We can never be too careful when it comes to using credit cards. I have shared 10 Bad Credit Card Habits and How to Avoid Them, and 4 Good Reasons You Should be Using Credit Cards. So now that you know the good and bad, here are 10 awesome tips to using them the right way!
Tip#1- Be aware
Always know the balance of your credit card, and where you are at with your finances. This shows financial responsibility which is crucial in owning a credit card. This way you will never be surprised by an over due balance. It also protects you against CC theft…if you are constantly aware then you will know immediately if a charge goes onto your card that you did not make.
Tip #2- Pay off your balance every month
There are sometimes emergency situations where we have to charge our credit card with money we may not have…like medical bills for example. Besides those extreme cases you should not ever charge the card if you do not have the money to pay it off at the end of the month. This is where the trap of credit card debt, and ever rising interest happens.
Tip #3- Never miss a due date
There are a few things that you can do to help you with this one….if your due date comes on a bad day of the month then switch it! Maybe to the day after you get paid, or another day that works better for you. Another option is setting up automatic pay..now you only want to do this if you know you will have money in the account that is paying it off otherwise you’ll get charged overdraft fees. Figure out whatever you need to to make sure you get that payment in on time!
Tip #4- Be aware of your own limits
You don’t have to tempt yourself if you know that it will be difficult to make the right decision. Just because you can have a $10,000 limit on your credit card doesn’t mean that you have to! If keeping it small is better for you then do that! If it’s hard not to charge random “wants” then don’t carry it around with you all the time. I don’t know what your limits are, but you do. Having them isn’t a bad thing…..ignoring them is! So find ways to use your credit cards according to your limits and what works for you.
Tip #5- Pay off debt
It’s an unfortunate reality that a good portion of you reading this have some sort of debt, that doesn’t mean you are a horrible irresponsible person, it just means you should have a goal to pay it off! Try to pay more than just the minimum monthly payment, but make sure that you are at least paying that. I know it seems like a never ending road to be debt free, but I promise you can get there…set a goal, and make realistic plans that may need some sacrifice, but it will be well worth it!
Tip #6- Find a rewards card
There are lots of them out there, so figure out which one is best for you. It’s okay to have more than one, but be aware of signing up for too many credit cards. Rewards cards often have super high interest rates, so be sure to use them only if you pay off the balance each month. If you are smart though, they can really pay off and earn you free stuff!
Tip #7- Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
This will help your credit score go up. For example if you have a $1,000 credit card limit then you shouldn’t exceed a balance of about $300. This applies to all of your credit as a whole though…it’s not for each card…so if you have 3 credit cards with a total limit of $10,000 and you have a balance of $3,000 but it’s all on one card….that’s okay because it’s still only 30% of your available credit.
Tip #8- Learn about card benefits
Most credit cards have benefits that you don’t know about, so research the cards you have and find out what they are and use them to your advantage!
Tip #9- Use it to benefit your budget
Use your card for all of your purchases throughout the month, this way you can track all of your expenses and know exactly where all your money has gone. This is only a good idea if you know that you can stick to your budget and spend only what you are supposed to so that you have enough to pay it off each month.
Tip #10- Be aware of hidden fees
This goes for all fees associated with your credit card, but I want you to especially focus on this when traveling outside the country. Find out if you are going to be charged extra fees each time you swipe your card and what they are for. Don’t just assume that every credit card will work the same, do your homework and make sure that YOU are the one in charge NOT the credit card company.