Debt can help us get the things we need and want in life. But if we’re not careful, it can spiral out of control and take over our lives. Staying on top of our debts is crucial if we want to avoid becoming yet another sordid credit statistic.
If we practice good debt management from the start, we’re less likely to get in trouble in the first place. And if we do have unforeseen problems, taking action quickly can keep them from getting any worse.
Here are some simple things you can do to keep your debt under control.
Stay away from credit cards with annual fees. There are plenty of them available that do not charge these fees, and you can usually get them even if you have little or no credit history.
Avoid high-interest debt. Take this advice from the HMRC debt management company, when you’re first starting to build up your credit, you might have to settle for a credit card with an interest rate that’s not so good. But as soon as you build up a good payment history of six months or so, start looking for a card with a better rate (click here to check rates). When you find one, stop using that high-interest card (but don’t close the account, because having available credit is good for your credit score).
Pay your balance in full each and every month. If an emergency comes up and you can’t pay the entire balance, make certain that you pay it off within two or three months at the most. This will save you money in interest and keep you from running up a high balance.
Build up some savings so that you don’t have to rely on credit. Having an emergency fund that equals at least three months’ income is the best way to keep yourself afloat in the event of job loss or some other sort of financial disaster. Depending on credit to get you through such situations sets you up for more trouble down the road. If you have bad credit you can just apply for bad credit loans.
Instead of charging the things you want, save up the money to buy them. Most of our wants can wait until we are able to pay cash for them. And the habit of charging non-necessities (unless you pay the balance in full right away) can be a very dangerous one.
If you find that you’re not going to be able to make a payment, talk to the creditor immediately. Some will allow you to skip a payment with no penalty if you’re experiencing a temporary setback. Just don’t make this a habit, because interest will continue to accumulate even though no payment is required.
Being responsible with your debts makes life much easier. If you follow these simple steps, you can keep your finances under control and avoid a financial meltdown.