There are different ways people start using a credit card. One of them is when parents add you as an approved user. The other way is when you are old enough to get your own card.
In both of these ways, one thing remains certain about credit cards – they give you a loan. That money is not your money. You have to pay it back in a given time. This knowledge will help you know how credit cards work and whether you are truly ready for the responsibilities that come with using a credit card.
Below are some qualities you will need to possess that will determine whether you are prepared for a credit card or not. Read closely, as any doubts about your ability to handle this service may be grounds for waiting until you truly have the means.
1. You Are Self-Disciplined
Are you disciplined enough that when you set out guidelines/budgets, you follow them to a tee? I am talking of the same discipline that you use to practice at a musical instrument or sport. You badly want to master the sport/instrument; therefore, you are committed to learning it no matter what.
The same discipline should be applied to your finances. If you have your monthly budget written down, follow it exactly. Don’t deviate from it, and then, you will be more prepared to use a credit card.
2. You Can Prioritize Your Spending
Are you a person that appreciates the importance of prioritized spending? Do you have the most important items first on the list? Do you know the difference between wants and needs?
There are basic needs, such as food, water, shelter, and health care, that you cannot do without. These always come first on the list. The others, like jewelry, perfumes, and partying, should come last. If you are this kind of person, then you are likely ready to use a credit card.
3. You Track Your Spending
Always know how much you are spending monthly because it will help you not to exceed your credit limit.
There are many ways you can practice tracking your spending, either by using an app or going to the bank’s website and using their software. This helps keep your spending in check and helps you to improve if need be.
4. You Can Manage a Checking Account
A checking account allows easy access to your money in your bank account. It is an excellent way of practicing financial discipline. It is advisable not to overdraw from your account unnecessarily and always track your expenditure. If possible, a debit card would be great, too, in the practice of checking account management. If you can use a debit card efficiently, then you are ready for a credit card.
5. You Can Save for the Things You Want
You don’t have to buy stuff randomly. When you want something, you should save up for it until you are ready to buy it. A credit card is not there to allow you to buy all your luxuries at any time. It is not a blank cheque.
When you can effectively save for what you want, then you are ready for a credit card.
If you understand the above financial principles and have the discipline to follow them, then you are ready to have a credit card. Always remember that a credit card is not a blank cheque but rather, a loan that you have to pay back. Always pay your balance on time and avoid interests, and your credit card journey will be fun.