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Don't Let Credit Card Debt Bury You

Mar 17, 2008
If you have credit cards, it's much too easy to get in over your head. Each small charge can add up into a huge debt. This is especially true if you have more than one card. So, take charge of your credit card debt before it buries you.

You may have had credit cards for a while so are already in trouble. Some people have tens of thousands of dollars charged that they don't even know what was purchased with it. This is where a good record keeping comes in. Knowing how much charged and what it was for will help you keep a handle on your expenses. Even if it's only writing it down in a small notebook, it will help you keep the charges down because you can see exactly what you are spending.

It may help to remember that when you are charging something on your credit card, you are taking out a loan. Do you really want to take a loan out on a Big Mac?

Keeping control of credit card charges is one of the most import aspects of personal finance. Of course, the retail stores and credit card companies will tempt you otherwise. You can even charge your groceries at the market these days. If you can't pay your entire bill at the end of the month, you may already be in trouble.

Here are some guidelines that you should follow in order to use credit responsibly and not ruin your credit rating.

1. Save each and every receipt that you get for every single charge. At least if you keep the receipt, you can look back and see where you spent your money. Yes, a "charge" is money!

2. Don't let your credit card balance go over an amount that you can pay off within two months. This way, you can still build your credit history and credit rating, but not get in over your head. This is the best example of using a credit card wisely.

3. If you are already deeply in debt, start digging yourself out. Do not charge any more on your cards...no matter what! Only spend what you can buy with your paycheck.

4. You might want to look at balance transfers to try to get the amount you owe reduced. But, be very careful when trying this. Make sure that the interest rate is a lot less than the one you are paying on the credit card you want to replace. And, don't add any more on it.

5. Also look into taking out a second mortgage on your home. Of course, you don't want to take out a loan that you cannot make payments on.

6. Do you have any savings? You will probably be better off using your savings to pay off debt then by trying to earn interest with it.

7. Take an honest look at your spending habits. Could you possibly be a credit card addict? If so, get help. Help could come in the form of a good friend that you can enlist to help you with your finances or with a professional personal finance manager. Be sure you choose someone that you trust and that will not get you deeper in debt.

Getting your credit card debt under control should be a major concern for you. A poor credit rating can follow you around for years.
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