The ability to conveniently make purchases with a credit card now and pay for them over the next few months is truly advantageous. Depending on the specific terms and features of your credit card account, you may benefit from rewards points, an introductory no-interest period, cashback rewards and more. As beneficial as using credit cards can be, they are unfortunately a leading contributor to many people’s debt challenges. By following a few helpful tips, you can control your use of a credit card account while taking advantage of its benefits.
Live Below Your Means
A review of your budget will show you how close you live to your means or if you currently live above your means. In these situations, you may be more likely to dip into credit cards to pay for living expenses, frivolous purchases and more than if you live well below your means. Trim back your lifestyle so that you are less inclined to make unplanned purchases against your account. Remember that carrying a higher account balance directly yields a higher monthly payment. By keeping your account balance low, you maintain control over your budget and keep monthly expenses reined in.
Pay More Than the Minimum
While paying your full account balance off each month is the best idea, your account balance may currently be too large to pay off in a single month. Because a credit card has a revolving term, eliminating the account balance can take an unnecessarily long amount of time if you only make the minimum payment. Each month pay off more of the outstanding balance than you add. Keep in mind that added debt is from interest charges as well as your purchase. If you cannot afford to pay the interest charges, all new expenses plus a bit more for outstanding balance reduction, you should avoid making new charges on the account for a while.
Keep the Available Balance Steady
If you maintain your account in good standing, your credit card provider likely will increase your available credit limit periodically. A $500 credit limit ensures that your outstanding balance never exceeds this threshold. However, your provider may raise the limit to several thousand dollars or more. Often, the account holder does not request a credit increase. He or she simply receives a notice that the credit limit has been increased. This means that you potentially can fall into trouble with debts if you are not careful. A smart idea to avoid temptation is to ask your provider not to raise your credit limit. If you are granted a limit increase, contact your provider to ask for this to be removed.
Making charges to your credit card account is unfortunately too easy. It is simply a matter of choosing between your debit and credit card when you open your wallet to make a purchase. However, paying off the charges can be difficult, and a serious financial situation can develop rapidly. Use these effective tips to manage credit card use responsibly while still taking advantage of the benefits that they provide.