Some of the Red Flags
Red flags start to emerge when you do not set up a budget or start making precarious choices with respect to shopping or spending. So, be forewarned – you have taken on too much debt if you:
Bounce checks on a routine basis;
Take out a cash advance from one credit card in order to pay a minimum payment on another credit card;
Receive more calls from collection agencies than you do friends and family;
Routinely ask family members or friends for loans;
Regularly receive utility notices about the shut-off of your hydro, water, or phone;
Have found it necessary to cut back on some regular expenses, such as clothing or recreation; or
Are looking for a part-time job in order to manage your debt.
Some Alterations You Can Make
Actually, you can make some minor changes that will go a long way toward lowering debt. Use some of the following tips if your debt is starting to take control of your life:
Stop paying for cable. Instead, watch free programming on the Internet.
If you have a cell phone, disconnect your landline phone.
Hold a garage sale.
Review your life insurance and homeowner’s insurance packages. Compare the coverages with other coverages to see if you can reduce the rates.
Buy generic brands at the grocery store to reduce spending.
Get rid of ancillary costs, such as magazine and newspaper subscriptions or manicure and pedicure services.
Go to the movies in the afternoon instead of paying the full price at night, or watch movies at home, and rent the movies instead.
Call you utility companies and sign up for their budget plans.
Borrow books from the library instead of buying them online or at the local bookstore.
Buy expensive grocery products in bulk.
Exercise at home or hike or walk instead of paying for a gym membership.
Pack you lunch instead of eating at a restaurant.
Program your thermostat to save on your cooling and heating costs when you are not at home.
Use the above list to direct you down the road of saving more and spending less. Take that crucial first step.