Sometimes, debt can help you make big moves in life, like if you want to go to school or get a leg up on the property ladder. But sometimes, you can collect debt just by spending without thinking first.
If you’re piling on debt, you wouldn’t be alone. In Arizona, the average person carries $103,326 in personal debt, which is more than twice what the average Arizonian makes in a year.
With such a high debt-to-income ratio, Arizona is one of the top five states with the highest debt loads. But you don’t have to live in the Grand Canyon State to feel the crunch. Anyone with a buy now, pay later attitude can struggle with debt.
If you’ve gotten into the habit of buying what you want with a credit card or line of credit without thinking about how you’ll pay it off later, here’s how you can break the cycle.
Budget and Switch to Cash
If you find it hard to resist the temptation of credit, make it harder to use.
Start using cash or your debit card when you’re making purchases. This will force you to use a budget because you’ll only have so much physical cash to go around. You’ll need this spending plan to make sure you can cover everything that’s important.
While it might be hard at first, using cash can help you stop overspending. After all, if you only have $100 in your wallet, you can’t buy a $150 set of headphones.
Don’t Close Existing Accounts
Some people might close down any account they have to prevent overindulging, but you’ll want to consider this carefully before doing it yourself.
For one thing, online loans in Arizona like a credit card or line of credit have a purpose in your finances. They help you cover unexpected expenses you can’t cover on your own. Having them in your back pocket will come in handy if you have to take on urgent, unavoidable auto repairs or medical expenses.
Closing online loans may also affect your credit, depending on how your financial institution reports your payment history to the major credit bureaus. Closing your accounts can impact your utilization ratio in a way that damages your score.
Understand Your Triggers
Everyone has spending triggers that make them pick up their credit card and pile on debt. It’s not always easy knowing what pushes you to overspend, but it’s usually attached to a negative emotion.
Experts recommend running through the HALT method.
HALT stands for these feelings:
It flags common factors that cause you to spend more. Before clicking the “proceed to checkout” button, ask yourself if you are hungry or tired.
This moment of self-reflection can encourage you to examine why you’re buying something. Once you can put a name to it, it’s easier to deny.
Put a Hold on Non-Essentials
Another way you can put an end to overspending is by delaying any purchase that isn’t an essential bill or expense. Experts recommend putting any fun purchases on hold for 36 hours.
This near-two-day wait takes you out of the heat of the moment. It gives you more time to consider HALT and determine if you truly need what you’ve placed in your cart.
Usually by the time 36 hours are up, you won’t feel the same about those unnecessary throw pillows or milk frother.
Break the Cycle!
If you’re ready to stop adding debt to your budget, just follow these tips!