A little late, but a good one! Here’s this week’s Reader Tip Tuesday.
Once you’ve gotten into dangerous waters with a credit card, it’s tempting to swear off of plastic entirely. But before you do, it’s important to understand know that there are plenty of ways to use credit cards to avoid and get out of debt.
With the right card, you can consolidate payments, earn card rewards and repair your credit score. In fact, for most of us, credit cards are the most important tool (and often the only tool) most of us have to establish or build credit in the first place.
A solid credit history is required for anyone who wants to qualify for a loan to buy a car, their first home or start their own business, but getting started is often the hardest part. We know this and we want to help our young Simple Dollar readers out. That’s why last week, in addition to the launch of our new Cards Resource Center, we thought we’d turn this question over to our readers for our on our Facebook page.
Here are some of our favorite responses with minor edits!
- If it’s your first card, get a no annual fee reward card and plan on keeping it forever as it will help your credit score. If things change, just change the card or just use it a few times a yr. –Jason W.
- Get the Costco Amex card. They offer cash back rewards on all purchases, all the standard Amex benefits, and the annual fee covers your Costco membership. Also, make sure you understand all the benefits this card offers – rental car insurance, extra warranty coverage on electronics, concert ticket pre-sales. –Mary M.
- It is easy to lose track of how much you’re charging each month, so it is easy to go over what you can afford to pay off each month. Keep a little notebook of credit card purchases with the date, so you can see at a glance when purchases are adding up. Oh, and don’t carry the credit card with you all the time. Put it someplace where it’s hard to access unless you have a specific need. –Nancy H.
- If you don’t plan to pay off the balance each month, add at least 20% on to every purchase that you make. Then acknowledge how lame that is, and change your decision to pay it off every month. –Jamie S.
- Don’t regularly carry them with you. And don’t save your card info in online accounts like PayPal or Amazon. It keeps you from impulse buying. –Amy J.
- Get a credit card with rewards you’ll use (ie: travel if your family lives far away). Use the credit card to buy gift cards for your monthly budget items, if possible (ie: gas stations, Walmart, Kroger, Sam’s Club, etc). Use the gift cards to regulate your monthly budget. As soon as you get home from using your credit card, pay off what you just bought – don’t wait until you receive a statement. If you’re not sure that you can pay off a purchase, don’t make it. If you don’t have the self-control to always pay it off, cut it up/cancel your account. –Amber J.
A huge thank you for the readers that shared their ideas! Every Tuesday we’ll post a new question on our . We look forward to hearing and sharing your tips.