It is very important to manage your debt wisely. At one time I had several department store cards that had a 19% to 21.99% APR. Fortunately I kept small balances and paid them off as soon as I could.

After educating myself on how to be financially smart I got a new credit card and closed all of my other accounts. I have had this credit card for almost 20 years and it is the only card I really need. I’ll provide some tips for what to look for in a credit card and will provide some leads for those who are interested.

Tip # 1 Shop for a card that will give you the lowest interest rate. It may be possible to find a card with a set rate plus the prime rate. Your rate would adjust up or down depending on the current prime rate.

Tip #2 Look for a card that will serve as a credit line. This is very handy if you need to finance a small project such as a home improvement, car repair, or other project and you do not want to use the equity in your home.

Tip #3 Does the card you are looking for provide cash advances and if so what is the fee for that. I have a card with a credit line. When I need to finance a project I have the company wire money directly to my checking account. This saves me the cash advance fee.

Tip #4 Some companies provide checks with your statement. Many times you can finance a project for a lower fixed rate by using these checks.

Tip #5 Transfer balance from high interest credit cards to low interest credit cards. Often you will get an initial lower rate on balance transfers as credit companies want your business.

Tip #6 Once you have your new credit card you should close your other revolving accounts – with the exception of a gas card. Manage your new account wisely, make larger than minimum payments and avoid having a running balance of over 60% of the credit amount.

Tip #7 Companies want your business. Many cards offer cash back, bonus points, discounts and more on all of your purchases. I have a friend that makes all his monthly purchases via his credit card and he earns $200 – $400 per month cash back. He does make it a practice to pay his balance in full monthly.

In today’s market it is very difficult to obtain personal loans even to consolidate debt. Shopping for a credit line is a good alternative to consolidate debts and finance small projects or businesses. Companies will automatically increase your line every so many months if they see that you are managing it properly.