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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Greetings Thrifty Friends,

Credit cards can be a blessing or a curse...depending on how you use them. If you're driving across the country and engine suddenly blows up, or you find yourself stranded in Pittsburgh and need a quick 300 bucks for a plane ticket, a credit card can be a life-saver.

But too often it becomes a go-to source of ready money, and that is when balances start creeping up and trouble starts. So when should you keep the card in your wallet or purse and use cash, or just skip the expense altogether?

Keep pinchin' those pennies,

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When you're near your credit limit. You don't want to be even within a couple hundred of your limit or your credit score will go down. If you're getting too close to your credit limit, ask your credit card company to raise your limit, switch to a card with a lower balance or find another way to pay.

If you are paying off one card with another, and it's a habit. If you are swapping your debt every six months, that's going to show up on your credit report. If it is a one-time thing, be clear on the rate you will pay after the promotional rate ends. It could be higher than the rate you are trying to escape from.

If you're charging things that you used to pay cash for. That's a red flag that you're getting overextended. You need to review your credit card statements and identify where the budget issues are.

If you think you're building your credit history. While your credit score goes up if you pay off the purchases you make, putting items on a credit card without paying them off will have the opposite effect on your score.

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