22 trillion. That’s how many dollars the United States of America owes to world powers such as China. Debt can be a worrisome four-letter word, not just for the country as a whole, but for its independent cogs and gears as well. While the average American doesn’t owe $22 trillion of their own cash, debt is still a reality for many. Below are four ways debt can accumulate. Do you recognize any of these in your own life?

Credit cards

Plastic beats paper in the world of transactions; over the past several years, cash payments have increasingly given way to credit and debit card charges. And, while 90 percent of consumers still use cash for some purchases, the age of credit card swiping and chip reading draws closer. However, credit cards make it easier for consumers to purchase items, sans the lighter wallet. Credit card debt has steadily risen over the past five years, and it can be easy to fall down a rabbit hole of debt if paying by card is your preferred method of shopping.

Poor spending habits

We’ve all splurged on a snack at the grocery store or a newly-released book. While the occasional treat is fine, purchasing a treat every day is a red flag. Poor spending habits are easy to fall into and difficult to climb out of, particularly if you aren’t the only member of the household struggling to save. Taking time to learn how to manage money is vital for anyone who wants to avoid falling into debt. In fact, creating a personal spending rulebook can help you and your household members understand the impulses behind your spending and ways to avoid personal debt.

Gambling

Any casino from NYC to Vegas employs psychological and mathematical tactics to take your money. From the absence of windows and clocks to lengthy slot machine algorithms, casinos are practically vacuums for your wallet. Gambling disorder is officially recognized by the DSM-5 as a psychiatric concern, and the impact it has on one’s money is no joke. Avoiding the casino is a sure-fire way to not waste your money, and there are plenty of free ways to have fun.

Loans

From student loans to mortgages, this type of debt is often the least controllable. While one can practice appropriate spending and avoid gambling or credit card usage, loans are often necessary to move forward in life. In this case, the best strategy is to stay on top of the debt and follow a strict regime for saving up to pay them off.