This article offers six warning signs your spending is becoming a problem. If these signs apply to you, this article may help you spot financial spending danger zones and improve your spending habits.
One of the most difficult obstacles our financial education counselors face when dealing with our clients is that they aren’t always honest with themselves about their financial situation. Too often, people who are way over their head in debt genuinely feel that their credit practices are fine.
In fact, if you have a credit problem, the first and most important step is to admit to yourself that you need help. This is also probably the most difficult hurdle to clear for most people because they feel that to do so would be an admission of financial failure. But the “real” failure is in not getting help and, instead, digging yourself deeper and deeper into credit and debt.
Whether you think you’re having a problem or not, take a quick minute to reflect on your current financial state by reviewing the following “financial danger signs.” If any of them feel close to home, you may want to consider contacting credit.org for an appointment with one of our debt counselors.
- You use your credit cards regularly and rarely pay more than the minimum payment. Simple mathematics dictates that this is a one-way road to disaster. Eventually, your credit card debt will become so high that you may not even be able to make the minimum payment.
- You’re often or always late on regular monthly bills. If you find yourself receiving the new bill before paying off the previous one on a regular basis, then you simply don’t have control over your finances. These monthly bills represent your basic needs, so you should be able to pay for them without any problem.
- You get in frequent arguments about money with your spouse, partner or roommate. This is usually a sure sign that you and the person you’re arguing with are overly stressed about finances, probably for good reason.
- You purchase necessary consumable items, like food and gas, with your credit card. A healthy attitude toward credit is one in which you only use it in emergencies or to pay for important items, with the intention of paying them off quickly. Otherwise, credit is simply a convenience that comes at a very high price.
- You have no idea what your total debt is. If you can’t estimate within $500 or $1,000 what your total debt is, your spending is way out of control. Chances are when you receive the monthly statements, you don’t even look at the balance, and that’s not a good approach.
- You have recently taken out a cash advance on a credit card to pay a monthly bill. Typically, credit cards charge a higher interest rate and allow no grace period on cash advances. They also charge a service fee, so it simply doesn’t make financial sense to pay your bills like this.
If you’re experiencing two or more of these financial danger signs, it is essential that you do something to turn your credit practices around.