Off debt before it offs you

Debt is a slow and silent killer. You might not even realize how you’re being affected. Pay off what you can as soon as you can. I don’t care what your BFF says – that Visa Credit Card is not your friend.

Debt doesn’t stack up nicely like Pringles, it doesn’t wait and forgive you like a missionary girlfriend. It’s nasty. You need to be aware of the amount of interest rallying around you, the prey.

Like Optimus Prime, debt can transform. Yes you finally paid off your Best Buy card, but with your student loan? You are driving in circles.

I’m sure you’ve seen or heard about people cutting up their Credit Cards. Try it – it works and your credit card won’t.

Don’t do all your fall clothes shopping with the store card. Consider layaway, where you take your merchandise home only when you are done making payments on the merchandise. It might require some planning. Try it for spring.

Get a calendar and mark the payment due dates of each of your cards and loans. I know a person who loaned 13 grand for school and 10 years later she now owes 30 grand. Late fees unravel like Russian dolls; one late fee for the last late fee that was paid late, and on and on.

Sign up for overdraft protection. This way when you overdraft, your bank won’t penalize you. Don’t forget to pay that off as well.

According to Sallie Mae, a college financing company, the average student has four or more credit cards and has a balance of over $3,000. Thereport continues, stating that because of the economy, more students are relying on credit cards for educational purposes than ever before.

Education is important, but be careful of going into debt for it – even if you go bankrupt, legally you must still pay back student loans. They are a debt that cannot be erased.

Don’t forget the non-educational. The clothes you bought at Express. “ROCK BAND” you enjoy thanks to your Best Buy card, all the useless McDonald purchases on your Visa card and the concert tickets you just bought with your Master card.

You’re not alone; lots of people have credit card debt, but realize that too much can affect your decisions down the road. Studies show that many students put off marriage, children or buying a house because of their debt situation.

If you’re a freshman and you’re debt free, keep it that way. Pay more than your monthly minimum and for your own sake take a finance class! Pass the wisdom on to your siblings and maybe even to your parents.

Whatever you do, don’t just sit there reading this thinking that your debt is somehow going to work out. This isn’t a Sophie Kinsella novel. Get paper and a pencil and figure out all your expenses, get on a budget and find small ways to pay off your debt. A good website for financial tips is thesmarterwallet.com.

One Response to "Off debt before it offs you"

  1. Nathan   October 2, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Maybe you should spend more time explaining how to avoid the debt. You only mention budget in the second to last sentence.

    If you have a monthly income of any sort, then start at the beginning of that month and allocate the money that is currently in the account. Don’t spend money as it comes in, save that to allocate for next month. If you have a spending plan at the beginning of the month, then you are less likely to buy something you don’t need. If you need it but can’t afford it immediately, you can save for it (in the budget plan).

    Reply

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