Do’s and Don’ts of Credit Card Spending
When it comes to credit card use, here are the rules to spend and save by:
Credit card owners know this full well: when it comes to this very powerful tiny piece of plastic, life is fantastic. Hefty expenses, spending while abroad and online shopping, among other things, can be done in a cinch. As for keeping cash on-hand? It’s an issue of the past.
While the credit card has proven time and again that it makes an efficient mode of payment, ownership of such a loaded item comes with great responsibility. For one, it’s easy for first-time owners—and even long-time owners—to get carried away by how easy it is to use. Which is why we need to make sure that we keep our credit card use in check to avoid a bad credit score or worse, debt. Here’s a helpful list to keep you on track when swiping away:
DO: Pick the right card.
It’s important to note that not all credit cards are made the same. Some readily available options include: a rewards card, low interest, balance transfer, and a secured credit card line, so make sure you take the time to choose one that best suits your spending habits and lifestyle.
Remember pick a card according to payment terms, finance charge, and rewards.
DON’T: Swipe if you can’t afford.
With no physical proof to turn to that shows you exactly how much you’ve spent, when and where, money becomes an “out of sight, out of mind” issue. A common pitfall here is that people forget how much they’ve spent until their billing statement finally arrives. Nip the habit in the bud by keeping splurge items off your radar completely…not unless it’s something you’ve saved for beforehand.
Try not to spend more than you can afford as it can lead to paying higher interest or late fees.
DO: Create a budget.
A great way to control your expenses is to create a budget. You should allot money for each category such as for leisure, food, mobile plan, cable or internet subscriptions, and others to know how much you have left for other stuff.
You might be paying a lot for your monthly cable, but you rarely watch. If that’s the case, why not consider cutting it or getting a cheaper subscription elsewhere?
DON’T: Miss your payments.
As with other payments, you all know what happens when you don’t pay your credit card bills on time. There will be an interest or late fee imposed depending on your credit card agreement.
Along the way, your interest can even increase, too, and is something you should avoid at all costs. Save yourself from paying interest fees by setting a reminder on your calendar.
DO: Keep a record.
Take up the habit of collecting receipts and reading your statements thoroughly. Keeping track of your expenses can help you cut down on unnecessary costs, avoid paying for wrong transactions that might not have been made by you and protect you from fraudulent activity that you could encounter.
DON’T: Close old credit cards.
There may come a time where you might consider closing your card early, but put this to a halt. Remember: it’s much better to keep your credit card line open and opt to simply use it less because this is something that will reflect on your credit card history. An active card can mean a longer credit history, which helps improve your score.
These are just six simple do’s and don’ts that can help you use your credit card wisely and get you started. They’re part of the grand end-goal of improving buying habits this year: buying smarter and buying better.