Across the world, household debt levels are growing. However, you can be in debt yet still be financially healthy. The key to debt is only to borrow what you can afford to pay back comfortably.
Steep increases in house prices have led to an increase in mortgage and household debt in China, leading to concerns about growth in the world's second-largest economy.
Avoiding too much debt takes discipline and hard work. Saving for a home is a worthy aspiration, but it may mean cutting back on other expenses to achieve it.
Excessive borrowing is any amount of debt that you can't comfortably manage. There are several signs to look out for:
Borrowing to cover everyday expenses
One of the first signs that you may have a debt problem is if you need to borrow money to cover everyday expenses, like utility bills, food or travel costs. Rather than take out a short-term or payday loan, it may be helpful to admit that your budget is overstretched, and take steps to reduce your outgoings.
Borrowing money repeatedly, and on a regular basis, is another sign that you may have a debt problem. It's a good idea to set yourself a budget, if you don't already, so that you can plan ahead how you will meet your expenses.
Minimum payments only
If you have more than one credit card, and can only afford to make the minimum required payment on each, this may be another sign of excessive borrowing.
Using cash advances from credit cards to pay bills might seem like a manageable solution, but it's another sign that you may have borrowed more money than you can comfortably afford to pay back.
Avoiding excessive borrowing can be difficult, especially if you are already struggling to meet your monthly outgoings. If it feels like your debt is getting out of control, you should consider seeking specialist help from a free debt charity or related organisation.
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