Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Don't Let Credit Debt Control You

Debt. It's not a fun thing. The simple fact of the matter is that it's easier than ever to get stuck behind a mountain of bills. And like a snow covered mountain, at some point the avalanche is going to come tumbling down on your head - unless you do something proactive about it.

What can you do? Other than stopping eating, you can make a budget and get some credit counseling. It's fair to say that this is a happier strategy than the way it was taken care of in the old days: debtor's prison.

Been There, Done That

I found myself in this situation a few years back. After getting laid off from the IT industry, I decided to go into the handyman business. After all, I had the background and many of the needed tools.

I registered my DBA, let the state know I was going to be sending them money in the form of sales tax, bought some tools on credit, and started advertising. I owed Home Depot money for tools and material, and owed the local paper money for a weekly ad in the business card section.

Things slid downhill financially from there on. I hadn't taken into consideration that business in the handyman world didn't work like other businesses. It's unregulated, staffed by folks that don't collect or pay taxes.

Bottom line? I ended up living on a tight budget, not using any more credit, and finding other sources of income. But the upside is that I learned a lot about managing my finances.

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