Credit Card Management
Dolores Kong

Control your credit cards, don't let them control
you. With credit card debt as high as $8,000 per
household (according to national statistics), too
many Americans are relying on their plastic. If you
have balances on various cards, develop an
aggressive payoff plan, focusing on the highest
interest card first. Don't just pay the monthly

Say you've been carrying a $2,400 balance from a
recent vacation on a card with 13% interest. And say
you pay only a minimum 2% of the balance. It'll take
you 243 months -or 20 years- and cost you $2,469 in
interest, for a total of $4,869. That's an expensive
vacation. But if you pay $200 a month, you could pay
the balance off in 13 months, and pay a total of
only $155 in interest. For an illustration, check
out this calculator:

And if you always pay your credit cards off and
otherwise use them responsibly, why not also make
your cards work for you with cash-back programs or
other incentives (as long as these cards don't have
hefty fees)? Check out these types of rewards: