Debt: It All Adds Up In The End

With the current problems in the housing market, it is often easy for some consumers to forget that all financial obligations owed to others are considered debt. There is a quiet form of debt as well, and this debt is often what leads people into financial trouble.

This quiet form of debt can be called self-serving debt for lack of a better term. It comes about through the money we spend each month on those things that do not have come with a monthly statement. We all know about consumer debts such as auto loans, home mortgages, rent, and credit card bills. It is hard to forget about those especially as we are reminded at the end of the month through the monthly statements we get. Quiet debt is different. It is associated with those things that we need to have, or at least those things we think we need to have, that we purchase during the month.

Many consumers are amazed at how much they spend during the course of a month on items that are not usually considered debts. Things such as groceries, gasoline purchases, money spent on entertainment or clothing. The list is long and varies from one consumer to another, but one thing is common with all: these costs can add up.

Consumers who often find themselves short of cash at the end of the month might want to consider doing a quick and easy listing of their expenses to see just how much they are spending out of pocket each month. These lists do not have to be accounting marvels; they simply need to identify the purchases that are made each day.

An easy way to keep track of daily expenses is to buy a small notebook, the kind that will easily fit into a pocket or purse, and when a purchase is made it is logged into the notebook. It is important to make sure that every purchase, no matter how small, is logged. At the end of the day or at the end of the week, simply add up the entries and you will have a much better idea of how much money you are spending during the week. Multiply that by four and you have a good estimate for the month.

Information, however, is only the beginning. Once you know what you are spending your money on, you must then begin to think about ways to cut back or even eliminate some of those purchases. For most consumers, this is the hard. Financial discipline is never easy, especially when we have to discipline ourselves to not buy those things that we want.

An example of this might be something as simple as lunch. If you are spending ten dollars a day on lunch, that adds up to fifty dollars a week, Monday through Friday. Fifty dollars a week adds up to two hundred dollars a month. That is a sizable amount of money for some people, and it’s money that can easily be saved by most.

Spend some time investigating where you spend your money and you, too, might be surprised at how much you save each week and each month.

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