Credit cards are one of those life skills that rarely gets taught or understood.  It’s something that is just handed to us in the hopes of us failing.  When we fail at this particular life skill, it benefits someone else’s pocket and that’s just not fair.  Learn how to be a master at using your credit cards and make it work harder for you, instead of you being a pawn in a bigger game.  Follow along for some easy-to-understand basics.

Pay Them Off

When you start using credit cards, the companies want you to accrue so much debt that you’ll never be able to pay it off.  You’ll be making the most basic payments just to keep the lights turned on and meanwhile it’s costing you more and more every month as it adds up.  The best thing you can do is pay off your balance every month.  That’s right – every, single, month.  You won’t get charged for any interest and you’ll be gaining rewards without the hidden costs.  If you can pay them off each month, you’ll be living debt-free and that feels amazing.  If you don’t know where to start and feel like paying it off every month is impossible.  Start with a budget and figure out the most you can cover month to month and grow from there.  It will add up in a positive way over time.

Make Them Work for You

Find credit cards that work for you with rewards you actually like and will use.  It used to be the standard to get airline miles for spending, but with so many restrictions and convoluted ways to actually redeem them, maybe it’s time to look for other rewards.  A great option is cash back – you spend money, you get money back.  It can go towards your balance which is a win-win for paying off your credit cards in full.  Search around and you’ll find a reward that tickles your fancy. 

Stack Up Rewards Faster

Once you’ve found a reward system that inspires you, get to using it.  If you go out with people for dinner or a night out, offer to pay the tab and have everyone send you their money through Venmo, PayPal or whatever app you like.  You’ll be racking up the rewards without spending the money yourself.  You get the extra rewards just by being a little crafty and who doesn’t like getting something extra for free? 

Don’t Carry Too Many

It’s good to have a couple of credit cards on hand in case of emergencies, but do not open a bunch and forget about them.  You could be missing out on important payment dates which will affect your credit score.  Keep a couple credit cards in your arsenal that you really like and leave everything else behind.

Using credit cards doesn’t have to be overly complicated if you know how to play the game.  Hopefully these basics help you use them more wisely and help you stay out of trouble.  They are a fantastic tool if you use them properly and make them work for you. 

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