It's fun to think about a life with "no limits," but in the real world a limit can be a good thing. Some help us avoid making mistakes, like speeding or using too much cellphone data. The same goes for deciding to set a limit on credit card spending. Bottom line, it's all about a healthy level of control.

Know the basics

Spending limits can be especially helpful if you plan to add someone to a credit card, giving them permission to make purchases on your account. That person is called an authorized user. They'll get their own card, but you'll receive the monthly statements and will be responsible for all the payments—even for the purchases your authorized user makes.

Chat about spending

A good first step toward keeping spending under control is an honest discussion—knowing what's behind a limit makes it easier for everyone to understand and stay responsible. If your authorized user is an older child, don't just lay down the law about "how much" they can spend—talk to them about the "whys" that led to your decision. This is also a good time to get on the same page about the consequences of spending too much.

With your spouse or partner, discuss the goals that you share and work together to create a budget that takes family and individual spending into account. Including spending limits as a budgeting option can help prevent overspending and help keep your family finances moving in the right direction.

Limit spending

There are a few ways to limit spending. Some issuers let you track spending by authorized user. Others let you set a spending limit for each user. You'll want to check with your credit card company about the options it offers.

Stay in control

With today's apps, online access, and mobile banking, tracking credit card spending is easier than ever. Some tools will alert you by text when your balance gets high or even when purchases are made. By keeping a close eye on spending, you're helping watch out for everyone's credit future.

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