Landed your first job? Well, it does come with some financial independence. You might get excited about those extra dollars and a shiny new credit card. While a credit card is of great use for essential requirements, it could lead you down a slippery slope with thousands of dollars of debt if not managed well. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you use credit cards to your benefit.
- Don’t spend more than you earn/save
This is the most basic yet the most important tip to avoid credit card debt. Contrary to popular belief, credit cards are not a source of free money. Make sure you have a fixed spending budget every month. If you overshoot the budget, then you should avoid using your credit card.
- Avoid cash withdrawals
Credit card companies charge you more interest on cash withdrawals than they do on credit purchases. Hence, it is advisable to avoid any and all cash withdrawals from your credit cards and save those points for emergency situations only.
- Leave credit cards at home
If you find yourself making spontaneous and unnecessary purchases on your credit card on a whim, it would be good to leave your credit card at home in a safe place. This will save you from making impulsive purchases and help you be mindful of your spending habits.
- Keep a low debt-to-credit ratio
When you eventually start using your credit card regularly, be sure to keep your credit utilization at a minimum and just up to a limit. This will help you pay off your credit card debt comfortably.
- Pay on time
Make sure you pay your credit card bills on time, preferably a little higher than the minimum balance due, if possible. The minimum balance due on your credit card bills is usually equivalent to the amount of interest incurred on your credit balance. In order to avoid getting stuck in a loop of just paying interest every month due to late payments, ensure that your credit card bills are paid on time.
- Limit the number of credit cards you have
This is a crucial tip when it comes to managing credit cards and avoiding debt. If you are a newbie in the world of finance and credit, having multiple credit cards increases your chances of falling into credit card debt.
Credit cards are a two- way street. On the one hand, they can help you improve your credit score and leave extra credit in your hand for emergencies. But on the other hand, it has the potential to draw a substantial amount of debt if handled poorly.