How to find your financial freedom - credit tips any woman can use

Do you want financial freedom? The way that you use money, particularly credit, will decide how successful you are in making this goal a reality. The key is responsible financial management. Here are 9 credit tips every independent woman should follow.

  1. Live within your means. If you can't afford it, don't purchase it. This is the rule of thumb for successful finance management. The same applies with credit – never spend more than you will comfortably be able to repay.
  2. Track your spending. A watchful eye is better than an empty wallet! If you can keep track of where your money is going and how you’re spending it, you can make better financial decisions.
  3. Don't use credit to fund consumption. Don't live on the available balance on your credit card. Make sure to pay the outstanding balance on your credit card every month.
  4. Avoid using credit to pay off debt. Reassess your financial situation. Speak to an advisor and see what your options are. It may mean cutting back on some expenses, but it will be worth it when you reduce your debt.
  5. Never skip payments. This reflects badly on your credit score and could mean added fees and higher interest rates when you apply for other loans or forms of credit.
  6. Don't have too much debt. Apply for credit only when you really need to, or when taking a loan is unavoidable, like when you are purchasing a vehicle or buying a home.
  7. Regularly monitor your credit report. The best picture of how you're managing your finances can be seen in your credit report. Keeping a close eye on it will reveal if there are any changes you need to make, or any errors that need fixing.
  8. Diversify your credit mix. This means having various types of credit in your name. The more you diversify the money you borrow, the better, because that's what lenders like to see. However, this will still require that you manage these types of credit well.
  9. Be aware of credit card fraud and keep yourself protected. Below are some tips for keeping yourself and your money safe.
  • Don't disclose personal information, such as passwords and PINs, when asked to do so by anyone via telephone, fax or even email.
  • Don't write down PINs and passwords. Avoid obvious choices like birth dates and first names.
  • Don't use internet cafés or unsecure terminals (hotels, conference centres, etc.) to do your banking.
  • Review your account statements on a regular basis and query disputed transactions with your bank immediately.
  • When shopping online, only place orders with your card when on secure websites.
  • Ensure that you get your own card back after every purchase.
  • Report lost and stolen cards immediately.
  • Destroy your credit card receipts before discarding them.
  • Subscribe to your bank's SMS notification services to alert you to any transactional activity on your account.

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