have debt, you are paying somebody to use their money and the real cost of what your buying increases when you carry that debt on credit cards and personal lines of credit. You are in fact making yourself work harder for what you buy.
When we get a little out of control with debt the best thing to do is stop and take stock of what is happening. Are there valid reasons for the increasing debt or is it just from living above your means? If it's a valid reason like an addition to the household or loss of job etc... looking to return to, or increase your income for the long term (like going back to school) may be the best course of action. If you are living outside your means, reduce the amount you're spending and maybe secure a second job to pay off the added debt.
If you do have a lot of personal debt and own a house, a faster and cheaper way for you to pay down your debt is to secure the debt though your house. Because of the interest rate and the amortization, your payments will be smaller and more manageable. This will give you the benefit of comfortable payments with the ability to pay the loan off quicker saving on those interest charges. The following is a list of things to keep in mind when you consolidate your debt and refinance your home:
1. You will need equity in the house you own, (Equity is the value of your house minus any current mortgage).
2. You will need a fairly decent credit rating... If you feel you are heading for trouble, act before you do get behind on payments. If you think you might be in too far, another option is a private mortgage to get everything back on track.
3. When you refinance and you have a high ratio mortgage (less than 20% down) the maximum amount of funds you may borrow is 90% of the value of the home.
Consolidation of debt is a wise move. Reduce the amount of interest you are paying and take back the money you are earning, it's your money and understanding how to save it is the start to investing in yourself and your own future.
A mortgage is not just a mortgage, it's a way to achive dreams in less time with less stress; but is not to be thought of as a lifestyle. The ultimate goal is not having a mortgage on your home.