It can feel like you’re stuck on an endless merry-go-round: you keep up with bills and make payments towards your loans and credit cards, but for some reason, the debt doesn’t budge. This could be because you’re spending a lot more than you think. If you are constantly using credit cards for your purchases, even the small ones can add up and be keeping you in debt. If your cards already have a high balance and you mostly use cash for your purchases, you may want to reevaluate your spending habits and instead put more of that money towards your credit card bills. The following are some habits that often keep people in debt:
Competing with others
Whether it’s fancy clothing or a brand new luxury car, trying to keep up with or competing with others can be putting you in debt. If you find that you are constantly comparing yourself to other people in your life, try to break the habit. Instead, focus solely on yourself and live within your means.
Paying just the minimum
If it’s all that is financially feasible for you right now, paying just the minimum on your credit card payments will help prevent you from defaulting on your debt and suffering from serious monetary consequences, such as judgments and wage garnishment. But by paying only the minimum, you’ll remain in debt. The majority of those minimum payments go towards your interest, and you’ll barely make a dent in your principal this way. It can take a long time before you even notice a decrease in your total balance. If eliminating your credit card debt is a priority, try to think of other things you’re paying for that you could possibly eliminate. For example, maybe you’re paying for cable television, and you wouldn’t really miss it too much if it was gone, or perhaps you’re paying for a landline that you hardly (or never) use because you also have a cell phone. By eliminating even just one of your monthly bills and putting that money towards your debt, you’ll begin making progress.
Whether you’re only making the minimum payments or you’ve just been ignoring your bills completely, you might have intentions to take care of your debt “one of these days.” But putting things off will usually only make them worse, and the next thing you know, “one of these days” could turn into months—or even years—later. Take action now, even if it means calling up your lenders, explaining your financial difficulties, and asking if there is any way to work out a more affordable repayment plan. They may be willing to lower your interest or even your minimum payment. If you have been overdue for some time now and the debt has been handed over to collections, ask if they would be willing to settle the debt for less than what you owe. Usually, they will be willing to accept a lower amount.
Do you find that you frequently end up leaving a store with more items than you originally intended on purchasing? If so, you might be an impulse shopper. These impulse purchases can be keeping you in debt, especially if you make a habit of it or if you’re putting these extra purchases on a credit card. Try changing your approach to shopping so that you can put an end to impulse purchases once and for all. For example, you might want to only take the amount of money with you that will cover what you intend to buy. If you bring all of your cash and credit cards with you, it makes it that much easier to splurge on unnecessary purchases.
Are you receiving long-term payments from an annuity or structured settlement, but could use some extra cash to eliminate debt? Peachtree Financial Solutions can help. You may be able to sell some or all of your future payments to us, and by doing so, we can offer you that money sooner and in one lump sum payment. Just imagine how much easier it could be to pay off bills and get rid of your debt by receiving a lump sum sooner.
Nothing above is meant to provide financial or tax advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.