First Person: 3 Ways I Avoid Bank Card Delinquencies and Fees

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According to a report by the American Bankers Association, bank card delinquencies fell from 3.87% to 2.47% during the fourth quarter of 2012, which is an 18-year low.

My husband and I have always been good about avoiding bank overages, but it hasn't always been easy. In fact, we came close to falling behind on nearly everything during the recession in 2008, but struggled through and managed to keep our heads above water. Here are some of the ways my husband and I keep our finances in check so we can avoid delinquencies and fees.

Keeping our checkbook balanced

As silly as it may seem, something as simple as balancing our checkbook really does help keep us out of financial hot water. I know people who only balance their checkbook once a month, and many of them are always behind on their bills. I make it a point to account for all of our sale slips at the end of each day, and completely balance our accounts every week to ensure I know how much money we have on hand at all times.

Have a well-thought-out budget

I remember a time when I didn't run my family's finances on a budget, and expenses were always falling through the cracks. There were far too many times that we can close to missing payments entirely, which is what prompted me to start our budget in the first place. Now, I budget everything from living expenses to luxuries, and since starting our budget we haven't had any problems with missed payments.

Save for big purchases

One of the ways we used to get ourselves into a financial bind is by buying big ticket items out of our everyday money. There's nothing like learning you forgot to pay a bill or having an unexpected expenses pop up when you just spent a large sum of money. This happened to me once, and I had to return the item I purchased to avoid being delinquent on a bill. To avoid repeating the problem, my husband and I now save money outside our everyday funds to pay for any purchase over $100. Doing things this way usually means waiting a while longer to get what we want, but it's worth it in the end.

What it really boils down to is financial responsibility. My husband and I are able to avoid card delinquencies because we make an effort to keep track of our money, and make smart choices when spending it.

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