When you have a family, having a credit card can come in handy. It can help to cover purchases you perhaps can’t afford just now, it can earn you rewards, and it can make travelling overseas that much easier.
However, as anyone who has ever been in debt will tell you, credit cards can also cause more problems than they solve. So, what’s the best way to keep a credit card so that it saves you money, and stops you from getting into trouble?
Take advantage of Intro Offers
Credit card providers want your business, which means they will often have awesome offers for new customers. This means you could get a credit card with 0% interest on purchases for a certain period of time, 0% on balance transfers, or a few thousand bonus rewards points.
If you choose the right introductory offer – for the right reasons – this can be a great way of saving money. Be sure to think about the long term as well – if you plan on keeping the card after the intro offer ends, think about how much it charges in interest, annual fees, and so on.
Low Annual Fees
Think about how much you are paying in annual fees – and whether it is worth what you are getting back from the card. Rewards cards and prestige Gold and Platinum cards can charge more in annual fees. If you don’t need what the card is offering, it can be a good idea to switch to a low or no annual fee card.
Save money on overseas purchases
If you travel a lot overseas, or you buy from overseas retailers, you may have noticed your bank charging you for the purchases you make. Some credit card providers charge a set fee or a percentage of the purchase when you use your card in this way. While it might seem like they are only charging you small amounts, it can really add up over time. Look into getting a card that charges less or nothing at all for overseas purchases if you make them frequently.
Pay off your balance
One of the biggest ways you will lose out on a credit card is when you don’t pay off your balance each month. If you carry a balance on a credit card, you could be charged as much as 22% p.a. in interest. Try to pay off your balance in full each month, or as much as you can manage.
Try not to overspend!
Last of all, try not to overspend. It can be easy to keep buying stuff on a credit card, with the “I’ll pay it off later” mentality. Make a budget and stick to it!