Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

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MnD
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by MnD »

The OP is talking about comfort level with "the float" which are the credit balances that are not due yet and do not accrue any interest charges.

We pay statement balances on the due date by pull from the credit card company. Not one penny more and not even 1 day earlier.
Charge everything possible using a 4-card system that yields about $5000 benefit annually (about $4K for leisure travel and $1K cash back).
Cash yield on float balance adds another $300 per year in my pocket. I don't walk past hundred dollar bills laying in the street either.

Paying the card balance versus the statement balance is suboptimal financial management given that totally safe cash options such as money markets and t-bills are now yielding more than 2%. Logging on frequently or even daily to pay new charges is an even worse idea. Not to mention the added time and complexity of these "pay ahead" systems. All my cards close and are due on the same day of the month and given virtually all expenses are charged, I get a financial "close" 28 days ahead of the payment of expenses for a month. The federal reserve had adjusted their measures of consumer debt for the pay statement balance in full approach used by many households such that the interest free float is now considered cash management versus debt utilization in their reporting. I'd speculate those that many that can't tolerate the float have had past problems with credit card debt.
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NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

Total comfort with whatever balance is on the cards. Pay the statement balance on the due date. Check a couple of times a month to make sure no strange charges are cropping up, but no anxiety about the balance that would prompt me to pay anything early. Except when we had both a vacation and a remodeling charge hit the same week, and paid early to free up credit.
Wakefield1
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by Wakefield1 »

Don't like to owe anything on the two credit cards. One of them can be paid online from my checking account within a couple days of use. The other one,I keep zero owing statement stubs around so that I can pay it off before the new bill comes. I keep that credit card around because it is less likely to get fraudulent charges on it-has "Shopsafe" which generates throw away numbers to use with one merchant or one time purchase.
Jelloanddon
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by Jelloanddon »

oldcomputerguy wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:45 pm
khangaroo wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:37 pm Just wondering what's everyone's comfort level is with their credit card balance.
Zero comfort level. Any outstanding balance at all on any of my credit cards makes me itch. I check the card balances daily, and pay them off two to three times a week. Excessive, perhaps, but that's just me.
I do the same. I use Mint and hate to see any balance. I usually pay any pending amounts before they hit.
H-Town
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by H-Town »

livesoft wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:43 pm Unless my interest rate is 0%, I pay it off every month. If my interest rate is 0%, then I pay the required monthly minimum until the last month possible, then I pay it off.
Pretty much this.
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by jgdsss »

Was just discussing this the other day. Currently have $5k in cc debt that we acquired from husbands recent cataract surgery. They offered a care credit card with 0% for 18months. I’m leaving cash in our high yield savings and just paying off the cc from there. It didn’t make sense to pay in cash when I can get 0% financing and still earn a better rate from that cash.
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oldcomputerguy
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by oldcomputerguy »

Jelloanddon wrote: Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:46 pm I do the same. I use Mint and hate to see any balance. I usually pay any pending amounts before they hit.
In fact I would love to do that, but unfortunately my credit card company won't let me pay charges until they post.
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grettman
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by grettman »

oldcomputerguy wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:45 pm
khangaroo wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:37 pm Just wondering what's everyone's comfort level is with their credit card balance.
Zero comfort level. Any outstanding balance at all on any of my credit cards makes me itch. I check the card balances daily, and pay them off two to three times a week. Excessive, perhaps, but that's just me.
Same here. If I charge 60 dollars on Monday, I transfer 60 dollars Monday evening. If I charge 20 dollars on Tuesday, i transfer 20 dollars Tuesday eve. I accept that I am obsessive but I grew up in a trailer raised by a single mom who was saddled with debt most of her life. Weird things happens to your thinking about money when you have a bad history with it. I don't agree with D.R. about a lot of things but I do chuckle when he says using a credit card is like playing kissy face with a snake.
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by davidsorensen32 »

It’s like cancer. The tumor will keep growing till it kills its host. Surgically Cut it off as soon as you can. And make sure it doesn’t grow again
khangaroo wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:37 pm Just wondering what's everyone's comfort level is with their credit card balance.

I used to pay off my credit card balance every month but have been focusing on saving for a down payment for a duplex therefore my credit card isn't getting paid in full each month. I haven't had to pay CC interest for years now and don't expect to since I pay more each month than my monthly carry-over balance. I align myself with Dave Ramsey therefore I'm debt-adverse but not a zealot like he is.

My goal is to not pay any interest and/or keep the balance below $1k. I mainly use 1 CC other than an Amazon CC for misc. purchases.

