World news – How I got over my fear of credit cards

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Getting started!

Getting started!

Getting started!

Getting started!

by Dana George | January 9, 2021

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Once you learn the power of credit cards, it’s easy to make them work for you.

Getting rid of credit card debt is not easy. And once you’ve done that, one of three things can happen.

My husband and I had credit card issues over a decade ago, and it took me until early 2020 to get back into the credit card pool.

Us were too optimistic about the future and then had to deal with the cost of fighting a serious illness. And while I wouldn’t blame anyone who was indebted for the same reasons, I felt ashamed anyway.

If I had paid more attention to what was happening to the economy, I might have paid those cards early. If I had built up a larger emergency fund, I might not have relied on credit cards to stay one step ahead of medical bills. But guilt is a useless emotion when it comes to finances. Indeed, it is unwise to let emotion guide you in making financial decisions.

My inability to use credit cards for nearly a decade has not been without cost. We haven’t collected a single credit card award point during this time. We never took advantage of a 0% promotional offer. And we didn’t get any credit card sign-up bonuses.

Perhaps most importantly, by locking those cards away, I believed in myself that was wrong – if I became a slave to debt, if I ever used a credit card again .

My husband has spent much of the past decade traveling the world to work. Even though he paid off the card used for the trip when it was refunded by his company, I was still worried. My unwillingness to use credit made life harder for both of us.

It took years to shake memories of how high credit card debt once felt. When I was ready to reintroduce them into our daily lives, I needed some guard rails. The following principles helped me feel safe with credit cards again.

Use one card at a time. When we used a 0% discount card to put hardwood in our house, we didn’t use any other credit cards until that card was paid out.

Pay the credit card bill in full every two weeks. Today we use our favorite rewards card to pay for everyday expenses like gasoline, groceries, and haircuts. Instead of topping up the remaining balance, I have set up a reminder to be paid out every two weeks. In fact, I sometimes (like Christmas) pay it out every week. This may not work for everyone, but to me it feels like checking the card.

Check credit card accounts twice a month. I realize this sounds obsessive, but I’ll do a quick run through to make sure nothing unexpected has been posted. This can be a useful method for tracking infrequent charges like a toll pass or spot fraud. Overall, this peace of mind takes me less than five minutes.

Never pay interest. We now use a credit card to pay for daily expenses, but we don’t charge anything that we can’t pay off before the billing cycle is up. Using a credit card would not work for us if we had to pay interest. Again, the goal is to use the credit card instead of letting us use it.

I know all too well how easy it is to get into trouble with credit cards. But now that I’ve been following these rules for a year, I can appreciate the benefits. For example:

To be clear, credit cards may not be the financial instrument for you. If you’re a compulsive donor (or married to one), may not be able to pay off your balance in full every month, or are concerned about your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, a credit card may not make sense. I’m no longer afraid of credit cards, but I have a healthy respect for how dangerous they can be.

Today I see similarities between credit cards and calories: some people consider them necessary, others the enemy. It took me years to find out that harnessing the power of credit cards without becoming a slave to them gives me financial confidence – confidence I can bring to all aspects of money management.

As long as you use it every month To cash out, credit cards are a breeze for savvy Americans. Far better than debit cards, they protect against fraud, increase your creditworthiness, and pocket hundreds (or thousands!) Of dollars in rewards every year.

But with so many cards, you need to choose wisely. This top-rated card offers the ability to pay 0% interest on purchases through 2022, has some of the most generous cashback rewards we’ve ever seen (up to 5%!) And still has a $ 0 annual fee / p> That’s why our expert, who has reviewed hundreds of cards, personally signed up for this card. Click here to get free access to the top offers from our experts.

Dana has been a personal finance writer for more than 20 years, specializing in credit, debt management, investing, and doing business.

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