Financial Tips | Debt Management

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11/7/07

Credit Card Woes to Consider Before you Apply for your Credit Card

Put in simple terms, you need to be responsible with money before you should even consider applying for credit. If you have trouble managing your finances, obtaining a credit card is only going to add to the problem. You may be tempted to purchase expensive items even though you do not have the money to pay off the charge; you may build a large debt with improper credit card use; you may also be paying more in interest than you ever do in principal. All of these things will damage your already struggling financial situation. Do not add to the stress.

Assuming you are responsible with your finances, a credit card is a powerful financial tool that can help you achieve whatever financial goals you may have. However, high fees, high interest rates, and improper use can quickly plague any advantage a credit card may give. Beyond that, there are also other factors to take into account before applying for a credit card.

There is an old saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” This is true when it comes to credit cards. The temptation of using a credit card is strong if you really want to buy something. This temptation can be avoided if you do not have the means with which to buy the item. Therefore, if you have a “temptation problem” leave you credit card at home. If you have a serious “impulse buy” problem, you need to consider this before applying for a credit card, and you may need to reevaluate your purpose for getting a credit card.

Another problem or woe you need to consider before applying for a credit card is the time frame of credit card bills. Many people do not consider the fact that their bank account decrease during a standard billing period. Therefore, if you have the money to pay your bill at the first of the month, that does not necessarily mean that you will still have the money at the end of the month. Other bills such as gasoline, food, water, mortgage or rent, utilities, cell phone, etc are also paid monthly. Therefore, consider whether you can really afford to pay another bill (in this case a credit card bill) before you decide to apply for the credit card.

Last, because credit cards are so easy to use, many people do not keep track of their spending. Not until they go online to look at their statement do people realize how much they have really spent. If you are a person that keeps track of his/her finances only because the internet provides you with a balance statement, you need to establish better spending tracking practices so that you do not end up spending more than you can afford.

The common woes will always be interest and fees, however, temptation to buy, time frame budget considerations, and keeping track of your spending are big considerations that need to be evaluated before applying for a credit card.

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