Using Credit Wisely: How to Get Started

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated February 8, 2018

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February 8, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

We live in a society where many people rely heavily on credit cards. While credit cards can certainly be helpful and convenient, they are easy to use foolishly. Credit card debt is a large problem for millions in the United States, but by following a few tips on how to use credit wisely, you can avoid debt and still enjoy all the benefits your credit cards have to offer.

By paying off everything you’ve charged each month, you avoid having to pay any interest as well as eliminate a potential growing debt. If you had to make a few large purchases that can’t be paid off right away, such as a home or car repair or a vacation getaway, then be sure not to add too much debt to the amount. The larger debt you have, the higher your payment will be. As you pay the debt down, your monthly payment will decrease as well.

As mentioned above, you may at some point accrue some debt. Work your monthly credit payment into your budget to see how it affects your monthly finances. This will give you a good idea about whether you can afford to make any additional credit card purchases or if you need to pay down your debt first. Pay off the largest or high-interest balances first.

You might often be tempted into opening up store cards in order to get a discount on a purchase. If you don’t use the cards regularly, think about closing them. But you may not want to close all the cards you don’t use. Having more credit available can often help improve your credit score, so consider your options before making any final decisions. Here are the best credit cards for your credit score.

Choose a credit card that will give you what you need most. If you travel a lot, choose a card that gives you airline miles. You can also choose a card that just gives you cash back, saving you a bit of money over time. Check out the best credit card perks and bonuses.

Many credit card companies now allow you to see your credit score on a regular basis. You can also check your credit report for free once a year by contacting the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Viewing your report also makes you aware of any attempts at identity theft.

Use your credit cards wisely and you’ll avoid high debts in the future.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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