Credit card tips for 2012

Next to losing weight, improving one's financial situation is one of the most common New Year's resolutions Americans make. To help consumers reach their goals in 2012, Time magazine offered several tips that make for good credit card management.

One of the best things consumers can do to improve their financial well-being is to rid themselves of excessive monthly charges. To do this, the source recommends consumers look over their financial statements closely to see if they are paying for memberships or subscriptions hardly ever used. If so, credit customers should contact their merchant and cancel them.

Another suggestion Time magazine recommends is only using cards that fit one's needs. If the benefits provided are no longer applicable based on a person's current situation—such as frequent-flier miles—it may be in a consumer's best interest to start shopping around for a new one.

Finally, Time advises consumers to commit to paying off their credit card balances entirely in 2012. However, once its paid off, they should not close the accounts out, as this may hurt their utilization ratios and credit scores.

Failing to pay off credit card balances in a timely fashion can often result in bad credit, which can make it more difficult for consumers to borrow at an affordable rate of interest.