When you consider the fact that the credit card(s) you have in your wallet right now are essentially “short-term loans,” it’s easy to see how the decision to charge something you can’t afford can come back to bite you hard.
On one hand, when used appropriately, having that pre-approved credit line can be a lifesaver. It can also enable you to buy something today knowing that you will soon have the money to pay for it (when your paycheck comes, etc.)
On the other hand, a credit card can be like a n’er do well friend who always seems to be able to lure you down paths you shouldn’t be headed. Abusing a credit card is a little bit like drinking to excess. It might feel great in the moment – freeing even! When the bill comes in the mail, though, it feels more like a terrible morning hangover. You find yourself moaning, “what did I do?”
Great “Don’t” Advice for Credit Card Holders – Use, Don’t Abuse!
- Don’t charge more than what you can afford to pay back at the end of the month. Obviously, this number fluctuates with your own personal income levels. For you, $500 may be the most you can pay off each month. Your neighbor might be able to afford $1,000.
- Don’t pay for large ticket items that would be better funded with a different type of credit or loan. This might include college tuition, a car payment, etc. There are funding options with better interest rates for these particular types of purchases. And, assuming you can’t pay back a $30,000 car credit card payment at month’s end, you don’t want to start racking up exorbitant interest fees.
- Don’t pay for everyday purchases while on a vacation. While it may be ok to pay for the plane tickets on a credit card (assuming you’ve budgeted for it), charging souvenirs and daily expenses is a trap. You can easily lose track of what you are spending because, in the moment, you are having fun. It won’t be so fun to open the credit card bill after the trip is long over.
If you are in over your head in debt, rest assured, you are not alone. Plenty of good people charge a bit too much and, before they know it, they have crippling credit card debt. Don’t despair. Instead, contact an experienced debt management professional who can help you get back on track.
Joel R. Spivack, Esq. is a bankruptcy lawyer who can explain many alternatives to bankruptcy that will get you out of debt on give you a fresh financial start. Contact him today for a free consultation.