Sit down and come up with a realistic monthly budget. One that pays all your bills, other expenses (put in some for entertainment and other expenditures you know you’ll have), and some amount for savings. Be sure to estimate some for car repair, insurance, and other infrequent expenses that you know you’ll have at some point. Put the money aside in your savings account to cover those infrequent bills (don’t include them as your regular savings–they’re in addition to regular savings). Then, no matter how tempting, do not go over that budget.
If you keep to your budget, it shouldn’t matter how you pay for items (cash, credit card, etc.)–you should be able to pay off that credit card balance in full every month. Do pay it off each month. Don’t tempt yourself with the thought of letting the balance build a bit while you indulge yourself for a while.
That said, you may have an emergency where you’re faced with either depleting your savings entirely or charging the entire thing when you know you can’t pay it off the next month. I prefer to deplete my savings down to a certain minimum level (I need something in case I get laid off) and charging the rest. Then I sit down and adjust my budget so I get the credit card paid off in a few months (like 2 or 3). Those months can be painful–but not as painful as getting into long term credit card debt.
If you find you’re having those “emergencies” frequently (massive car repair one month, emergency travel to see sick family members a few months later, etc.) then you probably haven’t estimated your budget correctly. Sit down and adjust the budget so you have more in reserve.
It’s good that you have a $2000 limit. You probably can’t get into too much trouble with that. Keep it at that limit till you know whether or not you’re likely to succumb to temptation and go over your budget. Your credit card company may raise your limit without telling you. Don’t let them till you know you’re responsible with it. Also, for the first couple months, keep track of all expenditures you make by credit card. They’re easy to forget. Save the receipts and keep a running total so you’re not surprised when you get your bill.
Even if you don’t plan to use your card much, there are times (like renting a car or a hotel room) where you pretty much have to use a credit card. So don’t worry that it won’t get used!