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A Quick Rule of Thumb

A Quick Rule of Thumb

The average American who has a credit card also has over $10,000 in credit card debt. To help you keep your credit card debt from getting too high, follow this simple rule of thumb: If you are about to make purchases that you will "consume" quickly – like meals, entertainment, clothes, etc. – and you can't afford to pay off those charges at the end of the month, don't use your credit card. Over time you'll pay a lot of money in interest charges for the privilege of consuming items that don't have lasting value. And as your balance increases your monthly payment increases, too, making it harder and harder to afford the things you need to buy. Use credit cards for emergencies or for significant purchases – otherwise, pay cash or consider delaying the purchase or even doing without.

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