A few days ago I wrote a post about how there are actually good credit cards, and if used responsibly they can be a great financial tool. I thought it would be good write an article about how to be responsible with credit cards in order to take advantage of them.
I have used a credit card for years to pay my monthly expenses, but I have always paid the balance in full each month. There are hundreds of credit cards available today and each offer something special for using their cards. If you have good credit you can get gift cards, free air miles, free hotel stays, and other items just for signing up. The days of a free t-shirt or poster are over, credit card companies offer much better temptations. However, you have to realize they are giving this stuff away for a reason, they are still making plenty of money. The trick is to be one of those responsible users in order to take advantage of the credit card companies.
The first step of using credit cards responsibly is to not spend money that you don’t have. Don’t plan on buying big items that you know you won’t be able to pay for when the bill comes. Credit cards are a very convenient way of paying for everything as long as you only use them for properly.
Second, pay your bill on time. Credit cards always carry harsh penalties and fees if you are even one day late paying the bill. You will probably see at least a $25 to $30 late fee for being one day late. Also don’t think you can call in a payment the day it is due without paying a hefty fine. Keep a calendar or schedule of when all your bills are due and check up on it daily. Paying your bill on time will save you some cash.
Finally, don’t choose a credit card that carries an annual fee to use. Most of the time the advantages that these companies try to offer won’t be worth the annual fee. There are hundreds of credit card companies willing to pay you to take their card so why pay them?
Just like anything else in life use credit cards responsible and they can be rewarding. Don’t get caught up in the spending spree spending more money that you have. Always pay your bill on time and never pay to use a credit card. Follow the rules and be responsible, credit cards can be rewarding!