Debt traps:

The Hidden Expenses Business Dictionary defines debt trap as “An incentive structure that lures individuals into accepting long-term debt obligations under conditions that strongly favor the lender. Victims of debt traps are often prevented from discharging the debt through techniques such as unusually high or variable interest rates, changing payment plans, and unreasonably high penalties for late payments.”

In simpler words, debt trap is a scenario where the debt becomes impossible to pay due to high interests’ payable making it difficult to be paid, thus becoming a trap.

Avoiding a Possible Debt Trap

There are still days left before the month ends? Where did all the money go? There are times when we are left with little or no savings because we spent too much on expenses that we didn’t plan in advance or realize while spending from our monthly budgets. This is when we start relying on credit cards, loans; money-borrowing from friend without realizing we are slowly moving towards a debt trap.

Irregular Expenses (miscellaneous): Irregular expenses are regular expenses that are often forgotten. These may be the reason why you have an infuriating urge to tear down your monthly budget list into pieces as you fall short of money while on a budget. But what did you miss?

• Gifts: Birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, etc

• Fees: Gym membership, occasional public transport fee, home supplies, etc

• Tax estimates •

Pet expenses

• Lawn maintenance

• Contributions: charity, fundraising Unexpected Expenses (emergency savings): Self explanatory, these are the expenses incurred on emergency basis. You fall, you are taken to the hospital, and the bills and prescriptions payable are unexpected liabilities. Obviously you didn’t plan on incurring these costs.

These may include:

• Vehicle Insurance claims, warranties

• Home insurance

• Repairs: Home, vehicle, appliances etc

• Job lay-off

• Accidents etc

Ideal Budget Planning

The simplest of expenses can be stressful. Your husband invited his boss for dinner; your daughter wants a new uniform for school; your pet falls sick. Irregular expense is always there in the back of your mind. You know that in the next three months your car insurance is due. However we often forget these tid bits. On the other hand, you cannot at any cost avoid the emergency expenses.

Weekly budgets are also a useful tool for planning short term goals. Assign what expenses are to be incurred in the following week and try to save as much as you can on things that are not priority-oriented. This way, you will have money saved up in a piggy bank or a cabinet in your kitchen for emergency or miscellaneous expenses. Now, if any emergency expenses incur, you have enough saved up.Once the month ends, make sure to analyze where most of the expenses went and how much you saved.

So how is budgeting helping me avoid a debt trap?

Let’s say you want to go out for a movie, a ‘miscellaneous expense’. No need to rely on credits cards and worry about the interest rates or payday loans. You will have the money you saved and be free from going into debt. Also, you will feel a noticeable reduction in your stress levels once the money worry leaves your mind.