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Don't Save - Pay Off Your Credit Cards
In the old wisdom, everyone was supposed to set aside a set amount of money for unforeseen emergencies. However, in todays world of fast and easy credit, the first and foremost thing you need to do is pay off your credit cards! Credit card interest will eat you alive! Sure you can get an introductory interest rate of 5% however, in 6 months or less you will pay between 12-25% interest. So that means for every dollar you borrow, you pay at least 12 cents of interest. You might think thats not such a bad price to pay until you consider compound interest.
Compound Interest - Not a Good Thing
Compound interest is a good thing when you are saving money but its a bad thing when you borrow money. Lets see how compound interest works against you. Say you buy something youve always wanted for $1,000 on your credit card with a 12% interest rate. Along comes your credit card with a minimum payment of say $30. Well thats not so bad, anyone can handle a $30 payment, right? So lets see what your credit card statement would say.
1st Statement:Purchases $1000 Finance Charges 10 New Balance $1010 Minimum Payment 30
OK you think. My finance charge was $10 dollars (1/12 of 12% x $1000) thats not so bad . Is it? Lets see what happens next month.
2nd Statement:Previous Balance $1010 Payments 30 New Purchases 0 Finance Charges 10 New Balance 990 Minimum Payment 30
So after making your first payment of $30 you actually have paid off only $10 of your debt by the end of the next month because of compound interest. Pretty dismal isn't it?
How long do you think it would take to pay off your the rest of the debt making minimum monthly payments?
As you can see, borrowing money is not the best way to buy anything. Yes we all have to borrow to buy a house (which is the only tax deductible interest allowed to consumers) and a car, but using credit cards for casual everyday purchases will keep you indebted for the rest of your life. Live within your means and control your spending.
Credit Card Conclusions
1. Use credit card debt only as a last resort.
2. Try to pay off your purchases as quickly as possible. Making minimum payments will get you nowhere and will result in the most interest.
3. Don't save or invest money when you have large credit card debts. Pay off the credit cards first.
4. Tear up your credit cards if you have trouble with controlling your purchases.
Home Financial Survival Guide - Part 3 Overall Conclusions
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