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The official government website is located at Here you will be allowed to get a free copy of your credit report every year. This will allow you to see the items posted to your credit file but it will not provide you with your credit scores.

How To Avoid Overspending When Using Your Credit Cards

In some ways credit cards make shopping easier.  They can be used online where real cash in your pocket is just not an option.  If you lose your credit card you have options for canceling and coming out of the situation without loss.  A credit card is usually easier to carry than a wad of cash.  You don't have to constantly run to the bank or ATM to get cash before going shopping.

However, this ease of use can make it so much easier to also get in trouble with your finances.  It is easy to lose track of just how much you have spent and when the bill comes in at the end of the month it can sometimes be a shocker.

Here are some tips to help you avoid overspending while using your credit cards:

Keep up with what you have spent

Even if you have to write down every purchase and keep a running total.  With technology available today you may be able to keep this total using something like your blackberry.  I have a friend who keeps up with the last price they paid for things like cat food, paper towels, etc. using his blackberry.

Know Your Credit Limit

More importantly know what 35% of your credit limit is and for the benefit of your credit scores never let your credit card total go over that amount. 

Establish Your Own Credit Limit

Know your financial limits.  Just because the credit card company is willing to let you charge thousands of dollars doesn't mean that you have the ability to really pay that amount off in a reasonable amount of time without paying huge sums of interest.  Ideally, you need to be able to pay your credit card bill in full when it comes due each month.

Don't Succumb to Advertising Techniques

Running your credit up beyond your ability to pay will not make you more attractive, sexier, long term happier and certainly not smarter.  So, avoid all those purchase decisions based on all those cleverly done advertising techniques.

Avoid Shopping All Together If Necessary

Don't think you HAVE to have it just because it is on sale or there is a coupon offer.  Odds are pretty good that it will be on sale again within the next few months at that same store or another one.

Leave Your Credit Cards at Home

If you can't resist just buying stuff when you go shopping then leave your credit cards at home.  If you must do some shopping then only take one credit card with you.  But, please keep in mind the previous items discussed here before using that card.

Carry Cash

If you can't resist abusing your credit cards then leave them all at home and take cash.  When the cash is gone, go home.  You might even carry cash even when you plan on using your credit card and ask yourself before each purchase if you would spend your hard earned cash for that item, before you charge it.

It is so easy to find yourself in a position to start being late on your credit card payments because you have created a balance that requires a minimum payment above what your monthly budget will allow.

Multiple late payments will have a negative impact on your credit scores.  Before you know it you will be "robbing peter to pay paul"  in order to juggle your budget and your payments. 

If you have let your spending get out of hand you need to check credit score for free by getting a copy of your credit report and let it give you a wake-up call as to the impact that your credit card debt has had on your credit report and scores.

Some companies will provide you with free credit scores from all three bureaus if you sign up for their monthly monitoring service. It may be a good service for you to purchase for a few months so that you will get constant reminders about your spending habits.

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