Credit Cards, A Love-Hate Relationship

Oh credit cards, the evil of the world, but yet the points and rewards you give are so delightful, but the penalties and the finance charges are yet so frightful!  I think I have a song in the making!  Using credit cards is much like the love-hate relationship and banter from Keira Knightly’s Elisabeth Swann with Johnny Depp’s Jack Sparrow….she wants him, but knows it’s not good for her!

I know some people who don’t use credit cards at all – and thus don’t have credit card debt.  This is good…however they are missing out on rewards and points that can be actually very helpful.  Also folks I’ve known who don’t use credit cards at all have had a hard time proving any credit history when they want to get loans for cars and houses.  
I know some people who use credit cards like the world is ending tomorrow!  Buying everything in sight and putting it on their credit card with no regard to carrying outstanding balances!  This is bad…very very bad!  If you are only paying your minimum payment on your credit card and carrying a large balance with interest – STOP!  You must change something!  Transfer your balance to a 0% credit card so you can actually pay off the darn thing, or pay as much as you can to get the overall balance to zero.  
THE HAPPY MEDIUM:  The happy medium is to maximize the benefits and to eliminate the negatives of credit card usage.  I advise to use a credit card and paying it off every month, on time and in full.  This gives you a responsible credit history for future loans and mortgages and eliminates the possibility of paying unnecessary interest.  The benefits with using a credit card include getting discounts, accruing points for gift-cards or travel and gaining a responsible credit history.  For example, Chase offers 5% back on certain purchases like gas, groceries and travel.  5% is better return than most savings accounts today, so why would you opt out of that savings?  UNLESS you have credit card outstanding balances….then everything costs immediately 12-21%+ more!  
The golden rule is: NEVER CARRY A BALANCE – and always pay your card off every month ON TIME!!  

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