Do you hyperventilate when you open your mailbox and find bills? Is your bank statement something you dread looking at? Are your finances spinning out of control? Due to habits and lifestyles, it’s often quite difficult to acknowledge or escape the dark cloud of debt.

Everyone wants to be financially secure, but facing the truth and accepting the possibility of a “debt problem” can be frightening.

It doesn’t have to be. Here are three warning signs of “debt obsession” and advice on how to avoid digging yourself into a deeper, pricier hole.

You LOVE Paying Minimum Amount
How much debt are you paying off each month? If you are paying the minimum every single month, you’ll sink further into debt by acquiring more and more interest. Here’s a whopping example: if your car cost $10,000 and has an 18% interest rate, it’ll take you 28 years to pay off the car and interest (which could be more than the actual car).

Don’t pay the minimum! It’s important to keep your payments within a realistic limit, but don’t fall prey to the temptation of paying off debts bit by bit. The faster you pay something off, the sooner you’ll own it, and the less you’ll have to stress about. Be aggressive with your payments—you’ll thank yourself for it later.

You’re ADDICTED to Credit Spending
Are you constantly calling credit card issuers to see how much credit you have available? Do you use your credit card as extra income? Have you resorted to buying the basics with your credit card?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you may be addicted to credit spending. Don’t pile debt on top of debt—the burden is sometimes too much to bear. Sometimes the intangible idea of credit as money makes people giddy with excitement—until they realize the consequences of debt. Seek help as soon as possible to learn how to reverse improper spending, and properly use a credit card.

You’re OBLIVIOUS of Debt Total
If you’re scared to look at your bank statement, you are not alone. Debt is ever-changing and it can be hard to keep track of how much you owe. No one blames you for acquiring debt—it happens to the best of us—but it’s up to you to face your problems head on and be aware of your debt total. Next time a bank statement comes, open it up, circle the total, and set to work to undo some of debt’s feistiest damages.

Getting out of debt is a process that takes time and expertise. Call us at Harris & Partners Inc. to learn more and unburden yourself from debt.