The "Real Cost" of Credit Cards

Posted by Becky Gulden

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - We're kicking off our series 20 Days, 20 Ways to Survive the Economy.

We're looking at the real cost of using your credit cards.

They can be very convenient in a pinch, but they can easily trap you and end up costing you a lot of money.

If you go out and put a thousand dollars worth of holiday shopping on your credit card, most of us don't think about just how much we're really spending.

There are several websites that can you help figure out what you'll pay and for how long.  One is

The bottom line, think before you charge.

If you have to use your credit card, try to pay more than the minimum payment each month.

Missed payments and late payments will drive your interest rate even higher.

Don't use a credit card to pay off another one.

If you do get into a position where you can't pay off your card, call your credit card company and try to work out a smaller plan.

Click on the links below to see just how much you'll pay in interest if you buy $1,000 worth of stuff and pay the minimum balance off each month.

And Certified Financial Planner, John Putnam answers our viewer's questions about credit card debt.