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Know these dos and don’ts of credit card debt

Nobody plans to get into unmanageable credit card debt. Credit card debt is something that can sneak up little by little, or it can happen all at once from a major expense. Neither situation is desirable, but the reality is that numerous Americans live with overwhelming credit card debt.

If you are at the bottom of a mountain of debt, you may feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to help manage your credit card debt. There are also several things that you should avoid so that you do not exacerbate your debt. Take a look at some of these tips in our list of the dos and don'ts of credit card debt:

Do:

  • Create a budget and stick to it closely
  • Use your credit card only for emergencies
  • Pay the full balance each month, if possible
  • Pay all of your credit card bills on time
  • Restrict the amount of credit cards that you have
  • Read the fine print of each credit card contract
  • Consult a finance attorney who deals with credit card debt
  • Maintain accurate record of your purchases
  • Contact the credit card company immediately to report fraud or theft
  • Leave your credit card behind when you go out

Don’t

  • Charge purchases that you can’t afford
  • Use your credit card to live beyond your means
  • Buy food or take-out with your credit card
  • Take out cash advances—these result in higher interest rates
  • Purchase special services offered by your credit card provider
  • Hire a debt negotiation program—these programs usually make debt worse
  • Ignore your collection notices-- respond to them promptly
  • Make only the minimum payment every month. Pay more, if you can
  • Skip paying your monthly credit card bills
  • Hope that the problem will go away without help

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