Since credit cards don’t come with manuals that teach you how not to get buried in debt and saddle yourself with ludicrous interest rates and fees, it’s best to start slowly and work your way into a comfort zone. Use credit with discipline and it can yield tremendous advantages.
Main Street checks in with advice on how to just that:
*Stay low. Don’t out-kick your coverage by maxing out your credit limit. Instead, stay within 5 to 10 percent of your credit limit so your bill never gets out of hand.
*Don’t extend your limit just because. After you’ve made a few payments, banks will often hike up your limit, encouraging you to spend more. You can call and request your limit stay at a certain level, and tell the bank to ask for your approval before increasing your rate. If your limit isn’t high, there’s no temptation to let spending get out of control.
*Pay off balances in full. Some people fall into the habit of paying the minimum on their monthly bills just to keep the wolves at bay. Do that and your balance will take forever to shrink, causing you to cough up interest.
5 Things to Do With Your First Credit Card [Main Street]