I will be honest and say that I am technically bad at managing the many credit cards that I used to have. Yes, I had to ditch a few before I got all insane thinking about all the bills! You may consider me a typical American – about ten plastics under my account! I found them necessary for my online purchases, and for when I travel for work which is more often than the average person. I was in misery every month, just juggling between work, family, and personal finances! I came to a point where I had to set my foot down and clear my accounts before it was too late.
It all started when I literally hoarded offers for credit cards that came my way. The next thing I knew, I had cards for just about anything! I was happy with all the conveniences I was getting, not to mention rewards and cash backs that some accounts offered. What I did not know is that I was not maximizing my freebies and card potentials! I thought I had it all in control, being able to pay off everything monthly until I received two statements one month where I was charged for late fees and interests! I was at one point scared that my credit score will be hurt badly because of my seemingly negligent behavior when in fact I just overlooked!
Here are some lessons I learned from credit cards episodes that I went through:
• Having a fewer number of cards, four or five, is more manageable than eight or more. I moved my balances around, availed of balance transfer offers, and closed my other accounts properly after a couple of months.
• It is okay to request for a change in due dates for some of the cards to make sure all cards have coordinated due dates. Call customer service of your issuer and find out if they can accommodate your request. You will realize that you will save more time organizing bills when you only have one or two due dates for all the cards.
• Paying online is the best tool! There is no need to physically send checks and run the risk of forgetting one account. It is easy and saves so much time, if you think about it. Bookmark the credit cards websites for faster access.
• I considered auto-payments or auto-debit system with the bank and it worked for me. I just make sure there is enough money in my bank account to avoid overdraft issues. Payments for my cards are automatically deducted from my checking account.
It is liberating to manage accounts well!