As more Americans make strides towards responsible spending and debt management, there are still ways to improve the control of family finances. According to a survey recently conducted by Bank of America, less than half of cardholders always pay their entire credit card balance. With more than half of individuals carrying credit card debt, Jason Gaughan, card products executive for Bank of America, said to think about personal spending before taking on a credit card. “Credit cards provide consumers an efficient and protected way to make purchases,” said Gaughan. “They are more convenient than cash and they are incredibly useful in an emergency. The key to successfully managing your credit card account is to understand your budget and stick to a plan that works for you when borrowing. You want a card with a rewards program that fits your lifestyle and how you manage your finances. If you typically carry a balance, look for a card that has low interest and reinforces good payment practices.” Along with these practices, there are other ways to promote good spending and personal finance habits, such as:
Limit Number of Credit Cards Limiting the number of cards you own can help limit your spending and increase the likelihood you can pay above the minimum balance. Before you start cutting up your plastic, remember having more than one credit card can have merits. One idea is to have three cards: one in a safe place at home for emergencies and two with you at all times.
Reap the Rewards Use the rewards programs available to credit card holders to cash in on things your family really needs. Some cards, such as the BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card, let you earn more cash back where you spend the most money, like gas stations and grocery stores. The BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards credit card helps customers responsibly manage their credit card balance. Whatever rewards you are seeking, there is likely to be a card suitable for you.
Evaluate All Debts Many carry debts beyond credit cards, including student loans, car payments and mortgages. Evaluate your debts and decide which ones have the highest interest rates. Making it a priority to pay down these debts first will save you more money in the long run.
Create a Budget It’s never too soon to put yourself in control of your money and stop letting it control you. A budget will give you financial peace of mind and it can help you stretch the income you have. Calculate your income and expenses and set your monthly budget. Though you may not be on-point every month, the simple act of tracking your spending will be a huge step forward in your quest towards responsible spending.
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