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6 Ways To Squeeze Free Money Out of Your Credit Card

6 Ways To Squeeze Free Money Out of Your Credit Card

It’s not every day your credit card company gives you money for free. But here are 6 bank beating strategies, and the landmines to avoid, that can help you milk your credit card for all it’s worth, on the bank’s dime.

1. 0% Balance Transfers

This strategy can save you thousands! A balance transfer is simply when you transfer high interest balances from one or more credit cards onto another credit card with a lower interest rate.

Banks are hungry for credit card balances, because they earn interest income from them. Many banks offer promotional interest rates of 0% for 12-36 months in the hopes that you’ll either miss a payment and your interest will get jacked to 19.99%, or you’ll keep your balance with them after the promotional period expires and they’ll jump your rates to 19.99% thereafter.

But if you follow the rules of the game, you really will pay 0% interest – a huge savings opportunity. For example, if you have $7,500 in credit card debt at 19.99% interest, a 0% balance transfer will save you more than $1,500 a year in interest costs alone!

Don’t be one of the fools their counting on, and you’ll be laughing your way to borrowing at 0% rates! Just make your payments on time, and find another balance transfer offer before the current one expires, and you’ll never pay interest on your credit cards again – a real bank beating strategy.

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2. 0% Interest Rates on New Purchases

If you know you’re going to make a purchase but you can’t afford to pay for it right away, let the banks front you the cash at 0%. Whether you’re buying a new sofa, dishwasher, floors or even a vacation there are tons of 0% financing offers in the marketplace. In some cases, you may even find offers where you’ll have no interest AND no payments for 12 months or more!

Just remember, the banks are betting on you missing a payment. In many cases if you do, you’ll not only have to pay interest for the payment period you missed, but for all previous payment periods in which you received 0% interest! Our recommendation is to always make your payments via pre-authorized debit, so you’ll never have to worry about missing a payment again.

Make your payments on time, and you’ll be laughing you’re way to free money.

3. Interest Free Grace Periods

Almost all credit cards offer some type of grace period, where you won’t have to pay any interest between the time you use your card and the time you have to pay back the credit card company. It can be a great tool to manage cash flow – especially for the self-employed and entrepreneurs.

In most cases credit card companies will give you a 21 day grace period from the time you receive your credit card statement. In some cases, you may get as long as 55 days (small business cards)!

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That means banks are giving you close to a month or more to pay your bills interest free!

But there’s a catch many people don’t know about. If you’re already carrying a balance, or if you’ve been late during the year, you’ll lose the privilege of your grace period, and you’ll start paying interest on new purchases the minute you make them.

4. Juicy Welcome Bonuses

Banks are competing hard for your business – especially if you have good credit and spend a fair bit on your credit card.

In fact they’re competing so hard, their willing to pay you to try their credit card, in some cases as much as a free round trip flight to Europe!

With credit card welcome bonuses as high as 100,000 miles, you can really milk the insatiable appetites and deep pockets of the banks. Think about it, just for signing-up for a credit card, you can fly from New York to L.A. absolutely free. Name another product that offers an incentive as big – you can’t.

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In fact, it’s such an effective strategy, you can apply, collect, and redeem on multiple different cards throughout the year. Just rinse, wash, repeat your way to free goodies and travel over, and over again on the bank’s dime.

5. Annual Fee Waivers

Despite offering hefty welcome bonuses, some banks will waive the first year annual fee as well – all in the hopes of removing every hurdle you may have to trying out their card. That’s a value of $120 to $150.

Think about it, you’ll get a free flight or hotel room for signing-up for the card, without having to make any commitment to the bank, at all. It’s house money.

Not only that, for an entire year you’ll get things like free lounge access, car rental and trip cancellation insurance, foreign exchange with no fees, and of course rewards on all of your credit card spend  absolutely free!

The bank is totally trying to buy your loyalty, so what of it? Be a free agent and take advantage of as many first year free credit card offers as you can – it will cost you nothing. Just make sure you have the credit to do it.

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6. Reward Stacking

Banks are willing to pay you to make purchases with their credit card. Whether, you’re getting cash back, air miles, or points, if you don’t carry a balance month to month, there is no excuse not to take advantage of free rewards.

On average, credit cards offer 1%-2% in rewards for each dollar you spend on your credit card. However, in some cases, you can hack your way to 5% cash back by combining different cash back categories from multiple cards in categories such as gas, grocery, restaurants, pharmacy and even with individual retailers such as Amazon. Why pay with cash or debit when the banks are willing to literally hand over money to you, just for your presumed loyalty?

Just make sure you don’t get in the habit of spending more, just to get rewards. Also, if you do carry a credit card balance from time to time, you’re far better off with a low interest rate credit card, than a rewards card – always.

So that’s it folks. The banks are beating at the door to get inside your wallet. They may have laid a few land mines in the fine print, but follow the right path and the prize is yours!

Featured photo credit: Credit-Cards / CC0 Public Domain via pixabay.com

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Marc Felgar

Marc Felgar is an aging, health & senior care expert focused on improving the lives of mature adults.

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Last Updated on April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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