One of the most difficult aspects of living in a market-driven society like ours is knowing when what you already have is good enough. Everywhere you look there are signs telling you it isn’t. Whatever you have, there’s always something better, faster or prettier. No matter how wonderful it is, an “-er” can always be applied to it.

No wonder then the vast majority of Americans are in debt. However, debt doesn’t just happen by accident or coincidence—in many cases, debt is something people do to themselves.

Which is how these spending habits lead to debt.

1. Spending More Than You Earn

Sounds like a no-brainer right? But it’s amazing how many people don’t see the correlation. It’s way too easy to buy things on credit. This works fine for a while, but the piper comes for payment eventually.

That’s when people come to the realization that spending more than you earn is a dead end street. Eventually, you’ll tap out all of your sources and the joy of acquisition will turn into the pain of repayment.

2. Abusing Credit

While this is an offshoot of number one above, it’s somewhat different in that credit can also be used in beneficial ways. Simply put, you can use credit to make money or you can use credit to make purchases. If you use it to make money, you’ll always be able to make purchases. But if you use it to make purchases, using credit to make money becomes difficult.

You can also use credit cards to get frequent flyer miles and rewards and come ahead—as long as you pay your balance off each month. Sadly though, most people do not.

3, Borrowing from Peter to Pay Paul

So, you’ve found yourself in trouble and you can’t make your credit card payments. But, you do have a card left against which you can get cash advances to pay those bills until you get back on your feet.

Don’t do it. That’s like diving headfirst into a pool of quicksand.

You’ll only making your debts bigger when you transfer them from one creditor to another. First of all, the interest charge on a cash advance is significantly greater than on a purchase. Plus, since you’re using the advance to pay off an existing balance, you’re invariably adding interest payments to interest payments—to which interest payments have probably already been added.

If this ever looks like a viable tactic to you, get in touch with a company such as Freedom Debt Relief right away. These firms could help you find a better strategy to get debt under control.

4. Using Credit Instead of Cash

While there are a number of valid arguments for keeping a portion of your assets liquid, if you’re making discretionary purchases with credit cards—when you have the cash in your pocket—you’re setting yourself up to pay more than you should. After all, interest payments will come due on those transactions if you don’t pay them off each month.

5. Treating Yourself

You work hard you tell yourself. Every day, you put up with all sorts of crap just to make a living. Meanwhile everyone around you is getting what they want but you aren’t. Why shouldn’t you have something nice for yourself for a change?

You’ve got room on a card, so you go ahead and charge it.

The problem is that becomes an easy path to go down again and again and again once you blaze it. Save up for your treats. You’ll feel a lot better when you get them, knowing you worked a plan to put it them your hands.

Plus, the splurge will be bought and paid for and nobody can take it away.

That’s how you should go about treating yourself.