Regaining Control of Your Credit Cards

Most of us have credit cards, and many of us still have credit card debt.  That isn't the end of the world, until you reach the point where it seems like the credit card company has more control over you than you have over your credit card (and your debt.)  One of the keys to making sure that credit cards don't take over your life is to make good choices along the way.

If you are slipping into a situation where your credit cards and the issuing company are running your financial life, check out this post at  Gather Little By LittleCredit Card Companies – How to Really Stick It To Them.  While I'm not sure that I agree with the title, I do like the premise of the article, which is that you need to make sure that you are doing everything you can to keep your costs down and not give the credit card companies any more of your money than necessary.

I recently took advantage of an excellent balance transfer offer:  no transfer fees and ZERO percent interest for 12 months.  It took a little bit of effort to get the balances neatly transferred but I'm saving nearly $100 a month in interest.  That extra money will get the bill paid off that much faster!  These offers are getting hard to find but if one comes your way, be sure to take advantage of it.  (Mine was a selective offer from an existing account, or I would share it with you.)

I also make my payments well before the due date to ensure that I don't have any late payment fees.  One time, a few years ago, I forgot to pay my husband's card on time and his interest rate went up immediately!  I don't intend to make that mistake again.  I pay online because I find it easier for me, but you may prefer to pay at the bank if that helps you feel in control of the situation.

If you are working on paying off credit card debt, it is essential that you do everything you can to keep your fees and interest low.  Low interest balance transfers and on-time payments will help keep your payments working toward paying off the balance instead of filling the credit card company's bank account.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.