How Big is Your Credit Card Balance?

by David Ning · 22 comments

The holiday season is undoubtedly the happiest time of the year for many people. At the same time, it’s also one of the most costly.

One of the great benefits of having my credit card where I bank is that the credit card balance is right there staring me in the face every time I log in to check my account balance (a task I embarrassingly admit that I do a bit too often).

I noticed something a little surprising a few days ago – my balance is 3 times monthly average. As I look into the details and think back, every transactions was authorized by me. No fraud, and no one else to blame. No doubt the holiday mood helped ease my spending decisions, but wait, this card is for business expenses?.?.?

Even with my websites, Santa didn’t let up. Maybe the higher spending will lead to better growth in the coming months, but that’s an entirely different topic. At the end of the day, I still spent more than I normally would have.

How about you?

What is your credit card balance right now? I know we are approaching the last week before the holidays, and during this time is usually when emotions are high and spending is even higher. All I ask is this: Don’t let all the holiday season affect your spending habits to a point that you will regret it.

Just take a quick look at your spending this month, and promise me you will stay the course. You may feel a little put off by this, considering that we are all happy and looking forward to the few days off, but many of you will thank me come January. Trust me.

Can you believe that Christmas day is next Friday? Have you gone off track with your spending this month or is everything still on budget?

Let us know. We can help each other.

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  • Annie G says:

    Close to $4000 right now. We pay off every month, usually knocking it close to $0, regardless of the bill amount. The last couple of months, on top of Christmas spending, we bought a couch, TV, and paid our car insurance bill, so it’s running a bit higher than typical, and significantly higher than the rest of 2009 when we were anticipating a layoff (dodged it, thank goodness).

    And we do use the credit card for everything but the mortgage – love that cash back.

  • MoneyReasons says:

    Our credit card usually averages around $1,900. But this Christmas, it’ll probably be around $2,600. This is a low balance for us at Christmas, but we just came back from a Disney Vacation in November, so we’re all cashed out 😉

    We pay our credit card balance off each money, and with the Disney extra expense, it was really hard this year.

  • Daniel says:

    I just had a $1,300 balance (it gets paid off every month), but I didn’t like that it was so high compared to the limit of $5,000, so I paid off $500 in the middle of a billing cycle so I won’t have anything hanging over my head. Should I increase my credit limit? How will that affect me going forward? If in 6 months I want to open a new credit card, will they see that I already have credit? Or will my responsibility be rewarded in a higher limit on that card?

    • MoneyNing says:

      A higher credit card limit is considered a good attribute in terms of credit score because part of your score is your credit utilization rate.

      You should ask for a credit limit increase as long as you won’t be using that limit just because “you can”.

  • John DeFlumeri Jr says:

    Three or four thousand, but it fluctucates wildly all the time.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  • wrc1000 says:

    We use the credit card for “everything” each month: gas, groceries, restaurants, etc. Pay it off monthly (20-30 days of interest free loan and 2-3% cash back – around $600-800 per year on 3 different cards). Mortgage and utilities are only things that don’t/won’t go on a credit card. Monthly expenses are about 40% for mortgage/utilities vs. 60% “everything else” on credit cards each month. This month is not that much over, the credit card billing cycle closed yesterday, so buying the gift cards today will give me 30 days of float on those coming due.

    • Daniel says:

      Won’t it be more like 50 days? If it closed yesterday, then your billing cycle for 12/16-1/15 shouldn’t be due until early February.

      • wrc1000 says:

        Um . . . let’s see: billing period ended on 12/16, next cycle closes 01/16, and the bill for that is due around 02/10 – you’re right, thanks

    • MoneyNing says:

      I’m the same in that I try to put everything on my credit card to take advantage of the cash back. I sometimes do wonder though whether that approach is worth it because if I had NO credit cards, I’m sure there were times that I would’ve just skipped purchases all together, which would add up too.

      • Daniel says:

        Yah, but the added convenience of credit cards is definitely worth something. So is not having the hassle of carrying around coins.

      • wrc1000 says:

        If we did decide to go back to cash, because of the credit card cycle we are on (30-50 days of “float” mentioned above) we would actually have to “save” at least one months expenses (or a little more) when the “float” disappears . . . not to mention the inconvenience of walking from the pump to pre-pay the cashier for gas, rather than just paying at the pump . . . we also recently opened a “backup” credit card (not a debit card) with our credit union (which does our checking/savings accounts) in case our current cards start charging yearly fees, which I will not pay . . .

  • Jane says:

    My credit card will be paid off at the end of this month. Yay. And I’m right on track with my budgeted spending on gifts. This year I started putting away a specific amount each month to pay for all the gifts I buy throughout the year. It worked well. Another Yay.

  • Mrs. Money says:

    Mine’s $0 right now and will stay that way. 🙂 I’m not adding any gifts to my credit card.

  • Sandy says:

    Great question. I just checked and it was twice as high, but only because of all the gifts that I purchased. It’s well within our budget still.

  • Craig says:

    My current balance is just the Netflix and Gym subscriptions I have although I’m sure there will be some gifts added to it soon.

  • K at Resqdebt says:

    Every person should ask himself or herself this question. Being aware of your credit card balance is the first and most obvious step in keeping yourself from falling deeply into debt. Unfortunately, too many Americans fall into that trap. Thank you for calling attention to this single vital step in breaking the debt cycle.

  • Amy says:

    My current balance on my credit card is about $115. But, that is all budgeted for. I just like the convenience of using a CC. I have been debt free for over a year. I did spend about $10 more than normal for gifts this year, but I was still able to pay for it without going into debt.

  • marci says:

    Mine has the last oral surgeon’s bill on it – out of town root canal who wouldn’t take a check – and that will be paid off when the bill gets here.

  • Lulu says:

    My credit card balance is currently $2348 (down from about $12,000). I am planning on getting rid of that balance in 2010…..

  • George says:

    Great question. Instead of “What can I buy?” we are asking “What is my balance?” Maybe we can think twice before spending money we don’t have.

    My credit card balance is $0. I don’t have any credit cards.

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