If you have credit cards, but have not yet let your spending get out of hand, then now is the time to take stock of your position and make some decisions about your financial future. Ask yourself what do you want those credit cards for? Do you just want them so that you have a source of payment in emergencies, to shop occasionally online, or when you travel abroad? Or do you plan on going on a shopping spree and spending the rest of the year struggling to clear the balance? Most people do not intend to ever use up their credit limits and max out their credit cards, but it is surprisingly easy to do, and can be very difficult to undo.
In many instances, lenders know that when they give out a credit card, it is like putting someone on the edge of a cliff. While not exactly pushing you over, they do place you in a very good position if you want to just make the jump your self. It can be very unfair, and anger against some practices of the lending industry is growing. For example, in a recent case in Ireland, a woman's husband killed himself after getting into an unmanageable amount of debt using credit cards. The wife is now seeking legal advice on whether she can sue the lenders for recklessly allowing her husband to get into a position where he would feel it necessary to kill himself.
While there have been no judgements of this kind yet, and it would be an up hill battle for anyone who sought to put the blame for their spending on the lender, cases such as this are very easy for most of us to imagine. Most people know that credit card companies have given them far more than they reasonably can afford to pay back. Therefore it takes self control and discipline to keep these cards in your wallet and not over spend on them.
But as with many things in life, when it comes to credit card debt, prevention really is better than cure. One of the best practices or habits you can get into regarding credit cards is to have a direct debit set up so that you have to pay back the full amount each month. This means that while you have the convenience of using the card in emergencies or while abroad, you have a strong incentive not to let your lending get out of hand.