We’ve all been there. Short on cash, deep in debt but a light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a cover-loan to get out of the red and even boost our readies into the bargain.
Happy days? Sadly not. It comes down to the simple, yet often overlooked, formula that borrowing + more borrowing = more debt. The more debt you get into the harder it is to get back to black.
One of the main reasons behind our ever-growing borrowing habit is that most of us live beyond our means. Outgoings are simply overtaking incomings. And it’s getting worse.
Millions of Brits are spending more than they earn, more than at any point in the last 20 years. It’s estimated that spending on credit cards – the most popular form of personal debt – is rising faster than at any other time in British history.
But it’s easy to see why so many Brits are cash-strapped and borrowing at an alarming rate. The average cost of running a household with a family of four is estimated to be around £25,000 per year.
That’s £2,083 per month. And this figure only covers necessities such as paying the mortgage, food and bills. It doesn’t include luxuries, like holidays or days out.
In the face of this, we put that spa weekend on the credit card. Then the interest builds up and we fall further into debt.
Then we take out another credit card to cover the costs and interest we’ve accrued. We’ve all climbed onto the hamster wheel of borrowing at some point.
So how do you stop borrowing money? There’s only one answer – stop spending.
Sounds simple? Yes, but actually doing it can be hard to stop borrowing money, particularly if you are barely keeping afloat and already in debt. It doesn’t just magically happen, you need to work at it.
How to Stop Borrowing Money
Here we give you some tips to help you jump off that hamster wheel and be free of debt.
1. Work out how to live BELOW your means.
This is what you need to do:
- Increase the money coming into your life.
Easier than it sounds you say. But look at what money you have.
- If you’re employed can you ask for a raise?
- Or is there any job you can do on the side and/or at home to get some extra cash coming in?
- What about selling some stuff?
- Do you have a spare room you can rent out? Take in a lodger or advertise on one of the many websites, like Airbnb, offering affordable rooms for rent.
- This could bring in a few hundred extra per month and all you need to do is stick the hoover round and smile at a mysterious stranger making a cuppa in the morning.
- Stop the money flying out of your life.
Say to yourself that you will not borrow any more from today.
2. Keep your Spending in Check
They say that are only three ‘good debts’:
- Your mortgage, which provides a roof over your head
- Your education, which is an investment in your future job prospects and
- Your business, which is an investment taken to fund a viable business.
The rest? Not worth it.
Get tough on how much you spend on credit cards. Look through your statements – did you really need all the things you’ve bought?
Even if you are spending on luxuries like a holiday, it may be worth skipping this year’s holiday or spending on clothes until you get your spending and debts under control.
It’s a sacrifice, but to be free of debt your spending needs to be reduced somehow.
Being debt free is one of the greatest experiences or feelings you will ever have. Trust me. It’s totally worth it.
3. Create a Spending Plan
A spending plan is your plan for your money. A budget or a spending plan is an important step to financial security.
Knowing your finances inside out – by setting your outgoings against your incomings – will help you live within your means and stop borrowing money.
So, get that spreadsheet out and make a detailed list of all your spending, debt and earnings. But be honest.
Once you have that eye-opening figure of how much money you actually have, you’ll be ready to step away from that new credit card. You will also be able to see where you can make cuts and save.
Remember: only spend on life’s necessities until you are free of debt.
4. Work towards a Clean Slate
Set yourself a goal to be free of debt and the lure of borrowing once and for all.
How do you want your finances to look in a year’s time? Or five years’ time? If you know you want to be debt-free then you can start taking steps towards that goal.
If you are struggling with debt crisis then look into getting help. Organisations such as Step Change can help you find a solution to wiping out your debt once and for all.
5. Get into the Savings Groove
What do you do when you’ve got your eye on something you want, but can’t afford it? Put it on the plastic. Why not trying going trad and save up for it instead?
It’ll take longer for you to get your mitts on your heart’s desire but it’ll be so worth it.
Putting it on credit will just make the thing cost more in the long run and nobody needs anything that desperately.
If you’re borrowing to fix a leaky roof, broken down car or any other annoyance that life throws at us, think about creating an emergency fund to cover future mishaps.
It doesn’t take much to put a few pounds away for a rainy day – we show you how in our article “How to Build an Emergency Fund Quickly”.
Go on; kick your borrowing habit today.
Over to You
Have you managed to stop borrowing money and live within your means? Share your tips with us; we’d love to hear from you.
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