What is your relationship with your credit card balance or do you just pay it off each month?
MnD
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by MnD »

All my cards have 28 day average grace periods and we charge virtually all expenses - so the sum of interest free account balances range from roughly 1 month expenses right after paying the statement balances in full to roughly 2 months expenses right before making those payments. Its a useful and quick measure of spending that's updated daily by aggregators. So average float balance is about 1.5X monthly expenses. That's not even a remotely scary number in relation to savings, investments or any other measure of our financial well being. All cards have been set to same statement date so all monthly expenses are paid on the same day.

CC usage results in a few thousand $ in travel and cash back rewards and a few hundred in earnings off the float- what's not to like! And risk free savings rates keep going up making the float increasingly valuable. I didn't know paying more than needed to avoid interest on credit cards was really a "thing" but I guess it is after reading this thread and I've decided I like it (for other people). It makes more profit for the credit card companies because they still get the exchange fees but don't have to finance the float for "early-payers". That frees up more profits to make their stock prices higher which we all own in index funds and maybe allows more cash back and points credit card goodies for me. :twisted:

This thread is eye-opening at the level of discomfort that some people have with using credit cards, but still opt to do so.
For example a few post up being frustrated that one can't pre-pay a credit card pending charge that hasn't even posted yet.
I had no idea and it begs the question - why not just use a debit card?
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by drawpoker »

MnD wrote: Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:54 pm This thread is eye-opening at the level of discomfort that some people have with using credit cards, but still opt to do so.
For example a few post up being frustrated that one can't pre-pay a credit card pending charge that hasn't even posted yet.
I had no idea and it begs the question - why not just use a debit card?
A debit card does not carry the same level of federal (law) protection that a credit card does.

If a thief is able to steal your debit card, discover your PIN # and cleans out your entire bank account - the burden is on YOU, not the bank, to prove you were a victim. The bank that issues the debit card is under no obligation to replace your money in your account until you prove to them it was a thief, and not you, who took the money. With a credit card, the law limits you to no more than $50, -0- if you report the theft promptly to the card issuer.

As a practical matter, I think most longtime customers of a bank who have had no history of writing bad checks or other no-no's, and have a reputation for good character, would probably have no real difficulty in convincing the bank you got ripped off and your debit card was used in a fraud

But why take a chance?

Edit to add: Especially if you use PNC like I do. Just this week when I had to go inside for some minor matter there was yet another new branch manager. This is like the 3rd new face in less than a year. The place is becoming a notorious revolving door for both tellers and the executive staff. Nobody knows no one anymore, so much for the "Friendly Neighborhood Bank" :shock:
Last edited by drawpoker on Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
jhawktx
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by jhawktx »

oldcomputerguy wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:45 pm
khangaroo wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:37 pm Just wondering what's everyone's comfort level is with their credit card balance.
Zero comfort level. Any outstanding balance at all on any of my credit cards makes me itch. I check the card balances daily, and pay them off two to three times a week. Excessive, perhaps, but that's just me.
Doing this will negatively impact your credit score...in case that matters to you.
drawpoker
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by drawpoker »

jhawktx wrote: Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:07 pm
Doing this will negatively impact your credit score...in case that matters to you.
How?
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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by Earl Lemongrab »

Credit card balances, like other debt, don't bother me. For the most part I don't buy a lot of stuff, so my statement balances tend to be reasonably small, although last month had both my insurance payments and the water heater I bought.

I don't pay interest because that's not a good financial move given the rates. When I had the 0% rate on the BofA card I only paid the minimum until the 18 months or whatever was up.

I really don't understand paying multiple times a month.
Last edited by Earl Lemongrab on Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mptfan
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by mptfan »

khangaroo wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:37 pm What is your relationship with your credit card balance ...?
Platonic.
SlowMovingInvestor
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by SlowMovingInvestor »

Earl Lemongrab wrote: Tue Aug 07, 2018 1:15 pm I really don't understand paying multiple times a month.
In some countries (higher inflation countries), I think there is no grace period, interest starts accumulating immediately after purchase. Other than that case, I agree with you about there being no reason to pay multiple times.
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wabbajack
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by wabbajack »

MnD wrote: Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:54 pm CC usage results in a few thousand $ in travel and cash back rewards and a few hundred in earnings off the float- what's not to like! And risk free savings rates keep going up making the float increasingly valuable.
(...)
This thread is eye-opening at the level of discomfort that some people have with using credit cards, but still opt to do so.
For example a few post up being frustrated that one can't pre-pay a credit card pending charge that hasn't even posted yet.
I had no idea and it begs the question - why not just use a debit card?
Seconded. It took me a couple of years after I started using credit cards in college to stop worrying about the float, and just set up autopay for the statement balance every month. It's unnerving because all it takes is one missed payment to start racking up interest, fees, hits on your credit score, etc.
But now that I have more money and a much more established spending history, I have more confidence that I can call my CC company and clear up any issues if autopay didn't process the statement balance.
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Toons
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by Toons »

My comfort card credit balance is Zero.
Use one cash back card.
I keep it paid off,
zero,nada,nothing.


