Credit cards are great…. if used responsibly! It is very
easy to get into a habit of using a credit card to buy things you want, but
that you cannot afford. When you get your bill, the credit card company tells
you the minimum that you must pay to stay in good standing, and it is very
tempting to only pay the minimum. But if you do, keep in mind that the
remaining of the money that you have charged is still your responsibility. Not
only that, but the company will also tack on an interest fee that you will have
to pay for “borrowing” their money to pay for the things that you
have purchased. Before you know it, you may be in over your head with credit
card debt that is more than your annual salary!
It is very common for college students to get in over their heads with credit
card debt. Credit card companies visit campuses across America each day and
give away T-shirts and other promotional items simply for signing up for a
credit card. Try not to fall into this trap, because that “free” item
can land you in lots of debt that can take years for you to pay off!
Another group that often gets bogged down in credit card debt is single
parents, or parents with a single income. Children are expensive, and it is
tempting to spend more than you can afford when taking care of a child. Each
dollar you spend on a credit card will ultimately be your responsibility, and
it only grows over time with interest charges and fees.
To avoid credit card debt, here are a few tips. Pay off the balance each month
to avoid fees and interest charges. Use the card sparingly and only buy things
that you know you can afford with the money that you have today, not the money
you will make next month or some other time in the future. Keep track of your
charges by either visiting the credit card’s online site or by treating it as
if it is a checking account and writing down all of your charges. If you know
when you are approaching the limits of your monthly income, plan accordingly
and try not to charge more money. Good luck in avoiding these pitfalls!
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