Debt is a serious issue and many of us are in debt for one reason or another. Here is a look at the most common reasons why people go into debt, what causes debt and how to get out of debt.
What Causes Debt?
Smaller Income but the Same Expenses
We are often slow at bringing our expenses in line with a reduction in income, which means we allow debt to come into play. If you are faced with a reduction in salary then you need to adjust, whether it is a temporary shift or a permanent one.
Divorce is unfortunately common, but what many people don’t realise is that it can be expensive. There are legal fees that need to be paid and you and your spouse will be paying for assets to buy the spouse out.
Not Being Able to Manage Money
You must have a monthly spending plan in place. If you don’t have one then you will have no idea where your money is going. You may discover that you are paying for things that are not necessary, which can lead you to charge other items on your credit card. All you need to do is write down your expenses and income and bring these in line with one another. It is about making thoughtful decisions about how and when to spend your money.
If you find yourself unemployed for any reason then make sure you put your expenses in line with what your current income is. If your income increases in the future due to more hours, a second job or even a better job, then you can slowly start adding in the expenses that you got rid of when you became unemployed. However, make sure everything balances.
Hitting the Casinos
Gambling is a major concern and now with online gambling, it is so much easier to spend your money. Gambling is addictive and you are not a managed gambler then you can easily see all your money disappearing. Also, credit and loans are freely available from casinos and other places.
Wait…There are more causes you need to know…
Paying Medical Expenses
This is a common cause of debt for many people due to gaps in coverage, expensive alternatives and lapsed policies. Many people are not able to cover a medical expense without the use of a credit card, which means you will end up in debt.
You Are Not Saving Any Money
One way that you are able to avoid unwanted debt is to prepare for any unexpected expense by saving at least 6 months of living expenses. If anything happens, the financial strain won’t take effect immediately and you won’t end up in more debt then you have to be.
You Need to Communicate About Money
You need to communicate to your spouse or partner as well as your children about finances. You need to be able to discuss financial goals and spending styles. Be open and honest about any debt that you may have and be honest about what you are spending.
Hoping on Windfalls
It can be tempting to spend money that you expect before you even have it. You may definitely get a job bonus, but something like an inheritance is not a sure thing. You should only spend the money when you have it.
Many people don’t know how money works, how it grows, how to save and invest and so on. You need to be responsible with your money and educate yourself in money matters. A financial mistake can be expensive and complicated to fix.
How to Get Out of Debt
If you are in debt, there is something you can do about it. Here are effective ways to get out of debt.
Pay More Than the Minimum
You should always make sure that you pay more than the minimum payments. If you only pay the minimum then it can take forever to pay off your credit card. You should rather pay as much as you are able to afford. Also, by paying off your balance quicker, you will save in the long run on interest.
Spend Less Than What You Plan to Spend
We all have wants that are larger than our pay cheques and many people end up in debt because they just spend money frivolously on just what they want. If you do want something then you shouldn’t buy it unless you have the money. You need to become satisfied with less and rather use any money that you save to pay down debt that you may already have.
Pay the Most Expensive Debt First
A great way to get out of debt is to make the minimum payment on all your debts apart from one. You should choose a debt that is charging you the most interest and focus on paying that debt off first. Once this is paid off, take the money that you were paying for this debt and use to pay off the next most expensive debt. You should carry on doing this until your last debt.
Spend Less on Groceries
One way to save money is to stock up on groceries that are on sale or you can stockpile sale items and then skip a shop every month and only use the food that you have. Non-perishables can be stocked piled and you are able to freeze meat and bread, for instance. Filling your cupboards with groceries that are on sale and then skipping a shop can save you money. You may still need to buy items like milk, vegetables and fruit, but you can skip the rest. Think of ways you can reduce your grocery bill and save money that can be used to help pay off debts.
Take a Second Job
Getting a second shop or picking up some extra shifts is a common way for people to pay down debts. All the extra income that you receive from your second job, should be used only for the purpose of paying debt. Once, your debts are paid, you can scale back on the work if you want to.
Track Your Spending
This can help some people save a lot of money. You should track what you are spending and not just think what you are spending in a month. You need to be completely honest in order for this to work. Many people are surprised by what they spend money on. Once, you know what you are spending you are able to see where you can make cutbacks and the money that you find can be used to pay off debt.
There are a still a few more ways you can get out of debt…
A Consolidation Loan
You should find out if your bank is able to help with the consolidation of your debts and put them into one loan that has just one payment with a lower interest rate. This can make it easier for you to pay off your debts. However, a debt consolidation loan will only help if you create a budget where you are able to save some money each month. If you do not have savings then you may find that you have to reapply for credit cards and you will just end up in debt again.
Refinance Your Mortgage
If you own your home then you may have enough equity in your home to consolidate your debts into your mortgage. However, before you do this, you should know all your options and get independent advice. If you do choose to consolidate your debts into your mortgage then you need to make sure you can still save so you are not tempted to borrow money for any unexpected expenses.
Get in Touch with a Credit Counsellor
If you are deep in debt and feel like bankruptcy is your only option then you should speak to a credit counsellor. A credit counsellor will have programs to help you deal with debt and will explain all your options so that you can choose the best one for you.
Have a Spending Plan
You should create a budget so that you stay on track with your current debt payments. A budget will help you to spend less than what you earn.
There are a number of ways that can help you to get out of debt and it is all about using the money that you have in a sensible way, so you are able to free up some money to help pay off debts. You need to be financially smart and seek advice if you are struggling so you can tackle your debt and become debt free.