Using debt products like credit cards, instant loans, etc feel like a quick solution for all your money needs. And there are many advantages of using them smartly. But it is a double-edged sword, and if used recklessly, can affect your finances negatively by putting you into a debt trap.
What is a debt trap?
Debt Trap is a situation where a person borrows so much money that it becomes difficult to repay.
A debt trap generally happens when someone borrows money, struggles to repay it, and hence borrows more money. This creates a loop where debt keeps piling up, and it keeps getting more and more difficult to get out of it.
Bankruptcy is a legal situation where a person or a company is unable to pay their debts and seeks help from the court to resolve their financial problems.
If someone has fallen into a debt trap and can’t find a way out, they may have to file for bankruptcy.
1. Practise Financial Planning
Financial planning means creating a roadmap for your money. It includes setting goals, making a budget, etc, basically making smart decisions about how you earn, spend, save, and invest your money.
This ensures that you have clear goals which help you to prioritize your spending, not splurging money impulsively and avoiding unnecessary debt.
2. Build an emergency fund
Your emergency fund is the money you keep aside for unexpected situations like job loss, medical emergency, etc.
It is recommended that your emergency fund should have an amount equivalent to six months’ worth of expenses.
If you have an emergency fund in place, you would be able to pay without having to borrow money and wouldn’t need to pay high-interest charges.
3. Invest wisely
This means researching the investment opportunity thoroughly before putting money into it so that you minimize the risk of losing your money.
This not only helps you stay on track towards achieving your financial goals while avoiding the debt trap but also come in handy in case of an emergency.
4. Read the fine print before taking the debt
When you take a loan or apply for a credit card, you agree to their terms and conditions. Its details are present in the fine print which can significantly affect your financial well-being.
The fine print has important details like interest rates, processing fees, late payment fees, repayment terms, penalties, etc. Understanding the complete details will help you make sound financial decisions and be safe from making any financial mistakes.
5. Pay your credit card debt in full
If you do not pay off the full amount due on your credit card by the due date, the remaining balance starts accumulating interest charges. If you do this month after month, interest charges can quickly add up, making it harder to repay the debt.
Paying your credit card debt in full before the due date is a wise financial practice. It helps you avoid interest charges, prevents the accumulation of debt, and increases your credit score.
6. Start tracking your expenses
When you make a monthly budget and track your spendings, you get a clear picture of your financial situation. This helps you understand how much money you can spend, your upcoming expenses and existing debts.
It helps you to make responsible financial decisions and live within your means, thereby keeping your away from falling into debt.
7. Buy necessary insurance
Buying good insurance is important to protect yourself from unexpected expenses. For example, health insurance covers medical expenses and car insurance covers damages from accidents. This helps you avoid taking loans to cover these large, unexpected expenses.
8. Have sufficient liquid assets
Liquid assets mean financial instruments that can be easily and quickly exchanged for cash like gold, stocks, etc.
By having sufficient liquid assets, you can cover unforeseen costs without resorting to borrowing costly debt. It provides a financial safety net, allowing you to handle emergencies while maintaining your financial stability.
9. Do not take more debt than you can handle
Taking on more debt than you can comfortably repay can put you at the risk of falling behind on payments. This would result in accumulation of interest charges, penalty, etc which can push you into a debt trap.
By only taking the debt you can comfortably manage, you can minimize the interest cost and save yourself from unnecessary financial burdens.
10. Consolidate loans
If you have multiple loans like credit card debts, personal loans, etc, it can become challenging to keep track of multiple EMIs and different interest rates.
Consolidation means taking a single loan to pay off all the ongoing loans. This simplifies your finances and reduces the chances of missing payments or incurring late fees.
You can consolidate your debt by instantly getting a personal loan from the Zype app up to ₹5,00,000. Click here to download the app.
11. Avoid impulse spending
Impulse buying means making a sudden and unplanned purchase without giving it much thought. It happens when we buy something on a whim, driven by our emotions or immediate desires.
If you strictly decide to avoid impulsive purchases, it becomes easier to stay within your budget which reduces the risk of overspending and falling into a debt trap.
If you prioritize your needs, set clear financial goals, and make informed choices about how you spend, save, and invest your money, you can achieve a stable life financially.
So, follow these 11 ways to avoid falling into a debt trap and embark on a journey towards financial independence.
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