September 12, 2016 / Money

Credit Card 101

So you’re ready to get a credit card… awesome! Time to hit up the mall and spend all that free money right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong.

Getting a credit card comes with responsibilities and knowledge of how they work. If you know the in’s and out’s of a credit card, they can be a great thing and a start to building your credit score!

So how do you even use one? And how do you avoid racking up a huge credit card bill full of fees?

       First off, you need to pick the credit card that’s right for you. Believe it or not, there are tons of different credit cards out there, all with different perks and rewards. Chris and I love our Alaska Airlines cards because we earn Frequent Flyer Miles through them! Choosing the most applicable one to your life and that has the best terms and conditions is very important.

       Make your payments on time and preferably in full! If there is one way to completely trash your credit score, late payments are it! Not only does paying your statement late leave you with a worsened credit score, it can lead to a boatload of fees. If you want to increase your credit score and impress the banks, pay your card in full when your statement comes due. A credit card is not free money, therefore, whatever you spend on it you ideally should be able to afford to pay back.

       Be conscious of your spending and set your limits. Just because you have a credit card now doesn’t mean you should go out and buy things you know you can’t afford. If you think you need too, set up a monthly budget for yourself so you don’t go overboard with your spending!

       Monitor your account statement. What I like to do is save all of my receipts that I have acquired throughout the month from purchases on my credit card. Once my statement comes out, I pull out all of my receipts and match them up with each transaction on my statement. This helps catch any mischarges or errors as well as helps me really see exactly where all my spending is going. I definitely recommend this method!

If you ever want to buy a car, house, or get a loan, you need to have a credit card. Banks typically won’t give you a loan if you don’t have a good credit score, so owning a credit card is a serious thing. Keep in mind that once you have bad credit, it is difficult to build your score back up. It is much easier to just maintain a good credit score!

Keeping these simple steps in mind will assure you a hassle free experience with your first credit card! If you have any specific questions about getting one, send me an email and I’ll do my best to help out. (:

Have any other tips to managing your credit card? Let me know in the comments section below!

Make sure to follow along on Instagram & Pinterest as well! 

xo, Heather Marie