Debt Control

Written by Sarah Provost
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Debt control is a process that is both very easy and very difficult. The concept couldn't be simpler: don't spend more than you earn. The practice, however, is a very different story. Here are a few tips to help you get your debt under control.

Credit Card Control Is the Key to Debt Control

Extensive use of credit cards is the primary cause of carrying too much debt. If you have a serious debt problem, the best thing you could do is cut up all credit cards. However, most people can learn to control their debt with less drastic steps. The first rule is that you must pay more than the minimum payment each month. You will never achieve debt control unless you pay down the balance as quickly as possible.

Stop using your credit cards for everyday purchases such as groceries, clothing and gas. Carrying cash is less convenient, but it will help you keep your expenses under control. I use credit cards only for large expenses such as car repairs and for tax-deductible purchases, so I have backup documentation in case I lose a receipt. All other purchases are made in cash. If I don't have enough cash to buy something I want, I put it off until the next payday. Sometimes, by then, I realize I don't really want the item anymore.

Delaying non-essential purchases, even by a day or two, is an excellent means of debt control. Impulse buying can quickly send your bills skyrocketing, and taking time to think can help prevent unnecessary expenditures. For larger nonessential purchases, such as new furniture or an upgraded computer, start a separate savings account and deposit a set amount each payday until you can pay for them in cash. You can regain control over your debts without feeling deprived if you learn to defer your purchases. The peace of mind this will bring is priceless.

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