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How Not to Get in Debt

budget debt money Jun 06, 2022

Most people don't plan on getting into debt – it just happens. Before you know it, you're struggling to make your monthly payments and keep your head above water. It can be tricky to get out of, but it's not impossible. If you want to learn how to avoid debt in the first place, read on. This blog post will discuss tips for staying out of debt and keeping your finances in check.

Debt can go out of control.

There's nothing wrong with being in debt. But, sometimes, we have to borrow money from somebody or financial institutions because we need to buy or pay for something beyond our current financial capacity. For example, as a business owner, you may borrow money to procure goods that will let you earn a profit later, and once you do, you can pay the person or institution that lent you money. Also, you may need to settle an immediate payment, so you take a loan from somebody. Then, after paying it and earning your next paycheck, you can pay your loan.

Debt can be challenging to avoid entirely as sometimes, our current financial capabilities are not enough to pay for something. However, as long as it gets paid quickly without letting interests accumulate, there's nothing wrong with getting into debt. The problem occurs when you incur too much debt, the interest starts to pile up, and you may have multiple debts from different sources. You may not be able to handle paying them anymore and have a large amount of payment that you need to settle.

Good financial habits can help you minimize or prevent debt from occurring altogether. Of course, debts are not something you should avoid like the plague, but they are something you need to keep in check unless you plan to go bankrupt and lead yourself to starvation. Some smart financial habits can help put you in a better position when handling your finances.

1. Ensure that you always have a job

For most people, having a job is their primary source of income. With a steady source of money, people will be able to stabilize their financial condition better. However, it's not only your primary job that will cover your finances. Having side hustles can supplement your income. Other people own businesses that act as their main job. What's vital here is to do good in your job to increase your chances of remaining employed. Possessing a varied skillset can open more work opportunities if you lose your position in your current career. The danger of becoming unemployed is that you will incur debt faster the longer you remain without any source of income while looking for your next job, especially if you don't have any savings. You don't want this to happen as much as possible in your life.

2. If you can pay with cash, do it

A good habit to practice is that if you can buy or pay for something with cash, then do it. Avoid the temptation of swiping your credit card at every opportunity. Nowadays, we are moving more toward a cashless society and using credit cards as your primary mode of payment, especially when buying things online. Some people may think that the amount of money in your credit limit is your money. It's not. You are borrowing money from a financial institution, but it's so easy to get carried away by the illusion that you have additional spending power with a credit card.

Another thing that can tempt you to use credit cards is the desire to want something immediately. If you don't have good self-control, you will be making instant purchases on everything that catches your eye. Sure, it feels nice to have your wants at your fingertips, but your credit card bill will increase later, and you may have a pile of them. So the next time you are about to swipe that card, think twice if what you are about to buy is a necessity and something you need right now. If it isn't, perhaps it can wait. Otherwise, look at how much is on your debit card instead. See if the item you want to buy is within your budget.

3. Look for cheaper alternatives

When buying something expensive, don't immediately go for the first thing that catches your interest. Instead, research and look for other brands that offer the same product with the same or almost identical performance and quality but at a lower price. Unfortunately, some brands charge more for their products because of brand name reputation, and you're paying for it. Of course, that trust comes from buying something from a well-known brand, but it can come at a price. If your budget is tight and you are okay with alternative brands, maybe even buying second-hand or used goods, it is always an option to go for them if you want to save extra money. Also, be on the lookout when sales and discounts happen. You will get more for your money if you time your purchase during these times, such as Black Friday sales or during the Christmas season. Just remember not to get too caught up with the rush of other people trying to get a bargain.

4. Make saving money a habit

Saving money is a skill. Many people will find it challenging to save money and instead spend everything on what they can buy with their money, even if they are capable of holding some of it. For others, saving money may be out of the question due to the limited income they earn. Whatever the case may be, try making it a habit to save money whenever your salary comes. Setting aside a small amount every payday can accumulate and eventually become your emergency fund which can cover unforeseen circumstances that require an amount of money to solve.

5. Adjust your lifestyle based on how much you earn

People can fall into debt because they live a lifestyle that's way beyond what they earn from their job and other sources of income. They may buy expensive things or take multiple long-term payments for big purchases, such as a car loan. The pressure to buy a car, house, or whatever expensive item can entice someone to dive in and purchase something that can be beyond their income, even in the long term. One should think twice before making major purchases. Also, look at the quality of living you have and the things you do for leisure, as they may indicate that you might be living a more lavish lifestyle than what you can afford.

6. Borrow money for needs, not wants

If you need to borrow from someone, it will be best if it's for something to cover your essential needs rather than for buying wants. For example, if you got hospitalized for a severe ailment and need extra cash to pay your medical bills, it won't hurt to ask for help and borrow money from somebody you know and trust. It's for your health, after all, and the moment you get back up on your feet, you can start paying what you owe. Now, suppose we are talking about borrowing money from someone because you want to buy a new smartphone, which you might not necessarily need now because you still have a working phone but want it anyway because it's new. In that case, you need to question yourself if it's indeed worth the trouble to go through a loan to satisfy your pleasure.

Avoid debt if you can.

Falling into too much debt is avoidable, but it requires good discipline and control. A little loan here and there is acceptable. Still, you may get enticed to obtain more debt due to the convenience of acquiring something immediately at the expense of putting yourself in financial trouble. Before taking a loan, think first if it's going to be worth it, such as making a profit later from what you borrow or if it's to pay for something essential in your life.

People can't help that we go into debt sometimes as our earnings and savings may not always be enough to sustain the various things in our lives. However, we must not forget that paying debts is a moral responsibility. Somebody trusted us to keep our word and pay whatever amount we owe to another person or organization. Unfortunately, some people forget this and end up making the loan giver look bad for telling the debtor to pay their dues when it is the people who loaned who must pay. There is a big responsibility attached to making a loan and settling it afterward. Therefore, if you find it challenging to face the consequences of paying debts, it would be better to minimize the instances of having to create deficits. Creating a personal budget and implementing various strategies to help cut your spending will help you not to fall into colossal debt.

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