Among all the financial tools we have today, credit cards come with the greatest amount of financial responsibilities. They let you buy what you want while being able to pay later. This means they also have the ability to put you in debt.
Whether a credit card is harmful or helpful comes down to how well you use them – just like any other thing in life. Ultimately, you have the power to choose your tool and use it wisely.
If you choose to use credit cards, there are a number of financial responsibilities you should address before applying for one. Check out the rest of this article to learn more about these reponsibilities.
Keep Your Best Interests In Mind
When it comes to credit cards, you can’t go in blindly. In effect, credit cards operate as a lending institution. Therefore, you need to first learn to differentiate between luxury and necessities as you begin to shop with your card.
This boils down to acting in your best interest as you don’t want to pay for luxury items with your card. It is bad financial practice to get into debt to finance what you don’t need. For example, if you need a car, why go for the most expensive one? Go for the cheap one that’s also easy to maintain.
Consider the Interest
After you learn how to best use your card, it’s now time to consider the interest that comes with the card. They usually come with high interest, which means, you can’t afford to spend and spend like there’s no tomorrow. If you don’t pay off your balance within a certain timeframe, the interest you will earn can be quite high.
Your savings should be the first of the financial responsibilities you consider before opening a credit card. If you are unable to save money, the temptation of a credit card may not be a good idea for you. If you spend every dollar you make it show signs of irresponsible spending that may cost you big time with a credit card. Your savings should be well-maintained to ensure you don’t misuse your card.
Have an Emergency Fund
Yes, your credit card should be used when there’s dire need to use it, but you should also have an emergency fund. With an emergency fund, you can dip in when it’s necessary without having to use your credit card and incur interest charges.
A credit card shouldn’t be looked at as a way to spend without budgeting. As one of your top financial responsibilities, budgeting should be considered before opening a credit card account.
Once you are accustomed to budgeting, you’ll always remember that whatever you spend isn’t free money. Particularly, when you use a credit card, you have to pay it back at the end of the month. Your discipline and adherence to budgeting should be highly considered before applying for that card.
Not Competing Financially
If there’s one aspect that most people get wrong financially today, it is competing. Your peers shouldn’t be the ones that determine how much you spend. With that kind of competitive mindset, you may overload your card and get yourself into debt.
As listed before, a credit card is just money you have borrowed and you have to pay back. Therefore, you should only use it on necessities. If you’re only getting something because a friend has it, you might not be ready for the various financial responsibilities of having a credit card.
Credit cards can help you achieve better financial freedom and can also hurt you if you don’t pay close attention. These are just some of the financial responsibilities you have to get down before applying for a card.
Disclaimer: All credit products carry risk. Be aware of these risks by reading the associated terms and conditions.