Have you ever written a check for something that you knew you didn’t have the money for? People do that more than you think. They play the game of “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. This is a common practice that can lead to debt and bad money management.
When you take a job, you are given a salary. The salary only changes if you get a promotion. For those that work an hourly wage, the amount of your check changes if you work more or less hours each week. Despite our paychecks being fairly consistent, people continue to spend more money than they earn.
One cause of this is the “buy now and pay later” trap. Knowing that the first payment is two years away gives consumers a false sense of security. They may have walked into the store to purchase a bed, and end up walking out with the entire bedroom set because they don’t have to make payments until 2009!
Keep in mind, though, that if you could not afford to buy the bed you wanted to look for, buying even more expensive bedroom furniture really does not make a lot of sense. Not having to pay for two years is no guarantee that you will have the money you need to pay for your furniture then either.
Credit cards can trick inexperienced card holders as well. Some people think that, although they don’t have the money they need to make a certain purchase at the moment, they will have it by the time their monthly credit card statement arrives. Without planning such expenses into the budget, however, it will be very difficult to come up with the money at the end of the month. This could lead to leaving a running balance on your credit card that will incur interest rates until it is paid off.
We have to learn to be financially responsible or the debt situation will worsen. More people will file for bankruptcy or pay credit counselors to fix the debt problem. While these options are available to help those who have gotten deep into debt find their way out, far too few people take advantage of the help that is offered.
For some, having at least some kind of debt has become a way to fit in with others, even being considered as some sort of status symbol by some. Many individuals think that, so long as they are always able to pay their minimum monthly payment on credit cards, they can be in debt without problems. This means, however, that they will end up spending more in the long run because of interest rates.
Overspending will be a problem as long as there are available sources of credit. Future consumers can be affected by today’s buying habits, since they are learning from this generation’s actions. It is important to think about just what it is that they are being taught.