Debt usually doesn’t break down the door all at once. Instead, it creeps in with one expense here and another purchase there. Before you know it, you’re drowning in debt. Or maybe you still don’t realize it.

American households shared a record $13.21 trillion in debt last year, and that number didn’t pop up overnight. You may be complacent since you’re putting some money toward your debt, but if you’re struggling to make ends meet, the problem could be found in your deficits.

Slipping up

Once you’re going under, it can be hard to see where the lines are. Looking for the signs of unmanageable debt can be a good way to tell if you need some course correction:

  • Unbalanced sheets: If your debt is growing, and your savings aren’t, you might be heading backward. Even just making your monthly minimum will probably hurt you in the long run due to interest. Ever-growing debt generally isn’t sustainable, and you’ll probably have to figure out a plan soon.
  • Debtors calling: When the phone is ringing off the hook because of collectors, then you could be talking about a troublesome amount of debt. There is some legal recourse in getting your phone to stay quiet for a while, but it won’t likely do anything about your owed sums.
  • Cash advances: Cash advances from lenders can come with enormous expenses that come in the form of fees and interest rates. If you’re constantly heading back to this well time and time again, you’re likely costing yourself a lot of money. If this is your go-to move, then you might be looking at a bigger issue.

Debt can sneak into your life and take control before you know it. Looking for the signs that you’re heading in the wrong direction could be the first step toward finding the answers you need.