Every Day

Are You Drowning In Debt?

The economy has been tough these past few years. Do you feel like you are drowning in debt? Maybe you are. The amount of credit card debt in this country is growing rapidly. It reached $1.13 trillion dollars by the end of 2023. The mortgage debt is $12.25 trillion dollars. Home home equity loan debt is $360 billion dollars. Auto loans are $1.61 trillion dollars. Student loan debt I have no idea because the President seems to be forgiving “his select groups of people” who have student loan debt even though the Supreme Court said he couldn’t. Someone has to pay for that and it is the taxpayers who most likely paid their own student loans themselves or for their children. Isn’t buying votes wonderful? Okay, I will get back on track now.

If you have credit card debt, there is only one way to solve that problem and that is to pay if off. You borrowed it, you pay it off. Over my lifetime, I have heard people make so many excuses about why they have credit card debt. They use their cards for what they consider emergencies. It starts with one emergency and then balloons from there into many emergencies. First, the pipes get clogged and they use their credit card to pay the plumber, then the furnace goes and they put that on the credit card, then they have a dental emergency, or an auto repair emergency, etc. After that everything is an emergency, even food. The worst part is when they are paying the minimum payments every month. They get farther and farther behind with the interest payments they are making. Some of those interest rates are in the high 20’s. Yikes! You are making your credit card companies rich and you poor!

What are you going to do if you lose your job? What are you going to do if you have a reduction in income? There is nothing worse than losing your income. One day you are chugging along and then you are out of a job. Have you prepared for that?

The worst excuse I have heard over the years is “I deserve” a vacation or to go out to restaurants to eat quite frequently, or to go to the latest movies, or to buy new furniture or carpeting or the latest decor, etc. No one deserves anything that they can’t pay for. If you are living above your income, just STOP! You are doing so much damage to your future that it just breaks my heart thinking about it.

I have known people who have lost their homes. I have known people who have never owned their homes for many decades because of credit card debt. Every time they run up their credit cards and can’t pay them off, they redo their mortgage taking the equity out of their home or take a 2nd mortgage on their home in the form of a HELOC(Home Equity Loan). That is the dumbest thing you can ever do. Credit card debt is unsecured debt. By using your home to pay it off, you put your home at risk because your home is secured debt. You don’t pay, they will take your home.

So let’s start being responsible for all of that spending that was of your own making. You have sabotaged yourself and your family. You have no one to blame but yourself. I am tired of hearing poor me because I just don’t have the money to buy “fill in the blank”.

The first thing you do is start a real emergency fund so that you have the money when a true emergency comes up. If you have recently depleted your emergency fund, you have to work to replace it. With all the large and small things you can cut, you can do it even if you just build it with $25. a week. Then do not touch it unless it is a life or death emergency.

Start putting more than the minimum payment on your credit card bills. How do I do that Precious when there is no extra money? You cut all costs that are not a necessity. Next you look at the frivolous spending you do on a daily basis.

You don’t need to buy a cup of coffee out; make it at home and take it with you. You can cook ALL of your meals from scratch so much cheaper than paying for restaurant meals or takeout. You can catch the new movie a few months later on a free or cheap streaming channel for pennies on the dollars you would have paid for tickets and the expensive concession items. There are so many things that are free that you can do for entertainment. Just check your local area. Take up a free hobby like learning how to save money by watching you tube or taking a book out of the library to read.

If you are an impulse purchaser, do grocery or department store pickups. That way you aren’t just browsing in the store seeing all the goodies that you can put in your cart. If you buy on Amazon or Walmart online, put your necessary item in your cart but don’t check out for a few days. If you still deem it necessary in 3-5 days, then purchase it. I do this all the time. 90% of my items aren’t really necessities so I remove them from my cart. If it is a want and you can afford it then get what you want.

This is totally not targeted at any one person. Many people are very responsible with their money. If this post makes you mad, then you probably needed the advice. I will be trying to help anyone who needs to hear this in future posts.


8 replies on “Are You Drowning In Debt?”

SISTER!!!! You hit the nail on the head. spend spend spend. I don’t understand people. I understand if they start out that way and were not taught differently, but there are so many resources to learn from these days. I am thankful that I am debt free and I am thankful that both of my kids liver frugally and within their means.

Hi Precious, I know you are writing this because you truly have a heart to want people to pay their debts off. I still remember what an encouragement you were to me when we were trying to pay off our house in recent years. I know you would encourage anyone to pay off any debt they have, and so would I. It is so freeing not to owe anyone anything. It is really helping us this first year of my Hubby’s retirement when our income is so much lower than it was.

We’ve been debt free for 23 years now and counting. I do use my credit cards (and cash in those 3% to 5% rewards!!) but I pay them off in full each month. I keep a running tally of my credit card usage and when it reaches a total I can not afford for the month I STOP USING THE CARD. Like duh? If we have large purchases to buy, such as I recently bought ALL new appliances, I put those on a zero interest card and pay it off usually 2 months BEFORE it’s due date, just to make sure there are no errors (If you miss the deadline, as those sneaky credit card companies hope you will, they charge the full interest payment amount !!!). Any extra cash we have at the end of the month goes into a 5.5% interest bearing money market account (we save around $500 to $1,000 a month). It doesn’t pay for us to use this cash to pay for the high costs of products since our good credit gets us those zero interest payments. Hubby does ALL our repairs and can buy any part with his professional discount. I swear, if I hear the words “I deserve it” one more time, I’ll scream!!! Aren’t we all in this together? No one deserves anything more than the next person!!! I did notice one thing new, however, with the zero interest payments: if you purchase a few items on one card with zero interest, each item has a different pay off date. I now have to call the credit card company one day before I make the payment to instruct them how I want my payment delegated. $100 to this one, $87 to that one and $50 to another one. It could be annoying but really, it only takes about 5 of my minutes per month and the customer service is terrific. The current cost of living crisis, however, has forced us to give up and sacrifice many things. We discontinued our life insurance policies since we both have life threatening illnesses, neither one of us will be alive long enough to use/enjoy the money. We never go out to eat nor even buy a coffee. I’ve raised all deductibles on our insurance policies (cancelled collision on our 2015 car), utilize our RV closer to home now, haven’t used our RV for Florida since 2020 (pandemic & now current illness). If we don’t use our RV this summer/fall I’m seriously thinking of getting rid of it. We’ll see. All our bills are for basics. No frills. Hubby barters 100% now. No more entertainment fees. We only go where it’s free now. Just discovered Hoopla, a streaming service from our local library that allows us to view 5 movies per month, many recent (Oscar winning) releases for free!!!!! Also just discovered a free app called ‘NextDoor’ that connects me with all my neighbors. They post free things, free events, gardening supplies, recipes, exchanges or bartering or something I can get paid for, such as using my sewing machine to hem a ladies dress! Easy peasy. It’s all good.

Hi Cindi,

Thanks for sharing. We do as you do and use our card for convenience and to get the rewards. We always pay them off every month. You and Hubby are doing well. I love Hoopla. I think most libraries have it or another form of it.

I hope you are doing well and on your road to recovery.

Precious, today is a good day. I have one more chemo treatment, which has been reduced so it’s way more tolerable and then on to surgery (lumpectomy) in the beginning of the summer. I had no idea this journey would be so long! I also don’t take anything for granted! Thanks for asking. 🙂

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