Debt Signs and Symptomsadmin
Typically, debt doesn’t just happen overnight. In most cases, it’s the result of consistent bad spending practices. The sooner you recognize these practices, the better off you’ll be. Here are some practices that should raise the red flag:
- Spending more money than you make. It’s so easy to make this mistake. You may not even realize it until it’s too late. You might be dipping into your savings here and there, thinking it’s just a little bit and won’t hurt, or borrowing from friends and using credit cards. Eventually, your savings will be gone, your friends will be tired of lending you cash, and your credit cards will be maxed out.
- Relying on money you don’t have. Using credit cards and taking out loans to pay bills and make other purchases is a recipe for disaster. Your paycheck doesn’t even make a dent in what you need every month, but you think you’re o.k. with it because you have a system that you’ve worked out with your credit cards. This will catch up with you very quickly if you can’t pay off your credit card bill each month.
- Using credit cards for everyday purchases. Paying for groceries, gas, entertainment, and clothing with credit is a sure way to get into trouble. You may rationalize that it’s just more convenient, you get points on your card, and you’ll pay it off when you get the bill, but it takes a lot of organization and control to budget your money this way. More often than not, it doesn’t work out and you can’t pay off your bill each month, and the debt will build up.
- Using credit cards when you have cash. A habit like this inevitability leads to debt. Having the mindset of wanting something, but not wanting to pay for it with cash will contribute to debt accumulation because you still won’t want to pay for it when your bills arrive. Getting into the habit of using cash will help you be more discriminating in your purchases and distinguish between a want and a need.
- Using credit to pay off other debt. Sound familiar? Shuffling debt around from one credit card to another only increases your debt each time and is just a way to avoid actually facing your financial problems. This behavior can cause a lot of stress too.
Recognizing these spending habits and avoiding them can help you steer clear of the road to debt.