Does it seem that no matter what you do, you just can’t get rid of debt once and for all? There may be certain things you’re doing that could be keeping you in debt. Some of the following are common habits that frequently keep people in debt:
Shopping when you’re upset
There’s a reason it’s called retail therapy. Whether you’ve had a rough day or you’re dealing with an ongoing issue in your life, turning to shopping as a way to cope and feel better can be what’s keeping you from making a dent in your debt. Periodically buying something small to cheer yourself up is one thing, but if you make a habit out of it or if you make large purchases you really can’t afford, you could easily keep yourself in debt.
Only making minimum payments
While making the minimum required payments on your credit cards will keep your accounts current, which can help avoid collections and stop your credit score from plummeting, it won’t do much to help reduce your debt. This is because most of your minimum payments go toward interest, and as such, you’ll barely see the principal balance go down. If it’s not feasible to pay off your bill completely, aim to pay more than just the minimum each month so that you can work towards getting rid of your debt.
Using credit instead of your cash or debit card
You have your debit card or cash on you, but find that you’re always using your credit card for all of your purchases instead. This habit wouldn’t be so bad if you paid off your credit card bill in full each month, but if you don’t, it’s definitely a habit you want to try to break. Accumulating a little bit of extra debt here and there each month for everyday purchases can quickly sneak up on you, and can be what’s keeping you in debt.
Continuously taking out loans isn’t the only way that borrowing can keep you in debt. If you find that you’re always asking for friends and family to borrow money—even if you’re just asking for small loans—you’ll always have someone that you need to pay back when you get back on your feet. Avoid borrowing of any kind when you’re facing financial difficulties, whether it be from people you know or from credit unions. This is a habit that will surely keep you in debt until you break it.
On the other hand, maybe you’re not the one doing the borrowing. If you’re always willing to lend a helping hand, but you’re tight on cash yourself, this could be what is keeping you in debt. Avoid lending money to loved ones until you’ve gotten most or all of your debt eliminated.
Even if you don’t have a full-blown gambling addiction, making a habit out of just a little bit of gambling here and there can be what’s keeping you in debt. Avoid gambling altogether if you are in debt, because you might only be making the situation worse.
Not opening your mail right away
Do you make a habit out of tossing any uninteresting mail to the side, telling yourself that you’ll get to it later? Even if you know that they’re bills, failing to address them immediately can be what’s keeping you in debt. Mail can get lost easily in your home, and you might forget about payment due dates and other important bills until it’s too late. Break this habit by setting up an organization system in your home to keep your financial paperwork and bills organized. Alternatively, you could switch to online statements, automatic bill pay, or you can get into the habit of paying your bills as soon as they come in the mail.