How to Use Your Credit Card without Going in Debt
Following is a guest post from Trisha Wagner. Trisha is a freelance writer for DestroyDebt.com, a debt community featuring debt forums. Trisha writes regularly on the topics of getting out of debt and personal finance.
It seems like cash has been resurrected as the premier method of payment on the heels of what is now officially known as the recession of 2008. Cash is in and credit is out. Credit card companies are cracking down on the littlest of missteps and it could be downright frightening to swipe that plastic card to pay for purchases. And while I agree that there are definite benefits of paying your way with cash I want to play devil’s advocate and talk about the opposite end of the spectrum, paying for EVERYTHING with credit. Here are a few examples of how it pays to use credit.
Keep Track of Expenses – The best way to save money is by first tracking expenses and being able to “see” where your money goes each day. By paying for everything with your credit card, you will have the benefit of your monthly itemized statement to assist you in tracking expenses. If you are keeping track of your money manually you know how easy it is to forget to write something down or lose the scraps of paper that you jot information on. Using your credit card guarantees every dollar is accounted for in an organized easy to read manner.
Speed and Convenience – How many times have you been in the check-out aisle and lose valuable time while trying other peoples’ patience digging in your jacket or wallet for that cash you thought you placed there? In most cases it is faster and more convenient to simply swipe your card.
Tax Season Preparation-In my experience people are either very organized or not organized at all. If you fall in the latter category, you know the panic that kicks in when tax season rolls around. Similar to assisting in tracking your expenses, you can use your statements and end of the year summary to document eligible deductions when preparing your taxes.
Added Protection - If you have ever had the misfortune of either losing or having cash stolen, you likely learned the hard way that once it is out of your possession the chances of recovering cash are slim to none. When using credit cards you generally have some form of purchase protection as well as a safety net if your card is lost or stolen.
Reap Card Rewards – Would you like to be rewarded for your loyalty? With an endless selection of reward options available, the one thing they have in common is the more you use the card the greater the reward.
How can you use your credit card each day for all purchases and not succumb to mounting debt? Discipline. There are millions of people that use credit cards, pay them off each month who can enjoy the benefits of responsible credit use and avoid the debt trap. Consider this, each time you use your credit card, record the transaction in your check register just like cash or a check. By deducting the amount from your available balance you can keep your costs in check and avoid spending more than you can afford to pay when the statement comes at the end of the month. Credit cards can be great financial tools but only in the hands of the truly self disciplined.
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