Tips for Keeping Your Credit Card Bill under Control

Many families struggle on a monthly basis to keep their credit card bills from getting out of hand.  This is oftentimes caused by numerous small credit card purchases that just roll up to a much larger balance than expected or by larger purchases that were discretionary.  One key to not overusing your credit card is to have at least a reasonable idea of your monthly budget, which means knowing how much you can spend on a monthly basis for typical expenditures.

In the past decade families living in the United States have become more and more of a “plastic” society, meaning many people don’t carry much cash on them and instead use credit cards for many more types of purchases than they would have in the previous decade.  For example, it is not unusual at all to see people using a credit card in a fast food restaurant or even for the purchase of a cup of coffee.  If you having difficulty keeping control of your credit card expenditures, one counter intuitive method that can help is to budget on a weekly basis how much you can afford to spend on day to day items, carry that much cash with you to start the week, and then do not charge those small day to day purchases on your credit card at all.  I do recommend using your credit card for more medium to larger purchase such as filling up your gas tank or buying groceries on a weekly basis, especially because you can oftentimes earn cash back on these types of purchases, depending on your credit card.

The main advantages of paying for these day to day smaller items in cash is that you will literally “feel” the money pass through hands when you make these small purchases, and as the end of the week draws near you will have a visual cue (your wallet is nearly out of money) as to whether you can afford that extra candy bar or latte’.  On the contrary, if you buy those small day to day items with your credit card, it just doesn’t feel like you are spending real money and it can become virtually impossible to know where you stand on your expenditures for the month until the credit card bill comes in, which is obviously too late.

Families that continue to have ongoing problems with keeping your credit card spending under control can take the more drastic step of using debit cards instead of credit cardsFeature Articles, however they should be aware that some banks are now charging more fees associated with debit cards.

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