Since Diners Club released the first credit card in 1951, our nation has been rapidly evolving into a pay-by-card society. With the swipe of a card you could buy a car, a house, a vacation, an experience. No longer was there a constant need for cash. After an increase in the unemployment rate in 2008, credit cards grew even more in popularity. In fact over 86% of citizens who were unemployed in the last year now have credit cards.
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While having “money” on hand is frequently convenient, overusing your credit card can be a slippery slope into some serious debt. Out of a collected $11.85 trillion in American debt, more that $890.9 billion is credited to credit card debt. Striking statistics like this highlight the chronic use of credit cards by Americans. Even if there is no money to spend, cards will keep getting swiped.
Avoid slipping into debt by using your credit card less.
Here are 6 easy tips to help:
1. Carry More Cash
Make an effort to carry more cash. Not only will this help you buy only what you can afford, but it’s also one of the best ways to prevent overusing your credit card.
2. Leave Cards At Home on Sprees
Leave your credit cards at home when going on a shopping spree. Take a certain amount of cash and spend only that. This will help you budget your money and you’ll have to use some self-restraint when reaching for the clothes rack.
3. Use Your Debit Card
With a debit card, you won’t have to face paying the bills after a spending fest. Like cash, your card contains an allotted amount of money, and many cards will be declined once you’ve reached that limit.
4. Budget Wisely
Keep a spending log and collect receipts for two consecutive months. Separate your spending into individual categories like entertainment, food, gas, etc. Combine this with your monthly bills to achieve a full understanding of how much you spend for a month. There are awesome tools like Mint that help you see all your balances and transactions together. Mint automatically pulls all your financial information into one place, so you can get the entire picture. Wall Street Survivor offers an awesome “Managing My Life 101” course that’s sure to help with building a sustainable budget.
5. Limit Your Cards
The average American owns four credit cards. Though having several cards is good for building your credit score, it can also put you at a greater risk of debt if you can’t keep up with all the payments. While owning four cards is considered common, if you own more than 10 you should consider downsizing.
6. Find Better Bargains
If you’re considering charging something to your credit card, think about shopping around first. See if you can find something that fits your payable budget- or something that requires cash to immediately finance.
Other tips to consider when reducing your credit card spending are:
- Avoid cash advances
- Be aware of credit card debt and know the signs
- Make accurate payments
- Avoid transferring funds
- Consult with a credit card repair company.
- Understand the Terms and Conditions of your card
To learn more, head over to Wall Street Survivor.