Eight Tips for Avoiding Credit Card Debt
Americans’ credit card debt totaled $930 billion in the
fourth quarter of 2019, a $46 billion increase over the
third quarter, according to recent data from the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York. At the same time, the proportion
of borrowers whose credit card payments were 90 days late or
later increased to the highest percentage recorded in almost
Credit cards come with a certain amount of risk, and growing
debt can cause problems ranging from stress and depression
to a poor credit score and reduced retirement savings. But
when used wisely, credit cards can be a helpful tool for
managing personal finances and building credit.
Here are eight tips for staying out of credit card trouble:
1. Create and stick to a budget. This will help ensure you
are not spending more money on your credit cards than you
can pay off at the end of every month.
2. Remember that your credit limit is not money in the bank.
When you pay with a card, you must have money available
elsewhere to pay for the purchase.
3. Sign up to receive text alerts whenever your credit card
is swiped. These alerts will help you monitor how frequently
you use your card and remind you that, while not immediate,
money is being spent.
4. Keep your credit card bills organized, be aware of
payment due dates and maintain regular payment schedules to
avoid ballooning debt, and protect or even improve your
5. Set up automatic credit card payments from your bank
account so you’ll never be late. If you’re not sure you’ll
always have enough to pay in full, set an automatic payment
for the minimum amount due, which will also remind you to
pay the bill in total. You might even consider paying your
bill every two weeks to keep closer tabs on your spending.
6. If you need help minimizing your credit card use,
consider contacting a credit bureau to freeze your credit.
You can even freeze your credit via smartphone apps. You can
always deactivate the freeze when you truly need to use
credit for a big purchase or in an emergency.
7. Delete your saved credit card information from accounts
with merchants such as iTunes or Amazon. Taking the time to
enter payment information manually means more time to
consider a purchase before completing your order, which can
reduce the likelihood of overspending.
8. Consider keeping your credit cards in a secure location
that is not your wallet. If you do not carry your credit
cards around with you, you are less likely to use them.
A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professional can help
you manage your spending without accumulating credit card
debt. To find a CFP professional near you, visit
By sticking with a budget and staying on top of bill
payments, you can avoid the stress and financial
consequences of credit card debt.