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5 credit card mistakes to avoid making

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The road to a credit card debt pileup is often paved with good intentions. But too many well-intended moves can lead you into a financial ditch and ruin your credit.

Joseph Birkofer, principal and founder of Legacy Asset Management in Houston, says the problem starts with forgetting that credit is not free money, but a loan. To avoid that trap, he suggests mentally substituting another term for "credit" that has a less positive connotation.

"'Credit' is a good word: I'm giving you credit for that great idea. I got extra credit for that term paper," Birkofer says. "People should kind of thumbtack it to their foreheads, so to speak, that this is not a 'good' card, it's a borrowing card."

Here's how to talk yourself out of some of the worst credit card moves.




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