For many people the lure of easy credit has taken them into the forbidden zone of debt. Between debt on regular credit cards, shopping store credit cards, home equity lines of credit, mortgages and car payments it’s no wonder consumers are finding themselves financially and emotionally drained as they float in a sea of debt.At a time like this with debt continuing to mount the decision to use a debt consolidation loan may seem like the smart thing to do – or is it? Certainly the top financial priority should be to pay off all outstanding debt. Unfortunately figuring out how to do this and which debt to pay off first can be difficult at best and even lead to more financially related stress.This dilemma is common among consumers struggling to eliminate debt in order to regain their financial sanity. A debt consolidation loan can be an easy answer to solve the current financial strain brought on by a large outstanding debt amount but it may not solve the long term issue. The reason is because many consumers obtain a debt consolidation loan and correctly use it to pay off their debt. Unfortunately suddenly feeling good about their new found financial strength they make the mistake of using their credit cards again and again and again – essentially repeating the blunders that got them into trouble in the first place. Compound that with the fact that they now also must pay off the debt consolidation loan they originally got in order to relieve them of their initial financial burdens. This is a classic example of where using a debt consolidation loan could lead to more harm then good.A better option would be to pay off their credit cards one at a time starting with the card that currently has the biggest balance while paying the minimum amount necessary to all other cards. Any extra money should be devoted to paying off the card with the highest balance first. Once that first credit card is paid off then move onto the card with the next highest balance. Repeat this process until all credit cards are fully paid off then put all but one in a drawer for safe keeping. Only keep the one card handy for emergency purposes. Now concentrate all money that was previous earmarked as credit card payments towards paying off other bills – perhaps a car or house payment. This option will only work so long as the original credit cards are not charged back up again.If a consumer has financial strength then a debt consolidation loan can be beneficial for a number of reasons. First it eliminates trying to juggle numerous bills in various amounts all at once and instead allows a consumer to focus on paying one large bill. This saves time, energy and helps to prevent accidentally forgetting to pay one of the many previous bills which could lead to more financial charges and stress. The second reason is that a debt consolidation loan should lower the actual amount of money paid out each month. NOTE – it may lower the monthly amount but will most likely increase the overall amount needed to finally pay off all of the combined bills depending on the terms of the loan contract. Finally it can provide a psychological boost by relieving an individual of many small bills in order to concentrate on one larger bill.Ultimately the choice as the whether a debt consolidation loan is the right answer lies with the consumer. Every situation is different and must be treated as such. No matter what option a consumer takes to eliminate debt if there is no financial resolve or strength then they will again fall into the debt trap.