Picture this. It is a Monday morning and this month’s credit card bill has arrived. You open the bill and the amount due is way higher than you expected it to be. You are stunned.
This is a reality for many Americans, and it is simply a reflection of poor credit card habits. According to CNBC, nearly 55% of Americans with credit cards find themselves in debt.
Why? People are overusing their credit cards. When a purchase is as easy as a tap or swipe, people forget that buying on credit is not free money, rather something you will owe in a short time. The thrills from the purchase turns into regret when the bill arrives.
This habit severely impacts your credit score.
A credit card is a vital tool for building a solid credit history. This credit history and your FICO score is a requirement that will help you in your larger purchases such as getting a mortgage or leasing your next car.
Most credit card related mistakes can be avoided by following some simple credit card practices and habits.
Listed below are the points we will be discussing:
If you use a credit card, we advise you to pay your bill in full and in a timely manner.
In case you are worried about forgetting to make a payment, you can set up autopay of a specific amount at the end of each month!
Yes, we get that budgeting is not very fun. But making it a habit will be very handy for you!
We’ve all been there. We go out to the mall or on Amazon to buy one thing and only one thing. Before we know it, we are checking out five items. This is more likely to happen if you do not have a budget in place!
The first step is to create a fixed maximum amount you want to spend for each month. This should be based on how much you can afford to pay at the end of the month. Once you have the figure in mind, we would advise you to sit down each week and calculate your expenses and note them down.
With every purchase, go back to your budget and track your progress.
By rule of thumb, if you want to maximize your credit score, you should aim that you use less than 30% of your overall credit limit.
To track your spending, it is advisable to sit down each week and calculate your expenses. One way to do this is to download your bank’s app that tracks spending from your accounts. This will give you an idea of how much you have spent and where you are spending the most.
New credit card offers pop up regularly. Credit cards are big business for the banks, so they compete to reel you in. It’s important that you do your research before getting any new credit card because you may be eligible to get cards that a) offer better rewards and b) have lower interest rates.
SimpleDirect can help you find the best credit card for you!
Credit cards should never be an area of concern only at the end of the month. You incur costs throughout the month and as such, you should be monitoring your accounts throughout the month as well.
The reason to do this is to get a better idea of your own spending habits, find any fraudulent or incorrect transaction, and ensure that you are not on track to significantly surpass your budget. Finally, monitoring your accounts is especially important if you have multiple credit cards. You would not want to be in a situation where you forget to make payments solely because you forgot to check your account. This simple habit will save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in interest and charges.
We are all human. We love to buy stuff we see in stores or online and sometimes we end with a bill higher than we expect. Becoming a better credit card user is a result of active efforts in applying simple, responsible credit card habits that we’ve listed above.
It will take some time but getting started is one step in the right direction! If you have any doubts or questions, we would love to help you out! Feel free to get in touch with us!