Even though there are some positive indicators about U.S. credit card debt (six out of the last seven quarters have seen year-over-year improvement, for what that’s worth), there are still plenty of Americans all across the country who have vast amounts of credit card debt. The average household has roughly $6,700 in credit card debt, and in 2013 Americans racked up $33 billion in credit card debt. It’s a financial area that many people need help with, so that they can turn their troublesome relationship with their credit card into a healthy one.

Bankruptcy can often help people who are in serious trouble with their credit cards to get out of such a predicament. It can also be very helpful when dealing with abusive or unhelpful debt collectors, who see you as nothing more than a cash cow that needs to be harvested.

However, maybe some people out there don’t want to go through bankruptcy — or maybe it simply isn’t an option for them. What can they do to get help?

Well, establishing a plan to pay off your debt and reform your spending habits is the best place to start. Review your monthly bills and try to find areas where you can cut back. Maybe you don’t need that special cable TV package; or maybe you could go out to lunch a little less.

Once you identify a few areas where you can spend less, set a budget for yourself to help you visualize and track your expenditures and savings. Using this as a sort of base line, you can start paying off your credit card debt, or making some substantial savings to help you control your credit card dependence.

Source: FOX Business, “5 Tips for Becoming Debt Free in 2014,” Odysseas Papadimitriou, Feb. 3, 2014