A loan can be a good way to address a number of financial problems. Some people even take out loans when they’re not in a particularly bad situation, but just want to cover some extra expenses. Loans are quite the useful tool when used right, but they also have a serious potential for abuse, which is why it’s not rare to hear all these horror stories in the media.
But in the end, that’s just what the media does – it takes the worst examples and magnifies them to sell issues. You won’t hear about the thousands of people who’ve managed to climb out of a financial hole because they took out a loan and used it responsibly. It just doesn’t make for interesting news. The bottom line is, the cases of people getting into trouble as a result of borrowing money usually boil down to irresponsible behavior.
Know How Much You Need to Borrow
The first step is to ensure that you’re borrowing exactly as much as you need to. This goes both ways. Borrowing too much is an obvious problem, because you’re left with making larger payments that might put a spike in the wheel of your finances. But borrowing too little is not good either, because you’re just delaying the problem that you already have. You’ll still find yourself having to take out another loan sooner or later if you do that, but it will be more difficult because of the one that you’re already paying off.
Have a Plan
This might sound like a cliché, but it’s disappointing to see how many people simply take out loans with the vague intention of paying them back at some point. It can sometimes seem simple enough from your perspective – you’ve got a stable paycheck, you know that you can easily cut a few corners here and there, so why not get the money now and worry about it later?
The problem with this logic is that if you could actually cut those corners and still live comfortably, you would have done it already, instead of taking out a loan. If you’ve gotten to this point in the first place, it means that you have a problem that you need to address in an organized, systematic manner.
Prioritize Early Repayment if Possible
Anytime you have extra money, you should prioritize putting it towards the repayment of your loan. Sometimes your lender might frown upon the idea of early repayment. In that case, just keep the money in a separate fund and be ready to use it whenever the payment date for each installment comes around. Having extra money means that you won’t have to worry about those payments anytime soon.
A common mistake people make is to just get comfortable in the situation of repaying their loans after a few months have passed, and treat any extra money as a small gift for themselves. This will only make things more difficult for you in the long run.
Don’t Go Overboard
We already touched on this above, but it’s important to go in a little more detail into it. You should never treat loans as a source of easy money, because they’re anything but that. Don’t take out a larger loan than you really need, and make sure that you’re not dipping too deeply into your finances.
This is something we unfortunately see in a large number of people. Once they realize how easy it is to take out a loan, they just get careless about their finances, and end up in deep trouble not too long after that as a result.
Avoid the Situation in the Future
Why did you need to take out a loan in the first place? This is a question not many people bother to ask themselves, and that’s part of the problem. Because paying off the loan is one thing – but avoiding the same situation in the future is what you should really be paying attention to.
There are many factors that can contribute to a bad financial situation, and it can be difficult to account for all of them in your planning. But learning from your past mistakes can take you one extra step towards financial stability, and to never having to worry about yet another unexpected expense. Sometimes it’s about not spending carelessly. Sometimes you don’t realize how postponing a bill can snowball into a much larger payment. In any case, make sure that you learn something from the whole experience, and avoid that situation as best as you can in the long run.