Evaluate Your Debt Situation

Is debt one of your four letter words? Do you use credit entirely to your advantage instead of letting it control you? My parents taught me to save for what I wanted and buy with cash. My parents taught me that credit cards were useful tools and shouldn’t be used beyond what could be paid off each month.

Credit cards are awesome things. You can gain so much from responsible credit card use. You can earn airline miles. You can earn points to buy items. You can earn a percentage of your balance so you end up paying off less than you owe. You really can benefit from responsible credit card use.

Credit cards can also be easy traps to fall into and spiral head long into a debt hole that can be difficult to dig out of. I know from personal experience. I sank into the debt depths and crawled out more than once.

If you recognize yourself in these areas, it may be time to evaluate your debt situation.

Relying on Credit
Are you using credit cards to pay for everything? If you used to use cash and now you’re carrying a balance, this may indicate a debt problem.

Balance Transfers
Using balance transfers to take advantage of teaser interest rates to pay down balances quickly is a good debt repayment tool. Adding accounts to make payments exacerbates a bad situation.

Minimum Payments
Not creating new debt is the best first step you can make, but if you’re only making minimum payments, your debt will continue to increase and you won’t get ahead.

Late and/or Missed Payments
If you can’t make at least the minimum payment on time, contact your creditors about making new arrangements. You may save yourself fees.

No one enjoys being in debt. Ignoring it won’t make it go away.