In this modern time where the economy has been such a challenge for everyday people like you and me to keep up, it’s easy to get into credit trouble when your credit bills begin to stack up. So if you are in the position to just start learning the ropes of the world of credit cards, there are a lot of things you can do to avoid credit card debt before it sneaks up on you and keep your nose clean, as they say.
This is an outstanding goal for you if you are just getting your first credit cards. If you know or talk to anyone who is battling tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt, you know what a jail sentence it can be. Once that credit card debt gets that high, the time it will take even under the best of conditions to bring it down runs into the years if not decades. And for all that time, thousands of dollars of money goes down the drain to credit interest that doesn’t buy you any food, tickets to the movies or new clothes. It just goes away with no value to you at all.
But if you are new to the world of credit, getting a credit card is a good thing. But once you get one, keeping it under control is job one. You will find it amazingly easy to use a credit card once it comes. In fact, the retail world makes it difficult to conduct transactions any other way. You can pay for gas at the pump that way and even charge your groceries at the grocery store. And while all of these great uses for credit are helpful, you can end up with a whopper of a credit card bill at the end of the month. And if you don’t pay that bill off, that is the first step on a lifelong jail term in credit card debt jail.
So there are some guidelines you should follow to both use credit responsibly but also to keep building your credit rating which has a real value to you. Remember that what the credit card companies don’t tell you is that making a charge on a credit card is a loan. Even if you just charge ten bucks to go to the movies, you took out an unsecured loan to finance that movie ticket.
So once you start using a credit card, keep in mind that you will be paying back everything you run up on it. It is NOT free money. A good practice is to save every receipt every month and keep a running tally of what you have spent on credit. Now only can you use that to cross check your credit card, it keeps you honest because each time you add a charge to your credit card, you can update your tally so you know for certain that you will be able to pay it off when the bill comes.
Paying off the credit card each month is the number one best way to keep your credit problems under control. Now it isn’t a bad idea to let a little bit of the debt drift from month to month. This builds your credit history and credit rating which will pay you well down the road when you want to buy a larger purchase. But by staying on top of your credit and what is going onto your card, you will start out with the kind of habits that will lead to a life of good credit use without credit card jail. And that is a wonderful gift to give yourself early in life.