Thoughts on the Real Life

Using Credit Cards Wisely

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I’ve had my credit card for almost 6 months now, and it’s a great feeling to know that I’ve used it wisely enough to not have to pay a dime in interest so far. The only way to do this is to pay the balance off every month. And so I have. But here comes my admission:

It’s not only wise to pay off your credit card every month but it’s wise to not put more on there then you can realistically handle for that month without having to cut other things in your budget.

The reason I bring this up is because though I’ve paid off my card every month I’ve had to forgo a few of my payments to myself (aka: savings) in order to make sure I didn’t receive any finance charges. Of course, it was worth it to me since I already had some saved up to go ahead and pay off the card but at the same time I wish I wouldn’t have put so much on there. Was it too much to handle? No. But then again, it was! Because I wasn’t able to do the thing I want to do the most for a few weeks: pay myself!

But as of today I’m back in the game. My credit card balance is back to 0, still no finance charges, and I am ready to pay myself first when my next paycheck comes in. It will be a nice feeling to see my emergency fund start to build.

Obviously, my position is GREAT compared to some but I try not to compare myself to others. I compare myself to well, myself and the goals and position I’d like to be in. And for a little bit there I was falling short of that.

So here’s to using credit cards wisely:

1. Pay off the balance in full every month. I know, it’s said over and over and I’ll say it again. If you don’t have the money–don’t buy it!

2. Put a plan in place. If you don’t have a plan in place, you need to get one! Decide on what you are going to use your credit card for. Is it for gas? Is it for all your expenses? Is it just for special times like vacations or other trips? Whatever it is, keep it simple and stick with it.

3. Watch little expenses. Depending upon your plan, it’s still easy to put things on your credit card without thinking twice. I realized 2 months ago that the majority of my balance (which wasn’t much but still…) was food. Food?? Why didn’t I just pay that with my debit card or cash? I don’t know the answer to that but I wish I wouldn’t have. It’s just unnecessary stuff and definitely out of my “plan.” =)

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