It seems that everyone has a credit card these days. It’s so easy to pull out your card to buy whatever you want, isn’t it? The reality is a little different.
When you use a credit card to buy something, for example a new television or a dress, the bank or store is actually lending you the money to make the purchase. As with all loans, you will be expected to pay it back. In a few weeks when you receive your statement, you should try to pay it back in full right away.
Your statement may say that there is a minimum payment you are required to pay, often a small percentage of the total amount. Be very wary of those small minimum payments though. It may be more affordable to only pay that small amount, but this is often where people’s problems with credit card debt begins.
By using a credit card, you have already paid more for your purchase, as most credit card companies charge interest on each purchase you make. Too often, people are charmed by the idea of a minimum payment. They think that they can now afford to buy several other items and only make minimum payments on those as well.
So now they have several bills totaling a large amount of money that they can’t afford. Plus the credit card company is adding interest to all of the bills. The longer the bill goes unpaid, the more you will pay in interest until you owe much more money than the products were ever worth. Imagine buying a product, using it until it’s worn and throwing it out. But because you’ve only made minimum payments, you are still paying for a product that you no longer own.
There are times when a treat can make you feel better, but if it leads to a spending spree you can’t afford, it is not worth it. Try a little fresh air or some exercise instead. Still, if you are determined to spend, there is a sensible way shop. Try to restrain your buying tendency except for sales and extreme discounts, and don’t over do it.
If you must, use your credit card to buy what you can afford, and avoid the minimum payment trap. Be responsible about paying the bills when they come in, and don’t put it off if you can help it. If you see that your cash flow is going down, curb the spending. Remember that missing payments can affect your credit record and your ability to get credit when you really need it.