:mrgreen:
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by The Wizard »

oldcomputerguy wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:45 pm
khangaroo wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:37 pm Just wondering what's everyone's comfort level is with their credit card balance.
Zero comfort level. Any outstanding balance at all on any of my credit cards makes me itch. I check the card balances daily, and pay them off two to three times a week. Excessive, perhaps, but that's just me.
Two to three times per week is excessive, yes.
I pay my balances off twice a month, roughly on the 1st and the 16th.
Total balance, not amount due...
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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by Earl Lemongrab »

The Wizard wrote: Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:11 pm Two to three times per week is excessive, yes.
I pay my balances off twice a month, roughly on the 1st and the 16th.
Total balance, not amount due...
What's the reasoning there?
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by oldcomputerguy »

MnD wrote: Mon Aug 06, 2018 1:54 pm I had no idea and it begs the question - why not just use a debit card?
If my credit card is compromised, I'm protected, don't have to pay fraudulent charges, the credit card company will issue me a new card with a new account number.

If my debit card is compromised, the bad guys can clean out my checking account. (This in fact recently happened to my brother, He fell prey to a skimmer at a gas station.)
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JoeRetire
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by JoeRetire »

khangaroo wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:37 pmWhat is your relationship with your credit card balance or do you just pay it off each month?
I always pay off the balance each month. I view paying any credit card interest as a complete waste of money.
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The Wizard
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by The Wizard »

Earl Lemongrab wrote: Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:48 pm
The Wizard wrote: Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:11 pm Two to three times per week is excessive, yes.
I pay my balances off twice a month, roughly on the 1st and the 16th.
Total balance, not amount due...
What's the reasoning there?
Two of my three monthly retirement paychecks hit my checking account on those dates. So I try to pay off my short-term debts first...
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by indexonlyplease »

Sandtrap wrote: Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:31 am
delamer wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:49 pm You can’t both not be paying off your credit card each and not paying interest (unless you have a 0% interest rate).

What do you mean by your “monthly carry-over balance?”

If we didn’t already have the cash in the bank to buy an item, we wouldn’t put it on a credit card.

Credit cards are for convenience and reward points.
+1
Credit cards are a "debt hook" temptation to many.
Pay off the entire balance when due monthly.
j
+1 pay off the credit card each month. It does not matter if the interest is 0% or 20%.
HIinvestor
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by HIinvestor »

I just pay the statement balance in full every month. I’m fine with the float being unpaid until it appears on my CCard statement. I’ve never paid interest or late fees and never expect I will. I did use a 0% CCard and paid the minimum monthly to help purchase a van once—we paid the balance in full just before we would be charged for interest. That was the only time we’ve had a CCard balance, decades ago.
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by Independent George »

I hate the float, so I pay the statement balance the day after the statement closes. I actually disabled autopay because it would transfer on the card's due date instead of the statement close date, and I hate seeing that balance on my account. It's probably irrational, but it's not like my checking account is accruing much interest anyway.
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by MrBeaver »

One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is that proactively paying off the float prior to applying for credit or a different transaction where they do a credit pull for computing a rate charge can help substantially if your credit score is near a cutoff border that would determine different rates charged to you.

My float typically only results in 10% credit utilization. When I have a large purchase that causes utilization to go up to 16-20%, my credit monitoring services all alert me that my score has gone down by 20 points. The score simulators they provide say it would go up by 10 points if I paid off the entire balance from 10% utilization to 0%.
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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by Earl Lemongrab »

indexonlyplease wrote: Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:42 pm +1 pay off the credit card each month. It does not matter if the interest is 0% or 20%.
I don't see any point in that. I have better things to do with the money.
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by The Wizard »

Earl Lemongrab wrote: Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:43 pm
indexonlyplease wrote: Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:42 pm +1 pay off the credit card each month. It does not matter if the interest is 0% or 20%.
I don't see any point in that. I have better things to do with the money.
More power to you then...
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indexonlyplease
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by indexonlyplease »

Earl Lemongrab wrote: Tue Aug 07, 2018 11:43 pm
indexonlyplease wrote: Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:42 pm +1 pay off the credit card each month. It does not matter if the interest is 0% or 20%.
I don't see any point in that. I have better things to do with the money.
Please tell me what?

