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Things You Should Better Entrust to Professionals

Things You Should Better Entrust to Professionals
There is something incredibly satisfying in taking something outside your area of expertise, figuring it out, and doing it yourself, even if it is something as trivial as a bit of carpentry or home improvement. However, there are areas that amateurs should better leave alone—for whatever reasons. Here is the list of some things that may blow up in your face (sometimes literally) if not left to professionals.

1. Web Development

Learning a little bit of web design isn’t hard and, actually, it’s quite useful—it pays to know how things on the Internet work, if only at a very basic level. However, any serious work in this sphere—like setting up your own standalone website—requires, well, serious knowledge, training and experience. Trying to build your own website after learning the basics is about the same as believing you can build a house because you know how to whomp up a stool. Do you know how the testing is done? Have you heard about agile methodology? Do you know which tools are used in the industry today? If not, can you afford to study it all full-time?

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2. Home Improvement and Interior Design

Some people possess an innate sense of style and appropriateness; others don’t. But even if you are one of the chosen few, it doesn’t mean you are automatically good at it. Firstly, the sense of style needs training to really shine. Secondly, a professional interior designer knows a lot of technical stuff you’ve never given much thought to: how colors work together, how lighting influences the whole picture, which hardware is used in this or that case and much more. Thirdly, if you have no experience in home repairs, God forbid you from trying to do anything substantial—this may lead to problems that are much greater than mismatching colors.

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3. Car Maintenance

This is another area that is dangerous to venture into if you don’t know what you are doing—and in this case you don’t only endanger yourself, but all the people around you. Of course, if you like tinkering with your car, it is absolutely normal to do so. But if you have only a vague understanding of what’s under the hood and suddenly decide to do the maintenance and repairs on your own, you are likely to be in for some trouble sooner than you expect. You’d better find a proper repair shop and visit it regularly.

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4. Health Issues

Theoretically we all understand that our health isn’t something to trifle with and, if anything, the thing that demands professional attention the most. But when it comes to practice we are all too eager to trust our own experience, or remember what somebody once told us, or believe in unquestionable authority of our maternal Grandma who always treated back pains with copious amounts of booze and lived to a hundred, bless her soul. One doesn’t have to describe possible results of self-diagnosis and self-treatment—it may work, at least if the problem is not too severe, but alternatively, it may end in permanent injury or death. Is the risk really worth it?

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5. Finances

Money is always at the base of everything, yet the majority of people have little to no idea of how it actually works and what to do with it. And learning is not an option for everybody—it is an extremely complicated subject demanding complete commitment. Thus, finding a good financial assistant may be all the difference in the world—or at least, all the difference between financial security and ruin.

These are, of course, not the only things better left to professionals—but mistakes in these areas are among the most dangerous you can make. So, if you don’t know something—don’t be too proud to ask for help!

Featured photo credit: handshake/Broad Bean Media via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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