Don't let job trouble turn into credit card trouble

Using a credit card
Using a credit card

Despite experts now saying the recession officially ended in June, the job market is still bleak. Many Americans have lost their jobs, had their wages or hours cut or go to work every day praying they don't come home with a pink slip. While many of us feel powerless about our employment situations, one area where we can -- and should -- take charge is in our credit card habits before and during a period of unemployment.

Many of us still have the mindset that credit cards are a good fallback if we find ourselves out of work and short on cash to pay for basic living expenses. This is a bad idea for two reasons: