My best friend once gave me this advice: you can't think clearly if your workspace isn't clean. The same advice is applicable to managing your credit cards as well. Keeping track of due dates, statement dates, annual percentage rates, and utilization ratios, for example, requires a management tool. Without one, I'd argue that you're no different than the kid who can't think clearly because his desk is cluttered with a bunch of garbage.
Because I have a host of credit cards, with different pay dates, it's imperative that I track my cards closely. To do that, I use an Excel spreadsheet. The spreadsheet should track pay dates, annual percentage rates, utilization ratios, credit limits, credit balances, etc. I use a spreadsheet that was created by a member of creditboards.com. It's the best spreadsheet I've ever seen. And I use it religiously.
Given how important it is to never be late -- especially in the current credit environment -- having a spreadsheet that tracks your financial life is a no brainer. Let's face it, without a spreadsheet that keeps track of our various credit cards, it's easy to miss a payment. It's just the nature of the beast (and it's the nature of having a bunch of cards without also having a plan to keep track of them). None of us are infallible. Using a spreadsheet, however, minimizes the risk for us. It ensures that we won't have an excuse for ever being late.
Now that I have sold you on the idea of tracking your credit card portfolio, head over to creditboards.com to download a copy of the spreadsheet I use. It's free and it's not a commercial product. I'll let Joe -- the creator of the spreadsheet -- know that all of my readers thank him for the new tool.
Without further ado, then, the spreadsheet can be found here.