Credit cards can be a wonderful financial tool that enables us to make online purchases or buy things that we wouldn’t otherwise have the cash on hand for. Smart consumers know how to best use credit cards without getting in too deep, but everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and that’s really easy to do with credit cards. Keep reading for some solid advice on how to best use your credit cards.
Do not use your credit cards to make emergency purchases. Many people believe that this is the best use of credit cards, but the best use is actually for things that you purchase on a regular basis, like groceries. The key is, to only charge things that you will be able to pay back in a timely manner.
Don’t consider opening a store credit card unless you plan to make purchases at the store on a regular basis. When a retail store inserts an inquiry onto your credit in order to qualify you for a card, this is recorded onto your credit report regardless of whether you actually open up the card. If you have too many inquiries from stores, this can negatively affect your credit score.
An important aspect of smart credit card usage is to pay the entire outstanding balance, each and every month, whenever possible. By keeping your usage percentage low, you will help keep your overall credit score high, as well as, keep a substantial amount of available credit open for use in case of emergencies.
Before you decide on a new credit card, be careful to read the fine print. Credit card companies have been in business for many years now, and know of ways to make more money at your expense. Be sure to read the contract in full, before signing to be sure that you are not agreeing to something that will harm you in the future.
Always make timely credit card payments. Every bill you receive will have a due date and failing to pay by then will result in penalties and costly fees. Additionally, most companies will increase the interest rate on your credit card, which means an increase in the cost of every purchase you put on that card thereafter.
Only take cash advances from your credit card when you absolutely have to. The finance charges for cash advances are very high, and very difficult to pay off. Only use them for situations in which you have no other option. But you must truly feel that you will be able to make considerable payments on your credit card, soon after.
Whenever you are considering a new credit card, you should always avoid applying for credit cards that have high interest rates. While interest rates compounded annually may not seem all that much, it is important to note that this interest can add up, and add up fast. Make sure you get a card with reasonable interest rates.
Anyone who is in the market for new credit cards is wise to look for cards with no annual fee and low interest rates. With such a large number of cards that offer no annual fee, it is pointless to get a card that does require one.
It is best to stay away from charging holiday gifts and other holiday-related expenditures. If you can’t afford it, either save to buy what you want or just buy less-expensive gifts. Your best friends and relatives will understand that you are on a budget. You can always ask ahead of time for a limit on gift amounts or draw names. The bonus is that you won’t be spending the next year paying for this year’s Christmas!
Avoid charging things like groceries or restaurant tabs on your credit card as these can take a while to appear on your monthly statement, which means possibly underestimation the balance you really have available to you. You can end up spending more since you will think your balance is lower than it actually is.
Make a spending plan. When carrying a credit card on you and shopping without a plan, you have a higher chance of impulse buying or overspending. To avoid this, try planning out your shopping trips. Make lists of what you plan to buy, then decide on a charging limit. This plan will keep on track and help you resist splurging.
Find out if the interest rate on a new card is the regular rate, or if it is offered as part of a promotion. Many people do not realize that the rate that they see at first is promotional, and that the real interest rate may be a significant amount more than that.
If you open a credit card that is secured, you may find it easier to get a credit card that is unsecured once you have proven your ability to handle credit well. You may also find that you start receiving mail offers for credit cards. At this point you will have to start to make decisions as to what cards you would like to sign up for.
Try not to use credit cards for everyday purchases such as groceries, gas, and clothing. These are things you will most likely need again, before you can pay the balance off. You will end up with a pile of credit card debt that will keep on growing. When you need these types of items, leave your credit cards at home.
As stated previously, credit cards can be quite useful, but they can also hurt us when we don’t use them right. Hopefully, this article has given you some sensible advice and useful tips on the best way to use your credit cards and manage your financial future, with as few mistakes as possible!