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Make Your Credit Cards Work For You

Mar 15, 2008
Convenience is the name of the game these days. Most people have credit cards so they can easily pay for their bills and things they want to buy. For these people, convenience is identical to swiping their cards.

Credit cards have made it now optional to carry cash. This greatly reduces the risk of getting held up as you are on your way to shop. It also speeds up things at the counter because you do not have to count out bills and coins anymore. By charging your water, phone and electricity bills to your credit cards, you also avoid having to line up at the payment centers just to settle bills.

These conveniences bring you benefits but there are also drawbacks to using credit cards. Poor management on your part can lead to more unplanned purchases that you cannot pay anymore. Sooner or later, you end up just being able to pay the interest charges and so your outstanding balance never seems to get smaller!

You can sidestep this trap by being credit card savvy. The tips below can help you take better control of your credit cards.

Always review your credit card statement. Check the entries and see if you truly made the purchases listed. Keep your store receipts so you can go back on them and compare the amounts charged to you. Be on guard against billing errors and report them immediately.

Study your purchases. Admit to yourself if they were merely for luxuries you simply could not afford but failed to resist buying. Make a resolution to think first before buying next time you go shopping so your purchases will be limited to the necessities.

Compare credit cards. Study the terms and conditions of other credit card companies and see if they offer lower membership fees and finance charges. If you have a huge outstanding balance, then check if there are balance transfer promotions being offered by other card companies. Here, you can move your outstanding bills to the new credit card company and pay for them longer with lower interest charges.

Reduce the cards in your wallet. They may look nice and give you a feeling of security but having too many cards have its pitfalls. It encourages you to purchase more since you can always swipe one card after another. Soon, you will not be able to make sense out of all your credit card bills. Keep in mind that in the case of credit cards less would definitely mean more.

Make timely payments. Note on your calendar the payment date for your credit card bills and pay them on time. This helps you to avoid penalty charges. If possible, pay the total amount due in full so that you do not incur additional interest charges. This habit will also reflect on your credit record and improve your credit rating.

Managing your credit card can be simple and convenient too. Just remember never to bite off more than you can chew.
About the Author
For more information on how family budget and how to spend wisely, visit
http://www.familybudgetguide.com"
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