Many people struggle with the question of how to avoid debt. Of course, the easiest way to save yourself from falling into a financial hole is not getting yourself there in the first place, and this post will help with that.
Although we’d all like to avoid any debt at all, there are certain types of debt that are completely normal. These include house mortgages, student loans, or furniture bought on finance. But while some debt is normal, if you end up with too much it can easily become unmanageable, and start to harm your financial health and credit score.
Fortunately, with the right tools and strategies, it’s possible to avoid getting into unmanageable debt.
Read on to find easy, actionable advice that can help you avoid debt. Simple tricks like having an emergency fund at the ready, or keeping borrowing to a minimum, can help you stay in control of your finances.
1. Build up an emergency fund
It’s important to put some savings into an emergency fund for a rainy day. The best way to set up a safety net for yourself is to set aside some money to cover expenses in case of a financial crisis.
If you find yourself in a costly situation like having a major car problem, or your house needs significant repairs, you can dip into your emergency fund instead of stressing about where to find the cash.
Once you’ve created this safety net for yourself, you won’t have to take out costly payday loans or make large charges on your credit card, as these can often lead to debt spiralling out of control.
2. Establish a budget
Creating a budget is a key step in managing your finances and avoiding debt. By calculating your monthly income and expenses, creating spending categories, and tracking your spending, you can easily establish a budget that works for you. If you want to find out more, we’ve created an easy guide on how to create a budget.
Day-to-day spending can very easily add up, but by creating a budget and sticking to it, you can make sure you're not spending more than you should.
Your budget should be tailored to your needs, and can be as specific or general as you want. You could set a monthly budget for groceries, eating out, entertainment, and many other categories of spending.
3. Keep borrowing to a minimum
Borrowing is completely normal and shouldn’t be much of a problem unless you’re doing it all the time and it becomes unmanageable. Most people will need to borrow money at some point in their life, whether it’s for a mortgage, student loans, or a car on finance.
You should only borrow money for things that you really need, and when you do decide to borrow, make sure that you look for low interest rates and reasonable payment terms. Borrowing for unnecessary things or agreeing to unreasonable payment terms can keep you in debt and damage your credit score.
When it’s possible, you should try to put down larger deposits to keep monthly payments to a minimum. It might also be possible to borrow money from friends or family when you need to make these kinds of big payments.
4. Build up your credit score
It’s important to try and keep a good credit score, since this can be key for future loans for buying a house or car, or even getting a phone contract. Having a good credit score means that you’ll be able to get the best possible terms on loans.
There are many ways to build and maintain a good credit score, including: paying all your bills on time, keeping borrowing to a minimum, and buying items on your credit card and paying off the bills on time.
5. Pay any credit cards off every month
Since credit cards are so easy to use, and let you buy things you can’t actually afford, credit card debt can easily get out of hand. Credit cards are often a convenient and useful way to pay for things, but it’s also important to pay off your credit card debt every month.
It’s also important to note that unpaid credit card debt usually incurs interest, meaning that you can end up paying much more than you originally spent. To avoid getting into credit card debt, make sure that you’re only spending what you can afford to repay at the end of the month.
It can also be helpful to keep fewer credit cards, so repayments are as simple and easy as possible.
6. Develop a savings routine
By creating a savings routine you can automatically save money each month without having to think about it, and help protect yourself against debt. Establishing a routine of automatically saving also makes it easier to save up money for an emergency fund, a retirement savings fund, or even big purchases like a home.
There are many different routes you can take in the pursuit of saving money, like the 50-30-20 budgeting rule, saving £20,000 in a year, or even setting a fun challenge for yourself like the 1p savings challenge. Even putting a small amount of money aside every month is a good way to build up your savings over time.
How HyperJar can help you avoid debt
HyperJar Jars are an easy and flexible way of saving up your cash. By setting up automatic bank transfers into your HyperJar account, and putting the money into a Savings Jar, you can slowly increase your savings without even thinking much about it.
Visualising your savings better, by setting money aside in a digital jam jar and watching it grow over time, will also give you some important reinforcement.
Avoiding debt issues requires some discipline, strategy and planning, but by following these simple tips you can avoid getting into major debt.
By implementing these tips you’ll set yourself up for a healthy financial future and avoid the stress of unmanageable debt. Remember, avoiding debt isn’t about avoiding borrowing money altogether, but rather borrowing wisely and managing your finances smartly.