If you have a credit card, you may fear making a mistake that could cost you. Digressing even by a step in your financial planning could see you run into heavy credit card debt. Once this debt accumulates, it becomes a daunting task to pay it off.
If you are an avid credit card user, taking a little precaution and keeping some things in mind can help prevent such a situation. Here are the top three tips to avoid credit card debt:
- Consider keeping an emergency fund
First things first, know what an emergency fund entails. It is a fund that acts as a financial safety net for potential mishaps and takes care of unforeseen circumstances. Most financial planners recommend that an emergency fund should have about 3 to 6 months’ worth of your expenditure available in the form of liquid assets.
You may face a financial emergency at any time. In such situations, many people use their credit cards to clear off these expenses, but you could fall into major credit card debt by doing so. These situations can range from an unexpected medical bill to a significant repair to your house. At such times, if no savings are available, the first option you will resort to is a credit card. To avoid this way of getting into credit card debt, we recommend having an emergency fund to dig into.
- Think before big purchases
One of the biggest tips to avoid a credit card debt is to scrutinize each purchase before you swipe your card, especially luxury purchases. To start, try to divide your purchases into needs and wants. Further, divide your wants into what you might wish to pick up urgently and what can be put off until later.
Experts recommend that you only purchase what you would be able to pay off. Do not let the availability of a high credit card limit lure you into making huge purchases that you might have problems paying back at a later date.
- Be smart with balance transfers
A balance transfer is one of the most convenient options available for credit card users in today’s day and age. However, you could also end up making a big mistake if you are not careful enough. The main thing to consider while transferring your credit card balance is whether the interest rate offered is lower than that offered on your current account. If not, avoid the balance transfer at all costs as it will add to your liabilities through unnecessary fees. This fee can sometimes go as high as 5% of the total balance that you are transferring.
Also, try to find a balance transfer option that gives you a promotional 0% for a certain period. During this period, work hard to pay off the balance before the interest rate kicks in to avoid a higher credit card debt to pay off.