NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Credit might be necessary, but it doesn’t have to be a necessary evil. In fact, if you use credit appropriately and intelligently, it can be an outstanding tool. For people who aren’t carrying a balance, credit can be a tool to a better life. But you've got to use your credit cards the right way. So how do you do that? Here are some regular habits for you to get into to ensure that your credit cards add to your life rather than taking away from it.
Save the Receipt
Mike Sullivan, the director of education with Take Charge America, keeps the receipts for everything he buys with a credit card.
"There are lots of scams where people are putting in false charges," he says. "A lot of times these charges are very small." So keep your receipts and compare them to your statement every month. If there’s any discrepancy, follow up immediately.
Don’t Mistake Your Credit Card for Income
Randy Padawer, a consumer advocate and credit expert with LexingtonLaw, points out that "many people think that shiny new credit card is an extra $15,000 in income." Of course, it's the opposite that’s true.
"A credit card isn’t wealth -- it's debt," he says. "And some of the most expensive debt you can get."