You may be feeling every bit as stuck as Erin was. If so, do what she did: Don't just talk about changing—actually change. Here's how:

1. Ask for help. Maybe you've got a financially savvy friend—ask her how she does it. Or maybe you've been shouldering the family bills alone—ask your partner to help you brainstorm better solutions. But...

2. Know that ultimately you have to fix things. Erin was considering bankruptcy—she just wanted the problem to go away. Many people fall into that pattern of thinking. Reality check: The problem isn't going anywhere. So will you retreat in fear? Ignore it? No. You will take charge and make things right.

3. Accept that you will always face obstacles. Maybe your issues aren't as extreme as the Masons', but we all have financial concerns. I'm not asking you to be perfect with your money. I'm asking you to be prepared for whatever stumbling blocks you may face.

4. Make the hard choices. I know it's tough to cut the small luxuries when you're strapped—you can't swing a big vacation, so shouldn't you get to have that $100 cable package? Not if you can't afford it. That might seem harsh, but I promise, when you embrace change, your courage will be rewarded.

Next: How Suze Orman repaired one family's finances
Please note: This is general information and is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult with your own financial advisor before making any major financial decisions, including investments or changes to your portfolio, and a qualified legal professional before executing any legal documents or taking any legal action. Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities are not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your financial or legal decisions.


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