At some time or another during our lives most of us will overspend and get into debt. Sometimes we can get our finances back on an even keel by cutting down on a few luxuries.
It's a fact that there is now much greater and easier access to credit than there ever has been before. What people often forget is that, once they use that credit, they have taken on a debt. British consumers now owe more than £1,004,290,000,000 on credit cards, mortgages and loans.
Some 1,300 different credit cards are available compared with only one in 1971. The average credit card limit is £3,000 though some people have cards with limits of more than £10,000.
Paying off the full amount you owe on your credit card statement every month means you are staying out of debt. However, once you slip behind and start to leave something owing month after month, you are beginning to get into debt and taking the first steps that could lead to financial disaster.
Almost 12 million people in Britain have a mortgage. That is a loan to buy your own home or, in other words, a debt you owe. Of course few of us can do anything other than take on a mortgage if we want to own our own home and there is always the possibility of selling the property and repaying the money.
So having debts is not the problem. The problem is letting debts build up to a point where you can no longer keep up the repayments or taking on more debt than you can realistically afford in the first place.