YOU will not just wake up one day and suddenly find yourself drowning in debt.

No, it’s all those little bad money habits that pile up and lead you there.

Lillian Gatjen, a credit advisor from Marope Credit Solutions in Joburg, told SunMoney what you should watch out for when trying to budget.

“Every day I work to get people on a programme that can let them dig themselves out of the debt trap.”

Here are her financial tips.

- Do not wait for your house or car to be repossessed before you reach out for help. Seek help immediately.

- Try to stick to one budget that suits your income when you are doing monthly expenditure.

- Pay with cash. Cards generally blind you to how much you are spending.

- Just because you can get it with credit does not mean you can afford it.

“Through debt consolidation, over-indebted people regain their financial freedom and avoid losing their possessions.”

While the politics of the country is promising, there is a big concern around the economics of the new 15% VAT rate.

“You will feel the financial burden and the temptation will be to turn to credit to keep up their lifestyles. 

“That is where the debt problems kick in.”

For more information on debt consolidation, email or