Paid Off Your Credit Card? Here Are 6 Tips to Keeping It Paid Off
Responsible use of a credit card grants you a grace period of paying for your purchases without interest, if you pay off the full balance every month. However, many people find it difficult to deal with the temptation and convenience credit cards provide. Credit cards offer great convenience, however studies show that consumers spend more on daily purchases from their favorite fast food restaurant to online purchasing. Using a credit card and building up a balance can start out slowly.
As time passes, the balance increases month after month until you are in denial. If, in the past, you paid only the minimum due on your credit card each month or cut back on nearly everything to get your credit card paid off, you know how long it takes to see your balance decline. The elation felt from paying off a long-running debt is a feeling you don't want to ruin by getting back into the situation that caused so much financial distress the first time around.
- Create a Realistic Budget - Sit down with your spouse (or yourself) and have an honest discussion about your monthly expenses, both needs and wants so you can avoid using your credit card in the future.
- Leave Your Credit Card at Home - When you know you are heading out to a store, whether grocery store, electronics super store, or anyplace that accepts credit cards, remove the credit card from your wallet or purse. When you get home, you will feel so much better knowing that you did not increase your debt.
- Buy Used Items - When there is something you "must have" and feel tempted to just charge it to get it now, first check online sites, like eBay, to see if you can get it used or remanufactured at a significant discount, allowing you to pay cash (or debit card).
- Use Your Credit Union Debit Card Online - Don't use online purchasing as a reason to use a credit card. Replace your default card in your favorite online shops with your credit union debit card information. You will think twice before clicking the "Complete Order" button.
- Be Careful of Sales - Just because something is on sale is not a good reason to build up your credit card balance. If you can't pay it off, the interest charges will likely offset any sale price. Also, if you start adding a balance to your credit card it will be easier the next time you are at the store to "add a little more." Before you know it, your credit card will be maxed out again.
- Close the Credit Card - If you are simply unable to control your spending behavior, close the credit card. While this may seem like an obvious first choice, be aware of the inconveniences of having no credit card can cause. Renting cars are easier with credit cards. Also, credit cards can become invaluable during an emergency situation where you absolutely need funds, like unexpected car repairs or medical emergencies.
Not that we should have to mention, but if you only keep one credit card, be sure it is a credit union credit card!
by Staff Writer
Published June 14, 2010