As the year 2023 rolls in, I have decided, after many a setback, to be more careful while using my cards, especially credit cards. Credit cards are the black holes of the financial world; everyone knows what they are, but very few people actually know everything there is to know about them.
I won’t be getting into the nitty-gritty of credit cards and all there is to know about them as I am no financial expert (not even by any proverbial stretch of the imagination!) I am merely an artist, trying to live off my art and striving to not drown under the debts incurred because of the rates of interest because of my credit card bills!
So as someone who uses credit cards regularly (Way more than I probably should) I have resolved to be wise while using my credit cards in the coming year.
5 Ways To Use Credit Cards Wisely In The Coming Year
1. Spend within your means
Overspending while using a credit card is an extremely easy and alluring trap to fall into because the money is RIGHT THERE! But wait, is it really?! That money is not there, it is the money that you will pay in the FUTURE! So you are actually spending the money you do not have right now. But the illusion is pretty solid, and that’s what the credit card system is based on. So be smart and spend only where necessary and do NOT spend beyond your means at any cost.
Let’s face it, no one, at least no one who is not a financial genius, can fully understand what credit card terms really are. So be vigilant and try to understand as much as you can. Ask the guy at the bank, do your own research online as well as by asking friends in the finance sector and by doing some extra legwork because, in the end, it would pay off really well as the knowledge would be with you for life and hopefully, you’d pass it on to your kids and other family members too.
Trust me when I say people are surprisingly ignorant of how credit cards really work and keep on paying without ever fully realising what are their rates of interest at all!
3. Maintain a separate budget
Maintaining a budget sheet is always advisable. Nothing complex, just a basic one where you can see everything that you spend so that you are aware of where your money is going. One dedicated to your credit card will help you keep a score and an eye on what’s really going on without having to rely on the monthly statements.
You can use a simple calculator too to help you create a budget and calculate the interest rates as per your credit card terms like this one. But remember to keep it simple because you just want to be aware in order to not spend beyond your means and not get lost in the technical hoo-ha of the credit card’s financial system.
4. Make payments & repayments on time
Make payments and repayments on time. In fact, if possible, make them before time. Not only will it save you the hassle of avoiding the late fee, but it will also help you in maintaining or even improve your credit score. Set a reminder on your phone and make those payments on time or before and successfully ditch the charges and the negative impact the score can have on your overall financial health.
5. Be wary of the subscriptions
I call subscriptions a big TRAP because that’s what they are. This year alone, I spent over $500 in subscriptions without even realizing I spent so much on them!
Netflix, Buzzsprout, Zoom, WordPress, Audible, Prime, Disney Hotstar, and a couple hundred other OTTs, cable TV, a couple of writing mags and software, online newspapers and ebook websites and BOOM! I was paying so much that I felt so crippled when my brother, who is a finance graduate, pointed it out to me. So now. I am off half of those and have paid for them in yearly bills to save on the monthly subscriptions.
So in these 5 ways, you can use credit cards wisely in the coming year and be in a better place both financially and mentally.
I hope you’ll find these tips helpful. Do you like using credit cards and the ease they provide, or are you sceptical of them and try to avoid them at any cost?
Please share your experiences regarding credit card usage in the comments below as I’d love to hear your experiences too!