Thursday, October 15, 2009

Staying away from credit card debt

As many Canadians continue to charge their credit cards, they are increasing their debt loads at an alarming rate. Getting into debt can happen very quickly, getting out of it is not so easy. Below are some tips for avoiding getting into serious credit card debt.

  1. Do not apply for too much credit. Limit the amount of cards you apply for and have to two.
  2. Use your card sparingly, for purchases such as gas and groceries.
  3. Only charge amounts on your card that you know you can pay back before your next credit card billing date. Do this to avoid paying interest charges.
  4. Choose a low-interest credit card over a rewards or points credit card if you intend on carrying a balance. Rewards cards are nice, but often come with higher interest rates.
  5. Do not use your card for frivolous, spur of the moment purchases. Using your credit card for an expensive pair of shoes you might never wear is a waste of money. Always plan your purchases.
  6. File your credit card receipts for 3-5 months. After the fifth month, look back at your purchases and see which ones you could have avoided. You might be surprised to find that some or many of your purchases did not have to be done by credit. This will prompt you to think about future purchases.
  7. Leave your credit card at home if you are going somewhere you know you will be tempted.
  8. Credit card companies periodically increase the credit limits of their customers. If this has happened to you, call your credit card company and request your limit to be decreased. This will keep your debt load low.
  9. Shred your credit card receipts instead of throwing them away to avoid identity theft.
  10. Notify your credit card company of any unauthorized purchases or any discrepancies.

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