If you have the choice between paying down a small amount of debt, or dealing with a more immediate bill, most of us would choose the latter. That's how small debts become large debts, though. Money in mousetrap image from Shutterstock
As personal finance site Fruclassity explains, most of us don't usually want to deal with our growing debt until it becomes large enough to hurt us. After all, carrying a $1000 credit card debt month to month costs less than a night out to eat each month in interest. Why drop $1000 today if you can just pay the interest and deal with it later? This mindset is what leads to growing debt, however. Which means most people won't deal with their debt until it hurts enough to wake them up:
I don't remember exactly what caused us to take an inward look at our financial selves; I only remember that we had recently charged nearly $US5k onto a credit card for a new snowplow. Something in that purchase triggered us to look in the mirror at our financial selves, and we saw an impending train wreck.
We started to wonder how we would ever survive if Rick got laid off — or if we had the smallest of unexpected expenses. And so began our journey to debt freedom.
Of course, it's understandable why most of us would wait to tackle a large but manageable debt. I've been there, too. However, if you can afford to make the decision to tackle debt early (to be fair, not everyone can), it's far better to do it before it starts to hurt than after.