Every week, millions of Americans may make significant efforts to save as much money as they can, whether it's so that they can build an emergency fund or potentially help them deal with their outstanding balances. However, there are often major impediments to those efforts, and just learning what some of them are can go a long way toward helping to avoid them.
One of the biggest issues most people run into is that they're not keeping diligent track of all their incomes and expenditures, according to a report from USA Today. That could lead them to spend a little more than they might think they have, or not fully realize how much money they have coming in, and therefore fail to properly plan to save appropriately. Likewise, those who think they need to save but continue to spend on things they don't necessarily need may find it a little harder to reach the goals they've set for themselves.
Where debt can stand in the way
Meanwhile, many people can't achieve their savings goals simply because of how much debt they have in the first place, the report said. For this reason, it might be wiser for them to first focus on the ways in which they can reduce their balances as quickly as possible so that their longer-term financial goals can be met more easily.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this is figuring out which balance has the highest interest rate, because that's the one that's building debt more quickly than all the others. If that can be reduced to a more reasonable size – both by discontinuing spending on that account and making payments of more than the minimum each month – in short order, then consumers might be in a better position when it comes to having a little more money to spend each month. This is also going to be true when it comes to cutting debts to levels as low as they can go.
There's another practical benefit of cutting credit card debt: Improving one's credit score overall. Payment history plus the amount a person owes versus what their combined credit limits are make up a full 65 percent of a person's credit score. By improving these two aspects of their financial lives, consumers may be able to put themselves on a more solid foundation going forward.