8 Credit card life-savers

Who can live without their credit card? The problem is, if not managed well, it can eventually swallow up your whole salary.

Credit cards make spending easy. But credit  card limits are often so high that you are tempted to keep spending without realising the consequences. Always remember: your credit card represents cash that you have not earned yet. Follow these golden rules to ensure you don 't get into uncontrollable debt.

Do a simple calculation: if what you owe (monthly)is more than you can afford to repay (monthly),you are living beyond your means and should cut back on spending.

Always try to pay back the full amount due each month. The minimum repayment is only the interest you must pay on the debt you have built up. If you repay only the minimum, you will never get rid of your debt, and you 'll continue to pay interest at a high rate.

Don 't have more than one card. If credit is available it 's always tempting to use it.

If you are struggling to manage your credit card responsibly, pay off the debt and ask the bank to reduce the limit (for instance, to R1 000). If it is a big problem, rather borrow money at a lower interest rate somewhere else to pay off the credit card. Then make sure you use your card for emergencies only.

Don 't use your credit card to ‘borrow ' money (a cash advance).The interest is extremely high.

Never use your budget facility unless you know what it entails. The name is misleading: it amounts to everything but budgeting. The interest is high and you could end up paying double the price for something (because of the interest)than you would have if you 'd paid cash.

Once the management of your card is under control, pay an amount into the account each month and use that when you need to shop and don 't want to take cash with you. Your card will then really be a credit card – not a debt card.

A big plus of having a positive balance in your credit card is that the bank will pay you interest.

- Ideas

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