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Know your debts: The good and bad of credit cards

There are many different reasons that you can fall into credit card debt. Maybe you needed to finance your schooling, or you decided to put the purchase of a vehicle on a credit card. Maybe you opted to use credit to furnish your home or to buy groceries when you were short on your paycheck.

Regardless of the reason, if credit card payments are piling up and you're struggling with the debt, it's a good idea to start looking into ways out. Here are a few tips for keeping your credit debts low and getting out of debt sooner.

-- Know your limits

People who use credit cards and know what they can afford do best with them. You can use your cards regularly and pay them off when the bill arrives, for example. Some people do this to collect points on their cards for vacations or other freebies, but it's important not to overspend.

-- Taking a short-term loan is sometimes okay

If you know you need a loan for only a month while you wait for a paycheck or need to furnish a new home that you can't afford to furnish all at once, then using your credit cards makes sense. You can pay down that debt over the next few months, and you'll be free of debt again. It's not as good of an idea to purchase an item if you can't afford to pay it off in a few months, because interest rates pile up and end up costing you hundreds.

-- Know when too much is too much

Debts pile up quickly, and if you fall behind on payments, you could struggle to catch up due to fees and charges. Consolidating your debts or negotiating down your payments or interest could help. These are a few possibilities that your attorney can help you with if you find yourself in over your head.

Source: CreditCards.com, "8 things you must know about credit card debt," Erica Sandberg, accessed April 21, 2017

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