It’s no secret that reality sets in after the Holiday Season and if you’ve used your credit card and spent more than you actually have coming in to make your minimum payments, you will experience a backlash.
According to a 2017 study by WalletHub (https://wallethub.com/edu/credit-card-debt-study/24400/), “2017 will end with more than $50 billion in new credit card debt. That would mean we’d owe over $1 trillion in credit card debt overall.”
Of course, it’s the credit card debt along with late payments or no payments that are causing credit scores of consumers to plummet to record lows.
Below are 4 tips to better manage your credit:
- Plan Ahead. When you plan and set your budget and know exactly your spending limit, it causes you to think twice before spending over the budget. When setting your budget, it’s important to know what expenses are priority (rent, mortgage, insurance, car, food etc.) and the amount left after those expenses have been deducted. This is going to give you the amount that you are working with. It’s only then that you can determine what fits your budget.
- Practice the 30% Rule! Only use 30% of your credit card limit on each card that you have. If your card limit was $1000 then you would only have $300 available to you. Charge up to the limit or going over the 30% rule can cause your credit score to go down by several points. Now, just imagine if you have more than 1 credit card as most consumers do, you can see how your score can easily be impacted. Using over that amount can often be an indication that you’re struggling financially. If you need to use your card for vacation or big purchase that would cause you to go over the limit, it’s best to ask your creditor for an increase to accommodate the purchase and keep you at your 30% limit.
- Set Aside Cash for Emergencies. Let’s face it, emergencies do and will happen from time to time. If you have a savings account established specifically to handle such things, it will prevent you from going into debt by using your credit cards.
- Use But Don’t Abuse. Credit cards are convenient and it’s easy to get into the habit of using them for all of your purchases. However this can cause a false feeling that you have more money that you actually have. Take your cards out of your purse or wallet and keep them in a safe place at home. Plan your purchases and make sure that you can quickly pay the amount that you charged back. If you prefer to use a card rather than keep cash on hand then use a bank debit card instead.
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