Debt consolidation might be the worst move you've ever made

Debt consolidation sounds like a good thing to do, right? You've got all your credit cards lined up, and keeping track of the bills and their payment dates is no fun. How much do you pay on this card? What about that one? Did you miss the other one?

So consolidating that debt, either with a home equity loan or some other type of loan, seems like a great idea, right? You get one bill and your burden seems much lighter. But here's the problem: Many people don't have the self-discipline to stop using the credit cards that got them in trouble in the first place.

You start out by thinking you'll just charge the groceries this week and will be sure to pay off that bill. Then your car needs new brakes, and you weren't planning on that expense, so you get out the credit card again to help you in a pinch. But little things like this keep happening, and before you know it, you've got a few thousand dollars on the credit card.