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Having a credit card can help you prepare for emergencies, rent a car, or improve your credit score, but you shouldn’t use your credit card for every single purchase. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you begin using a credit card is not tracking your spending habits and choosing to spend up to your monthly limit. Here are some tips to help you manage your everyday expenses without relying exclusively on your credit card.

Save money for emergencies

Unexpected repairs, costly medical bills, and other financial emergencies are a part of life. In these situations, it can be very helpful to have a credit card on hand. However, it’s a good idea to not become completely dependent on one financial tool to cover these unexpected costs. One way to prepare for these unexpected events is by saving up an emergency fund. Whenever you have some extra income, you can keep adding to this emergency financial pool.

Keep your credit cards open

Your credit history makes up a large portion of your credit report and credit score. If you cancel your credit cards, this action will erase the good credit you have established over the years. As a result, you may find it more difficult to qualify for a future mortgage, car loan, or even an apartment lease. Instead of cancelling your credit card accounts altogether, actively limit yourself from spending your entire credit limit.

Try using a secured credit card

If you are worried about accumulating too much credit card debt, you may want to try taking out a secured credit card instead. Unlike traditional credit cards, secured credit card limits are based on an actual amount you deposit on your own. Essentially, this means you are using your own money to borrow against the card.