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Smart Ways to Handle Your Credit Cards

Aug 18, 2007
It doesn't take much to handle your credit at the most basic levels. If you care about your credit, paying on them regularly and keeping from having too much debt. Plenty of people fail at this, however.

But if you really want to do well with your credit cards you need to think beyond the basics. You want your debts to be as easy as possible on you.

Rule number one is to not fall for the various financing schemes or offers of more credit than you need. This is an incredibly basic trap, but one many, many people fall for. It's the 0% introductory APR. Credit card checks. The higher credit limit.

All designed to encourage you to spend more money. All designed to earn more money for the credit companies. And yes, to cost you more money, even if they make you think you are going to save money. They know how often people fail to pay off balances during the 0% APR periods.

If you're proud of yourself for always making your payments every month, but aren't paying your cards off, why not work at getting them paid off? Worse yet, what if you've only been doing the minimum payments? Those debts won't go away with that, especially if you keep spending money.

If you are carrying balances on multiple cards, you need to pick one and focus on getting it paid off. Do likewise for each card until they are all done. This means paying just the minimums on the others, but once you start getting individual cards paid off the cumulative effect can be amazing.

Which brings us to the topic of carrying too much debt. It's a very common phenomenon right now, as people live beyond their means, buy the latest gadgets, even if they have an older model that works just fine. It's a lifestyle far too many people live, living beyond their means.

And it means huge credit card debts that are very difficult to get rid of. If this is your problem, you need to take another look at your spending habits. Quit relying on your credit card for all those extras and try to live within your means. It's not always as much fun, but in difficult times it gives you much more flexibility.

Even though you know that sticking with one company is best for your overall credit score, know when it is time to switch companies. If you can get better rates than your current company is willing to give you, why not make the switch? Keep the old account open and don't use it. You will then still gain the benefit from a long relationship with that company.

Becoming just a bit more responsible with your credit will help you in many ways. You'll have less to worry about financially, and you'll discover that living within your means isn't so bad after all. The relief of cutting debt out of your life can be worth it.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://credit-blog.findcreditonline.com/ about using credit cards wisely. She offers more tips on managing your credit cards well at her site.
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