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Are you new to the world of credit cards? Do you finally have your hands on your first card? Are you concerned that you could make a mistake (or several mistakes) that will affect your finances?

There’s no denying the fact that using a credit card is a big deal. While it can benefit your finances in a number of ways, a simple mistake can cause trouble both now and in the future.

Here are five tips that will help you ease into using a credit card for the first time:

1. Compare offers to choose the right credit card

One of the best ways to ensure a high quality experience is to choose the right credit card. By doing so, you’ll feel better about using your card in a variety of situations.

Do your best to compare five to 10 credit card offers online before making a final decision.

2. Have a plan for how you’ll use it

It’s one thing to have a credit card, but another thing entirely to create a plan for using it responsibly.

Will you use your credit card for everyday purchases? Just emergencies?

When you know how you’ll use your credit card, you’re less likely to make a mistake. Be patient as you feel your way through the process.

3. Track your purchases

One of the biggest mistakes you can make with a credit card is forgetting to track your purchases. No, you don’t have to record every purchase you make, but if you don’t stay in touch with your spending it can quickly spiral out of control.

Get into the habit of reviewing your online credit card account once per day. Answer questions such as:

  • What types of purchases did you make?
  • Do you regret making any purchases with your credit card?
  • What changes can you make in the future?

4. Pay off your balance in full every month

Make a promise to yourself to do this every month. When you carry a balance, you’ll get hit with a finance charge. And when that happens, you end up spending more money.

Implement a plan for keeping your spending in check with the goal of paying off your balance in full every month. You’ll never regret this decision.

5. Don’t abandon your debit card

While a credit card is useful in many situations, it’s not always the right answer. There are times when your debit card, check book, and cash are better choices.

How did you ease into using your first credit card? Did you make any mistakes? What steps did you take to avoid trouble?

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