Boost Your Credit Card IQ

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It’s easy to get in over your head with credit cards. But if you use them in an intentional way, you can free up some valuable perks, like airline miles or cash back on gas and groceries.

We geek out on strategies to make credit cards work for you, without getting out of control on spending.

Here’s what to remember:

  • Use credit cards that have the best rewards on the things you spend the most money on.
  • Protect your credit score: Always pay off your balance, don’t spend more than 30 percent of your credit limit and don’t cancel a card you’ve had for a long time.
  • Don’t out-game yourself by accepting too many new cards with sign-up bonuses.
  • Know yourself: If you’ve had trouble with running up debt, don’t tempt yourself with more cards. A card with a low limit can help curb spending.

Listen to Secrets To Saving And Investing for more on managing your money.

Life Kit is NPR’s family of podcasts for navigating your life — everything from finances to diet and exercise to raising kids. Sign up for the newsletter to learn more and follow @NPRLifeKit on Twitter. Email us at lifekit@npr.org.

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