5) Use ATM’s cautiously. ATM’s are great—I use them myself. But you need to remember at least three things: First, ATM usage makes record keeping more difficult. It’s easy to make an ATM withdrawal and forget to stub your checkbook. A few oversights like this can lead to an overdraft charge from the bank that resembles a payment on the national debt!

Second, avoid using your credit card at ATM’s because it is so easy to over-withdraw. One study showed that while the average ATM card withdrawal is $53, the average credit card withdrawal is over $120!

Third, when you do use your ATM card—try to use it at your own bank. When you use your card at another bank’s ATM, most of the time there will be additional charges.

6) Consider destroying any credit card that you don’t pay off in full each month. I know that carrying a credit card balance is almost an American institution. But if you are ever going to get out of debt and stop letting your money manage you, a good starting place is with your credit cards. I’ll have more to say about this later, but for now, suffice it to say that credit card debt has proven to be a real financial killer for many families.

For previous articles in this series:

A Budget that Could Change Your Life
Why We Hate Budgeting - But Shouldn't
Five Keys to Developing a Successful Budget
Avoid the 'Budget Busters' That Kill Us Financially

Steve Diggs presents the No Debt No Sweat! Christian Money Management Seminar at churches and other venues nationwide. Visit Steve on the Web at  www.stevediggs.com or call 615-834-3063. The author of several books, today Steve serves as a minister for the Antioch Church of Christ in Nashville. For 25 years he was President of the Franklin Group, Inc. Steve and Bonnie have four children whom they have home schooled. The family lives in Brentwood, Tennessee.

A complete financial compendium, 19 chapters
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