Credit Card Management: Using Plastic Responsibly

Feb 19

In an era where digital transactions are increasingly becoming the norm, credit cards stand out as both a convenience and a challenge. Used wisely, they can be powerful tools for managing finances, building credit scores, and earning rewards. However, without responsible management, credit card use can lead to debt and financial stress. Understanding how to navigate the world of credit cards is essential for maintaining financial health and leveraging the benefits they offer.

Understanding Your Credit Card Terms

Familiarizing yourself with the terms and conditions of your credit card is the first step towards responsible management. This includes understanding the interest rate, annual fees, grace periods, and rewards programs. Knowing your card’s interest rate is crucial as it determines the cost of carrying a balance. Similarly, being aware of the grace period can help you avoid interest charges by paying your balance in full each month. Additionally, understanding the rewards program can help you maximize benefits without overspending. Regularly reviewing your credit card terms can also keep you updated on any changes that may affect your financial strategy.

Keeping Track of Spending

One of the key aspects of responsible credit card use is monitoring your spending. It’s easy to lose track of how much you’re charging to your card, especially with small, everyday purchases. Utilizing budgeting tools or apps can help you categorize your expenses and stay within your budget. Setting up alerts for when you’re approaching your credit limit can also prevent overspending. By keeping a close eye on your spending, you can ensure that you’re using your credit card in a way that aligns with your financial goals.

Paying More Than the Minimum Due

Making only the minimum payment on your credit card balance can lead to prolonged debt and significant interest charges. To use credit cards responsibly, aim to pay more than the minimum due each month or, ideally, pay off the entire balance. This not only helps you avoid interest charges but also improves your credit score by lowering your credit utilization ratio. If you find yourself unable to pay the full balance, paying as much as you can above the minimum will help reduce your debt more quickly.

Utilizing Rewards Wisely

Credit card rewards, such as cash back, points, or miles, can be highly beneficial but should be used wisely. It’s important not to let the pursuit of rewards encourage unnecessary spending. Instead, look for ways to earn rewards on purchases you would make anyway. Paying your balance in full each month ensures that interest charges don’t negate the value of the rewards. Additionally, periodically evaluating whether a card’s rewards align with your spending habits and needs can help you make the most of your credit card benefits.

Knowing When to Seek Help

If you find yourself struggling to manage credit card debt, it’s important to seek help sooner rather than later. Contacting your credit card issuer to discuss options such as a payment plan or a lower interest rate can be a good first step. Credit counseling services can also provide guidance and help you develop a plan to pay off your debt. Recognizing when you need assistance and taking action can prevent your debt from becoming unmanageable and protect your financial health.

Responsible credit card management is essential for leveraging the advantages of credit while avoiding the pitfalls of debt. By understanding your credit card terms, monitoring your spending, paying more than the minimum due, utilizing rewards wisely, and knowing when to seek help, you can use credit cards to your benefit. Implementing these strategies can help you maintain financial stability, build a strong credit history, and enjoy the convenience and rewards that credit cards offer.

Read More

How to Find a Great Cash Back Credit Card Bonus

Nov 29

Credit card sign-on bonuses are becoming more and more popular, and it’s becoming rare to find a credit card that doesn’t offer some kind of bonus within the first few months. However, that doesn’t mean all credit card bonuses are created equal. There are many different credit card cash back bonuses out there, and if you want the best one, you need to know how to find it. Here are the four things you can do to find the best cash back credit cards.

1. Check the Spending Requirements

One of the first things you should do to find a good cash back credit card bonus is to check the spending requirements to receive that bonus. Some credit cards may have a bonus that’s only achievable if you spend over $10,000 in the first three months. This may be great for businesses or people with fairly large budgets, but if you’re pinching pennies, it won’t be something that you’re likely to be able to achieve without overspending.

2. See Whether There’s Introductory APR

Introductory APR is a feature available with many credit cards. With an introductory APR bonus, you’ll be able to get a reduced APR – often as low as 0% — for a few months after you’ve signed up for the card. Some credit cards may extend this introductory APR bonus to up to 12 months or more. The 0% APR offer can be a good way to meet spending requirements for a cash back bonus, especially if you already have a large purchase coming up, as you can finance that purchase across your introductory APR period.

3. Determine the Annual Fee

Most people look at an annual fee near the beginning of looking at a credit card, which makes sense. After all, annual fees have the ability to really impact how you manage a credit card, especially if they’re very high. However, it’s a good idea to remember that cards with annual fees can be very helpful, as they also give credit card companies the ability to offer more benefits. Set a maximum cap on the annual fees you’re comfortable with spending, then try to find a card underneath that cap.

4. Check for General Cash Back Rewards

Although a sign-up bonus can be extremely valuable, it’s also a one-time bonus that you’ll only get within usually the first three months of having a credit card. If you want to see how a credit card will benefit you in the long run, make sure you’re checking for cash back rewards that you can access over the entirety of the time you have your credit card.


A cash back bonus will always be a great way to kickstart your credit card purchases. No matter how big or small, it’s a great way to save a little bit more on your first few months of having a credit card. With these decisions, you can find a cash back credit card bonus that’s best for your needs.

Read More

Reward Credit Cards – Do Your Research before you Apply for these Cards

Oct 10

Reward credit cards have become much popular of late. These credit cards are much in use with individuals that make online purchases more frequently. However, like all other credit cards, these cards can be used responsibly and may act as your ticket to achieving quality savings that yield huge passive income with time.

Read More

Freedom Debt Relief: Our Look at Credit Card Debt by the Numbers

Aug 23

Nerdwallet conducted an extensive study called, “2016 American Household Credit Card Debt Study.” They found that the average American household with credit card debt had racked up an average balance of $16,425. These numbers are significant to us at Freedom Debt Relief, but you might be wondering what the big deal is.

Read More

6 Hidden Benefits of Prepaid Cards

Dec 16

Prepaid Visa cards offer so much more than just a reloadable plastic card that can be used anywhere major credit cards are accepted. Listed below are some overlooked advantages of prepaid cards:

Read More

Changes in Credit Cards and What This Means for Everyone

Jun 23

You need to know that major changes, designed to help your money stay safe from thieves, are coming to your wallet soon. If you live in the United States, or operate a business there, the deadline for change is October 1, 2015. Chip and PIN cards will be implemented to replace the usual magnetic strip cards currently used.

Read More