Avoid debt traps – what to look out for when having debt

be aware of debt

Debt, or borrowed money, is a necessity in today’s world. It allows us to buy or do things that we can’t afford right now. So, in some point in life, we’ll need debt – for studies, buying a car, buying a house and so on. In addition to buying what we need and want, debt can be used to make more money. That’s why there’re bad debts and good debts. Generally speaking, bad debts are those that end up making you spend more money. On the other hand, good debts are those that end up making you earn more money. Bad debts are those that we should avoid having too much at all times. Mismanagement of debt is one of the factors that cause financial problems such as debt traps.

having a heavy debt load

Debt can be bad for you

These are some of the things to keep in mind to avoid falling into debt traps:

Keep yourself employed with a steady income

Although this is an obvious one, it’s very important. When you have debt, you’ll need to pay repayment bills when they’re due. Without employment, there won’t be any income. So, if you’re uncertain about employment, don’t be involved in debt.

Keep employed - office

Keep your day job

Have an emergency fund

Life is full of uncertainties. An emergency fund can help keep you afloat in difficult times. Next time you receive your pay, consider setting aside a small amount to build your emergency fund. You’ll thank yourself for it when it’s needed.

Be aware of credit card debts

Credit cards are one of the worst types of debts. They generally attract very high interest rates compared to other debts and they can easily encourage bad spending habits. Therefore, you should always minimise the use of credit cards. If you ever need to use one, make sure you pay it off as soon as possible. Otherwise, you’ll just end up paying more and more of your hard-earned money to the bank.

Watch out for credit card debts

Cut the credit card debts


Do research before you buy

This is particularly important when you’re buying something big and expensive. Doing research can help you save a lot of money, and it’s not that hard. We have the internet nowadays. Shop around before you buy. Google the product. Are there any other places that sell it for cheaper? See if there’re any coupons for the retailer that can save you more money. With the internet in hand, the information is just around the corner.

research is key

Doing research can help save a lot of money and determine if it’s good or bad debt.

Pay your debts on time

This is important in order to maintain a good credit score. Your credit score determines your ability to borrow more in the future. You won’t want a bad credit score because if you have one, you won’t be able to use debt when you need it. If you have savings sitting around and not doing much, you might want to use them to pay off your debts. Remember, the longer you hold the debt, the more money (interest) you’ll end up paying to the bank.

Debt is the worst form of poverty – Thomas Fuller

Be aware of your spending limits

There’s nothing more important than knowing what you earn and spend. This involves budgeting, which will be further discussed in another article. Spending more than what you can afford can easily put you into a debt trap. Remember how we talked about credit cards? So, if you can’t afford it now, don’t buy it yet. It’s important to accept that we’re not able to afford the luxuries we want all the time. In such times, we need to focus on the needs, and cut the wants.

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Washington Mazambani

Washington Mazambani

I am passionate about helping individuals create wealth through property investments. I am the co-founder, mentor and financial writer at WatuDaily, specialising in property investment, business advice and personal money matters. I was previously a financial adviser for over 15 years and it is on that high that I wish to share my knowledge and experiences and channel them towards a vision and purpose of helping others to realise and achieve their financial goals through my publications. As a financial adviser, I won a number of industry awards for the outstanding contribution I made to my clients and peers. I hold a Bachelor of Applied Finance degree and a Master of Commerce in Accounting and Finance degree. In my spare time, I enjoy travelling and staying active through playing sport.


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