NEW YORK, July 20, 2021 (Newswire.com) - While the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating in many ways — from loss of life to loss of jobs — this misfortune also has helped some develop better habits.
Maybe you started walking every day. Maybe you went vegan. Maybe you found a therapist you love. Maybe you started brushing your teeth before bed (though I hope you already did this). Maybe you finally started your debt payoff journey with the debt snowball method or debt consolidation.
Whatever self-care steps you took during COVID, there are many worth keeping (especially that teeth brushing one), and one of those may be how you used your credit cards. Here are a few good credit card spending habits that you might've developed in the past 16 months that are worth clinging to like the plaque on your teeth from only brushing once a day the past 29 years of your life.
Limiting your credit utilization
Credit utilization, or the amount you owe compared to your total credit limit, is a major factor in your FICO score. The unwritten credit utilization rule is to keep your ratio below 30%. But more and more, experts are recommending that you stay below the 10% mark if you want to reach the "excellent" or "exceptional" credit score range. Keeping a low credit utilization ratio can help boost your credit score and can come in handy if you're in a financial emergency and need to rely on credit.
It might be trickier for you to keep your credit utilization ratio low than it is for Ted Cruz to avoid getting ratioed on Twitter — but, on the bright side, the math is easier. If you have a credit limit of $15,000, you'll want to keep your balance at or below $1,500 to meet that 10% usage rate.
While there's a possibility that credit card issuers could decide to cut credit limits in the future for borrowers who aren't using much of their available credit, it's still a good tactic to keep your amount owed as low as possible. By keeping your balance low, you'll be one step ahead of the game.
Being more mindful about travel expenses
If the longest trip you took during the pandemic was from your bed to your couch, you probably noticed how that helped your budget and bank account. Even eliminating or lessening your day-to-day transit by working from home or cutting back on trips to the grocery store may have had a positive financial impact.
But more notably, domestic and international travel was down significantly in 2020. On April 11, 2020, TSA traveler throughput reached a low of 90,510. Comparatively, on the same day in 2019, there was a traveler throughput of 2,446,801 and, in 2021, it still hadn't quite returned to normal at 1,561,495.
Many millennials have no regrets about going into travel debt but, unlike always spending the extra $2 to add guac, that doesn't mean it's a good idea.
Maintaining a mix of paying off debt and saving
A big question in personal finance is whether to prioritize paying off debt or building up savings, and the answer isn't so simple. Ideally, you want to do both at the same time. Even if you haven't hit the recommended three to six months of expenses mark in your emergency fund, that doesn't mean you should keep adding to savings while ignoring your debt.
At the same time, you don't want to pay off all your balances each month with $0 sitting in your savings. It's important to find a happy medium.
Source: iQuanti, Inc.