BOSTON (CBS) – More of the tips or pitfalls on credit from The National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

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Bundling of services –

  • Tip:  Consumers can often enjoy a significant savings if they use the same provider for their land phone, cell phone, cable and Internet services.
  • Pitfall:  If you use the savings from the bundling of services for a larger, more expensive plan than you really need, it’s no savings at all.
  • Dee: I am a firm believer in having a landline phone so bundling makes sense to me whether it is with the cable company or the phone company. And you may be able to get more cable for a lower price.

If you do bundle be sure you understand the contract you have just agreed to. You could be locked into the agreement for years. Consumers now put cable and cell phones in the same category as heat and electricity. A necessity.

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Closing unused accounts –

  • Tip:  Streamlining your finances makes them more manageable.  Also, less plastic in your wallet equals fewer temptations to spend.
  • Pitfall:  Closing an account will lower your total credit line, potentially making your debt ratio worse.  Further, you’ll lower the longevity factor of your credit score.
  • Dee: If you do decide to get rid of some of your credit cards know which ones to cancel. Longevity, how long you have had your card, is a factor in your credit score. Keep the cards you have had the longest.

Also consider keeping the ones with the highest limit. Your debt to credit ratio is a factor used to determine your credit score. You do not want to be using all of the credit that you have available. If you are maxing out your cards this will negatively impact your credit score.

If your credit cards are a temptation, leave them at home and carry only the cash you need for the day.

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The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) is the organization I recommend most often to listeners whenever they tell me they need help with credit card debt. It has many local member agencies that it can recommend.