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Responsible Use of Credit Cards
by Lisa Johnson
As we march head long into the new millennium it would seem that a Credit Card is an essential accessory of modern life. There are not many places on our planet where you can't use the 'fantastic plastic' for purchases large and s
As we march head long into the new millennium it would seem that a Credit Card is an essential accessory of modern life.

There are not many places on our planet where you can't use the 'fantastic plastic' for purchases large and small. In this phenomenon (the vastness of the credit card network) lies the ambush of the credit epidemic.

Unfortunately for some of us we are unable to control the use of our credit cards and we fall into the downward spiral of ever deepening debt. The fact that financial institutions freely issue credit cards to those whom they almost certainly realize do not have the capacity to control their spending or the means to repay the limits of their credit is irresponsible on their part.

Of course on the other hand there are millions of responsible users of credit. For many people a credit card is a means by which they can deal with their current situation, thereby allowing them to take control of their finances. By this means then, they can successfully manage to climb out of the slippery hole of debt and maintain control of their spending.

The responsible use of credit cards involves us being in control of our lives. For many 'retail therapy' is an escape from the reality of what is actually happening in their day to day circumstances. To be a responsible Credit Card user there are several things we must consider:

1. Never spend more than we can really afford! It seems fairly obvious to the thinking person, however the temptation is always lurking there to use our Credit Cards for things we think we can't do without.

2. If we do need to use our Credit Card for large ticket items then do not use them again until we have completely eliminated the negative balance from that Card.

3. Ideally each month pay the entire balance outstanding, and at the very least pay more than the minimum payment amount (and hopefully do not spend any more until our Credit Card is again debt free).

4. If we are using our Credit Card for everything i.e. groceries, utility bills, daily expenses etc as a means of tracking our expenditure then set up an automatic payment system with our bank so that the balance is paid out each month within the interest free timeframe.

5. When we are going browsing dont take our card so that we aren't tempted to spend on unnecessary items. Our wallets can actually get along without our Credit Card (can we?).

6. If all else fails freeze your Credit! Yes literally fill a large container with water, place your Credit Card in a sealable plastic bag and suspend it in the water, now place the container in the bottom of your freezer and leave in place until completely frozen. At the very least this will make you have some "thinking time" before you are able to use your card.

Credit Cards are a good thing when used wisely. If we find ourselves in debt over our heads seek professional help. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for assistance in managing our finances, in fact it is quite the opposite. Many people have discovered release from crippling debt by taking the step and finding someone who will help them.

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