Debt isn't always a bad thing, but it can cause a lot of problems, especially in these tough economic times.
Here's a list of 10 questions you may be asking, which serve as warning signs that your debt load may be out of control.
Savings? What savings?
-- You don't have any.
What's the lowest I can pay each month?
-- You pay only the minimum. Or worse, you can barely pay the minimum...
Why worry? This little purchase won't make a difference.
-- You're still using your credit cards even as you struggle to pay them.
What do you mean I'm declined?
-- You have at least one card that is maxed out at its credit limit -- or, at least, very close.
How much is the late fee?
-- You are paying late fees on your credit cards, bills, or other expenses because you're stretched too thin.
Why think about the Grand Total? It will ruin my day.
-- You do not know how much debt you owe. Or, you are scared to find out.
Can I get a cash advance?
-- You have seriously considered, or are currently using, credit card cash advances or payday cash advances. Even if you know the fees can be 391% annual percentage yield or greater.
Can I get that bounced-check fee withdrawn?
-- Chances are "no", because you've bounced too many checks and/or regularly overdraw your checking account.
What do you mean I've been denied credit?
-- You've been turned down for a credit card, an apartment, or even a job based on your spotty credit score.
Why do you think I have I problem? I don't!
-- You lie to family or friends about your spending habits or debt... going as far as hiding purchases or using shopping as "retail therapy."
If these items sound familiar, you're not alone. Millions of people confront these same issues every day. The question becomes, what can you do?
You can't gain control of your spending habits and escalating debt without asking yourself some serious questions, such as, "why is my behavior so counter to what I say I want?" (Often, you just want "financial stability" -- though, hey, "financial security" sounds appealing, too).
It boils down to figuring out WHY you're spending too much and then mapping out HOW you're going to solve your problem. Chronic debt can only be solved by changing your behavior.
Changing ingrained behaviors can be a struggle. Make sure you arm yourself with the willingness and desire to change as well as the support from others who have walked the same path. You can find support for chronic overspending by connecting with others here at Geezeo, Debtor's Anonymous, and/or a legitimate branch of Consumer Credit Counseling in your area.
Take heed of these warning flags, and take action so that these questions will become
"things I used to say... a long time ago."