The current economic conditions in conjunction with high levels of consumer debt are literally tearing families apart. People continue to lose their homes due to the mortgage crisis as housing values fall but interest rates have not followed suit. Bankruptcy credit card info shows that many people have taken to living off their credit cards as they make a downward spiral into serious debt. If they fail to properly address the debt crisis they may be headed toward bankruptcy court.One effective way of reducing your overall monthly debt payments is to consolidate all your debt into one package. Debt consolidation loans can be an effective way to get a handle on your consumer debt problems. Many times you will find that your bank or financial institution will help you find debt consolidation loans that will fit your particular situation. If you have the opportunity you may be able to refinance your home to a lower interest rate and include all you consumer debt in the loan. However as a result of current mortgage crisis many banks will not be willing to combine the loans.Debt consolidation loans are not a panacea for everyone. The lower interest rate and lengthened payment period will lower your monthly payment but it will also cost you more in the long run. You could end up paying as much as 45 percent more over the length of the loan then if you were to make the original monthly payments. As a result you should consider that debt consolidation loans to be one of the first loans that you should focus your debt management plan on.Prior to applying for your debt consolidation loans you should develop a debt reduction plan. If you are unable to accomplish this yourself then you should consider contacting a financial service company that specializes in debt management. In many cases they will be able to legally eliminate debts through debt negotiation and other tools. This will greatly reduce the amount of your consolidation loan.Consolidating your consumer debt will give you more cash to pay your monthly bills. However if you are not disciplined and do not use this cash to pay down your debt you will soon be back in serious debt again. If you follow your debt management plan you will use this cash to pay off any remaining consumer credit loans starting with the smallest amount of debt first. If you do not have any consumer debt then you should focus on paying twice as much each month on your debt consolidation loans.If you are disciplined and follow your plan you will soon find that you are quickly reducing your debt level each month. In many cases you can be debt free in as little as 48 months. Again you must take full advantage of this opportunity to legally eliminate debts.