When used wisely, credit cards can be the cornerstone of a sound financial strategy. A solid credit history makes you a good credit risk and that in turn allows you to purchase the necessities of life. But credit cards can also be a slippery slope. One misstep and you’ll tumble into the abyss of credit card debt hell, a mounting spiral of missed payments, fees, high APRs, and rate increases that will take years to recover from. Only by remaining vigilant can you hope to avoid this fate. Here’s our guide to what you may experience on the way down.