1. Four top tips: Four highly recommended methods for managing debt are to track your expenses, cut spending, pay cash and establish an emergency fund.2. Make timely payments: If payments to your DMP and creditors aren’t made on time, you could lose progress you’ve made on paying down your debt.3. Know the differences: Debt management companies come in many forms, including debt consolidators, credit card companies internal departments (ironically), credit counseling organizations, and settlement attorneys.4. Exercise due diligence: Research debt management services very carefully; the FTC has found that some organizations that offer DMPs have deceived and defrauded consumers.5. One-stop shop: Credit counseling agencies advise you on managing money and debts, help you develop a workable budget, and offer free educational materials and workshops.6. Never hurts to ask: A quick call to a credit card issuer often results in reduced interest rates; if not, convey that you’re considering transferring balances.7. It’s up to you: No debt management solution will work if a consumer can’t responsibly handle credit cards and control daily spending habits and routines.8. Lose the loans: non-profit community service organizations can often provide confidential financial guidance, free consumer credit counseling services, educational resources, and debt management assistance.9. Helpful articles: Many consumer debt-management companies offer online newsletters with weekly educational tips for balancing your budget, making ends meet, and achieving your financial goals.