My thinking, I have never paid interest on my credit cards. Also, with even 0% interest on cards for a certain time I believe I read somewhere 80% of people never pay bill in full before interest kicks in. So best not to fall for the 0% interest.

We use to never use credit card only debit card. But years ago Bank of America gave us a cash back card. And since we keep enough cash in the back with them (not sure of the amount) we get a 75% bonus on top of our cash back we earn. So for the past 5 years we put everything on BOA card and each January I cash in and get around $2000. So, yes this works for us and easy.
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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by Earl Lemongrab »

indexonlyplease wrote: Wed Aug 08, 2018 6:50 am My thinking, I have never paid interest on my credit cards. Also, with even 0% interest on cards for a certain time I believe I read somewhere 80% of people never pay bill in full before interest kicks in. So best not to fall for the 0% interest.
Why would I care what other people do? I just set a calendar reminder for the month when the interest runs out.
We use to never use credit card only debit card.
Ugh, I hate those, won't use them. I had mine downgraded to ATM-only.
But years ago Bank of America gave us a cash back card. And since we keep enough cash in the back with them (not sure of the amount) we get a 75% bonus on top of our cash back we earn. So for the past 5 years we put everything on BOA card and each January I cash in and get around $2000. So, yes this works for us and easy.
75% boost is Preferred Rewards Platinum Honors. You have to have 100k in combined accounts. Are you saying that you have that much sitting in a bank account at BofA? That doesn't seem productive. I get the same CC rewards by having 100k of ETFs at Merrill Edge.

The BofA cash rewards card was the one that came with 0% that I was mentioning.
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telemark
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by telemark »

I use an automated payment to pay the full statement balance each month a few days before it is due, so I pay no interest. By that time I generally will have accumulated other new charges, so the current balance rarely goes to zero. I enjoy not having to think about the process: does that count as a relationship?
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by TN_Boy »

The Wizard wrote: Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:11 pm
oldcomputerguy wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:45 pm
khangaroo wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:37 pm Just wondering what's everyone's comfort level is with their credit card balance.
Zero comfort level. Any outstanding balance at all on any of my credit cards makes me itch. I check the card balances daily, and pay them off two to three times a week. Excessive, perhaps, but that's just me.
Two to three times per week is excessive, yes.
I pay my balances off twice a month, roughly on the 1st and the 16th.
Total balance, not amount due...
Well to me twice a month is "excessive." Why do this? The credit card bill comes in, I pay it off, no interest. How are you better off paying a bill before it is due?
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Earl Lemongrab
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by Earl Lemongrab »

Even if you might need to boost your score for a future purpose, there's no need to pay ahead on the card until that time comes. Scores are constantly recalculated.
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by Gretchen »

We always pay the statement balance by the due date, except on a 0% interest card. On the 0% interest card, I pay double the minimum payment just because, and then pay it off completely in the couple of months before the 0% expires. We're currently on our third 0% card, and we use the added flexibility to pay extra on the mortgage and get closer to final payoff.
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by The Wizard »

TN_Boy wrote: Wed Aug 08, 2018 1:52 pm
The Wizard wrote: Tue Aug 07, 2018 3:11 pm
oldcomputerguy wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:45 pm
khangaroo wrote: Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:37 pm Just wondering what's everyone's comfort level is with their credit card balance.
Zero comfort level. Any outstanding balance at all on any of my credit cards makes me itch. I check the card balances daily, and pay them off two to three times a week. Excessive, perhaps, but that's just me.
Two to three times per week is excessive, yes.
I pay my balances off twice a month, roughly on the 1st and the 16th.
Total balance, not amount due...
Well to me twice a month is "excessive." Why do this? The credit card bill comes in, I pay it off, no interest. How are you better off paying a bill before it is due?
Excellent question. I'm retired, but with income less than $15k per month, yet I spend thousands per month on travel, both future and current (just past).
So I need to keep a good handle on my expenses and how much I have available month to month.
I try to keep $10k in checking but last month, with property taxes and $6k in future travel payments, I was stretched.

So by paying ahead on my charges, I keep from going overboard on the recreational sector.

For people who are still working for a living and don't have 52 weeks a year of recreational time, it's a different story. I used to be there...
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Re: Comfort level with Credit Card Balance

Post by Elsebet »

I have my main CC set to autopay the entire balance every month, not comfortable with any balance. I made plenty of credit card mistakes when I was younger so I'm ultra sensitive to any balance as an older and wiser person. :)
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