Be Credit Card Smart

As we head into the holidays and the new year, it’s a good time to think about your credit card usage.
Not just what you buy, but how you’ll eventually pay for it. Gifts, parties, travel, dining out — they’re all
fun until the bill comes due. That’s why it’s smart to have purchase and payoff strategies. Having a plan
can save you trouble (and money) later.


  • Mind your budget. No, you don’t have to build a formal spreadsheet. But you should have a
    handle on the discretionary spending you can afford after necessities. Don’t let a December
    spending binge affect your financial stability for the coming year.
  • Use a debit card. Debit cards immediately withdraw from your account so big bills won’t sneak
    up. Sound Credit Union offers a Rewards debit card that lets you pay your bills in real time and
    still earn rewards.
  • Use cash. Cash may seem quaint, but it’s also tangibly different than using a magic card. When
    you have to go through the steps of withdrawing cash, counting it out and handing it to a
    cashier, you may think twice about certain purchases.
  • Netflix Night. Crowds. Parking. Expensive, tiny food. Sometimes staying home is better than
    going out.


  • Pay off your entire card balance. If you can afford it, this is the best way to use your credit card. If you don’t have an annual card fee, it’s a free loan.
  • Pay more than the minimum balance. Let’s assume you have a $2,000 balance on a card with a 14.4% APR. If you make only the minimum payment (around $50), it’ll take you 13 years to pay it off, with an ultimate cost of $3,517. Increase your payment to $65, and you’ll repay your debt in 3.25 years, at a total of $2,535. The more you pay each month, the shorter the payoff time and the less interest you’ll pay.
  • Transfer your balance to a card with a lower interest rate. Sound Credit Union is currently offering a 1.99% APR balance transfer deal with no transfer fees.

The statements and opinions on this page are claims made by Sound Credit Union and not WARM 106.9. The views and opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of WARM 106.9.