to the store a day or two late? Get them back on time and stop paying late fees; it’s money down the drain.
Another money-saving tip: sell your old clothes. “I clean out my closet once a year and sell my old clothes” to consignment shops, stores that buy and sell used clothing, she says.
- Making sure you have good credit. yes, there are positive aspects to using credit cards. Having good credit and benefiting from some of the advantages of using credit cards are important keys to staying out of debt.
- Pay your bills on time all the time. To avoid going in-to hock, keep your debt slate clean. “The best thing people can do [to maintain good credit] is to pay their bills on time and pay them early,” says Steve Rhode, president and co-founder of Debt Counselors, a debt-counseling service based in Rockville, Maryland.
- Rhode notes that with companies shortening their grace periods, it makes more sense than ever for consumers to pay all their bills in a timely fashion.
- Use credit cards wisely. Experts point out that consumers use credit cards the wrong way, running up big balances they’re unable to pay off quickly. That harms your ability to build wealth, not to mention the damage it does to your credit history. “You should have three cards, at maximum. Those are the only cards you need,” says Luther Gatling, president and co-founder of Budget and Credit Counseling Services (BUCCS) in New York City. He recommends you have three different types of cards: one you pay back in 30 days, a revolving card and a debit card.
There are several warning signs that indicate you’re not using your credit cards properly. If you’re only able to pay the monthly minimum, if you have to borrow from family and friends to make payments or if you have to take cash advances from your