Many of us live in the moment when it comes to finances – if the money is there, or the credit is available, spend it or take advantage of it. If you truly want to get out of debt and remain out of debt, there are some steps you can take to make sure you avoid getting back in to the same old rut while you’re paying off present debt.
Always remember that when you put that great sale item you found on a credit card, you’re paying much more than it initially cost. Credit cards are so easy to use and it’s the easiest type of debt you can accrue.
It’s good to have them when really needed, but you have to learn how to use them wisely. The only reason you should ever use a credit card is convenience. Since you have an itemized list of everything you purchase through a credit card, you can better track your spending, plan a budget and have a better handle on record-keeping.
The trick is to religiously pay off the entire balance on the card every month. One alternative to racking up credit card debt is to get rid of the temptation of the line of credit and use prepaid cards or debit cards for your purchases and to help you track purchases.
Most banks offer debit cards and you can get overdraft protection, which keeps you from racking up enormous fees if you go over the amount you have in your account. Prepaid cards are offered from most major credit card companies and involve you securing the money in the account, then paying it down and re-depositing when the balance is low.
You have to create and follow a budget if you want to avoid staying in debt forever. A budget is a detailed plan about how you’re going to spend your money each month so that you can ensure that you won’t go over a certain amount.
Also, budget some of your money after bills and necessities for savings or investing. There are a number of handy software packages which will help you track each dime you spend.
You should plan to fund an emergency reserve which totals about six months’ worth of earnings. Then, make sure you withdraw money from the account only in case of an emergency or unforeseen medical expense.
There are also other means to get out of debt – including bankruptcy and credit or debt counseling services, but make sure you choose one that is non-profit rather than for-profit to learn how to resolve current debt and keep from getting back into debt in the future.