Of course it’s never a good idea to carry a credit card balance and there’s plenty of advice on how to reduce your debt. But what steps can you take to avoid adding to your credit card balance while you’re paying down debt? Here’s a couple of tips to help keep your balance under control:
Switch your Paypal, eBay, Amazon, Meetup payment accounts to your debit card. Even if your bank debit card doesn’t offer it, these online payment sites offer buyer protection programs for your purchases in case something goes wrong with the transaction.
Buy gift cards for your favorite stores to be used only when you have that uncontrollable “shopping temptation.” t’s easy to say “DON’T USE YOUR CREDIT CARD!”, but honestly not all of us are advanced in our money management walk to resist spending that easily. Hey, sometimes it’s not easy resisting that sale at Victoria’s Secret or Best Buy! Fortunately store gift cards can be used to buy those must-have items without busting your current budget. Purchase/add to the balance in advance (according to your budget) and have it on hand when you just can’t fight the urge to pay with your credit card. With the changes in gift card regulations, you can keep balances longer than before and it’s a lot cheaper for you to whip out a gift card vs. a credit card for those impuse purchases. Just be sure to check the retailer’s gift card policies in advance.
Unlink auto-payments attached to your credit card. This includes AAA and gym memberships, insurance premiums, university alumni dues, etc. scheduled to come directly from your credit card. Instead see if those auto-payments can come from your debit card or even better cancel the auto-payment feature and have charges directly billed to you. This way you’ll have more control over your checking account in case you don’t have enough funds in your account to cover the automatic draft.
Check to see if your debit card bank has a transaction protection plan similar to what they offer for credit cards. Many banks will protect your account from fraudulent transactions in your checking or savings accounts so investigate their policy. If it’s similar to credit card protetion, then it may make sense to make small online purchases with your debit card. Just make sure you’re purchasing on a secure website and keep in mind you might want to still make larger purchases with your credit card for added protection.
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