Among all the financial tools we have today, credit cards are by far the most divisive among users. They also, perhaps, come with the greatest amount of financial responsibilities. There’s a huge group that looks at them as a means of getting what you want while being able to pay later. Conversely, there is another group that looks at credit cards as a means to keep you in debt. Whatever the case may be and wherever you stand on credit cards today, they’re a cornerstone of the American economy.
What should matter to you, however, is realizing that credit cards are nothing but a tool used to pay for expenses. Whether they are 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. To learn more about what these might be, continue reading below.
Keep Your Best Interest 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 times with your card. You simply can’t 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 incur interest charges.
A credit card shouldn’t be looked at as a way to spend without thinking of 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, this 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.
Why Some People Hate Credit Cards
The last thing you should get off your back is not really a financial responsibility, but a reality check. This about this: why are there some people out there that genuinely hate credit cards?
Yet, it is scientifically proven that you’re more likely to complete a purchase using a credit card than using cash. You’re also likely to spend more with a credit card than you are with cash. Unlike with cards, with cash at hand, you’re only spending what you have.
These are just some of the basics as to why some people hate credit cards. You consider these points before opening 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.