People go into debt for many reasons. Common ones include house mortgages, student loans and credit cards. In fact, becoming stuck in debt is pretty easy. Getting out? Not so easy. However, it can be done, and a good way to start is by being aware of three ways you will never get out of debt.
1. You Pay Only the Minimum Balance on Credit Cards
Credit card issuers make a lot of money off interest, and you can remain stuck in debt when you pay only the minimum due. You take on even more debt, and at some point, making even the minimum payments could become difficult. Instead of paying off your balance sooner, it drags on and on, possibly even to the point where you have paid almost the same amount in interest charges that you did for your original purchases. As an example, suppose you carry a balance of $20,000 on a credit card (or multiple cards combined) and have an 18 percent APR. Every month, you need to pay 3 percent of the balance you owe. The total amount you repay will end up being nearly $40,000. That is almost two times the amount of your original purchases, with half of your debt coming via interest charges. Here are some good ways to pay down your credit card debt.
2. You Lack a Budget
In other words, you are not sure how much money you spend and what you spend money on. Planning is a critical step to getting out of debt, and it entails tracking your spending. Only then can you identify patterns and ways to trim outgoing expenses while creating opportunities to save. Here is the best way to set up a budget for yourself.
3. You Think It Will Happen Someday
Hope is a good thing, to be sure. However, there comes a point where it is wise to transition from “As soon as I get a raise, I’ll work on getting unstuck from debt” to “Even though I expect to get a raise in two months, I am going to create a plan today to start getting out of debt.” Coming up with excuses is all too easy. There is always a reason not to start getting out of debt today; you don’t have a good-paying job, you’ll have more money next year, the holidays are coming up and so on.
Instead of thinking that getting out of debt will happen someday, help yourself starting now. Today. Create a budget and devise a plan that involves paying more than the minimum balance due on at least one debt.