Mistakes with credit cards are one of the leading causes of financial trouble in the United States. Many people have multiple cards. This allows them to spend far more than they would actually make during the month. They find themselves suddenly unable to pay off all of that debt when it comes due.

Here are a few common mistakes that can lead to problems:

  1. Paying the minimums and no more. Sometimes, people who get their first cards think that all they need to pay is the minimum. They don’t realize how much additional debt this creates in interest.
  2. Exceeding your earnings. As noted above, spending more than you earn may feel like it “works” at the moment, but there will come a time when that money is due.
  3. Acting like you get free money. Credit cards are anything but free. In fact, misusing the loans can be very expensive.
  4. Thinking only about the rewards. Those rewards are a nice perk but spending extra to get them never works out in the end financially.
  5. Missing payments. Some people skip them intentionally; others miss them accidentally. Either way, it can create problems.

If this sounds bleak, you should know that there is good news. You may have some legal options when facing overwhelming debt, such as declaring bankruptcy. In some cases, this may help you work through past mistakes, get a fresh start financially and move forward with a positive outlook and a plan to use cards differently from here on out. In fact, cards can be one of the best ways to build up your credit. Just make sure you know what steps to take.