Credit cards can be useful if used in the right way. However, if you abuse the credit available to you, you will end up in big financial trouble that will be difficult to recover from.

If you use your credit cards for impulse buying, you may have a problem. You really need to stop and think before reaching for that credit card. Can you afford what you are actually going to buy? If you find yourself constantly using credit cards to pay for impulse purchases without checking your bank account, this is a bad sign and you need to rethink your actions. Before using your credit card, you need to really consider the item that you are about to purchase and whether or not you are going to be able to make the payment when your credit card bill comes.

Another sign that you are letting your credit cards get the best of you is if you choose not to budget. Maybe you avoid budgeting because you know you have more going out than what is coming in. Perhaps, you are afraid to see just how much you have overextended your finances. But, the sooner you buckle down and budget, the sooner you will be able to get a handle on your credit card situation.

You know you have a problem when you receive your credit card bills, but never open them. Maybe you put them up somewhere out of sight so you don't have to worry if you will be able to make the payment. Ignoring the credit card bills will not make the problem go away. In fact, the longer you ignore your obligations, the worse your situation will become. You need to open each bill every month and pay at least the minimum. If you don't at least pay the minimum, not only will you owe the balance on your credit cards, but you will start racking up some hefty interest and finance charges. So, facing your bills head on is the best thing you can do. Also, many credit card companies offer tools to help you to set up a bill payment schedule and to control other activities relating to your credit cards.

If you start falling behind on your payments, you know that your credit card problem is getting out of hand. Not only will you still owe the balance on your credit cards, but with every missed or late payment, you are adding large interest and finance charges to your balances. And, don't forget the late fees. So, by missing payments or being late, your balances actually grow larger. This is also one of the most damaging things you can do to your credit rating. If you are unable to make the minimum payment, call the credit card companies and ask about a hardship program. Contact them before they start contacting you every day. Most likely, they will be able to work out a payment plan with you. Face your creditors. They are more willing to help you than what you think.

Monique Rowe is a writer for, a website dedicated to providing people with information about credit card debt reduction.