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Take Advantage of These 9 Free Credit Card Benefits and Save Big

Take Advantage of These 9 Free Credit Card Benefits and Save Big

Aside from rewards, many credit cards offer massive cost saving opportunities, but you have to know where to look and what to do.

From free travel medical insurance to low price guarantees, many of us lose out on hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars because we have no clue what benefits our credit cards provide. Others simply waste money paying for something their credit card already offers for free.

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Here are just a few of the more common, and not so common, benefits you should check your credit card for, to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

1. Out of Country Travel Medical Insurance

While not as common with U.S. credit cards, many foreign cards, such as Canadian travel credit cards, offer free travel medical insurance. If your current healthcare provider doesn’t cover you for out of country medical emergencies, you need to ensure you’re protected when travelling. Without it, you can be on the hook for the entire cost of a medical procedure or hospital stay, which can literally go into the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars.

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2. Trip Cancellation

If you get sick right before a trip and have to cancel your vacation, it can cost you thousands. Your airline may be willing to reschedule your dates for a fee, but many cruise lines and resorts will charge you the full amount of your reservation if you cancel within two months of your stay. Trip cancellation insurance will protect you for a series of qualifying events and comes free with many travel credit cards.

3.  Car Rental Insurance

If you plan on renting a car while on vacation, there’s no doubt the car rental agent is going to pitch you to take out the rental agency’s insurance. Before doing so, see if your credit card already covers you. A simple check can save you $30 a day in insurance!

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4. Price Protection

This benefit isn’t offered by many credit cards, but it’s a super valuable perk, if you have it. Nothing causes buyers remorse more than finding an item on sale days after you bought the exact same product for more. Some credit cards offer price protection, so that if you find the same item on sale within 60 days of purchase, you’ll get compensated the difference, saving you hundreds of dollars!

5. Purchase Protection

Ever break, scratch or have your sunglasses stolen just days after you bought them? If you had purchase protection on your credit card you’d be in the clear. Before going out to repair or buy another item that may have been lost, broken or stolen, make sure you’re not already covered by your credit card for up to 90 days after purchase.

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6. Extended Warranty

Ever notice that every time you buy electronics or white goods at Best Buy, Staples, Home Depot, Lowe’s or Sears somebody’s trying to up-sell you extended manufacturers warranty? Before saying yes, consider that if you buy the item with your credit card, it may automatically double your manufacturer’s warranty by up to a year or more. Often times stores charge huge sums for extended warranties, sometimes as much as 20%-30% of the value of the purchase price itself. Relying on your credit card’s extended manufacturer’s warranty is a great way to save – especially when electronic items are being replaced so quickly anyhow.

7. No Foreign Transaction Fees

If you plan on travelling out of country, re-think exchanging your money at the bank, airport, hotel or currency exchange booth. Both MasterCard and Visa exchange your foreign purchases at pretty close to the spot rate. If you get a no foreign transaction fee credit card, you’ll be getting what could be the lowest exchange rate available. Instead of paying close to 10% over and above the spot exchange rate at an airport, you’ll be paying less than 1% with your card.

8. First Checked Bag Free

Airfare is only the first in a long line of a la carte fees airlines charge to get you from point A to point B. Before dolling out $30 each way to check your bags, make sure your credit card doesn’t already cover the cost. Some cards even offer free first checked bag for you and each of your travelling companions, which could add up to hundreds of dollars saved per trip.

9. Zero Liability

If you ever see any unauthorized charges on your credit card, you’re credit card issuer is on the hook to pay the charges, not you. Whether your card was stolen, a merchant added shipping charges you did not agree to, or a subscription service enrolled you into a program after a free trial without your permission, you’re protected. Instead of contesting the charge with the merchant, simply call your credit card issuer and they’ll take up the issue with the merchant directly.

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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 June 26, 2020

25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

“How to save money fast?” This is the question asked by all of us not in the top 1% of rich people.

If you are looking for ways to drastically reduce your expenses immediately, first look at what you need to spend money on every week. And I mean really need.

You don’t really need to order in food. You don’t really need to buy expensive perfume.

Building from that, you can work out how your regular expenses can be reduced.

As for irregular expenses, they can also be deceptively costly in the long run. Once-off buys can also be tackled with some prudent planning and a little extra research.

And remember: a budgeted lifestyle does not mean a bad or boring one!

But first, understand what budget you can cut down on daily:

  • Regular expenses for the average adult (can be trimmed but not eliminated):
    • food
    • rent/mortgage
    • cell phone
    • insurance
    • socializing/entertainment
    • transportation
    • hygiene products
    • household bills
  • Irregular expenses for the average adult (can be eliminated or cut down a lot):
    • travel
    • clothing
    • medication (*depends)
    • grooming (hair, nails etc.)
    • gifts

Now, let’s dive right into the 25 ways to save money fast:

Save Money on Food

1. Bring a stock of food to the office/work

Instead of popping out for an overpriced salad and a smoothie, leave a set of basic utensils at the office as well as a stock of non-perishable goods such as tinned fruit, tuna, rice crackers and so on (try to avoid the junk food and this can turn into a pretty great diet!).

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Stocking up means you won’t forget or say “I didn’t have the time” when you rushed out to work in the morning.

2. Buy the store-brand version

Many basic foods, such as bread and milk, will taste exactly the same as their branded alternatives. Go for stuff with minimal additives and preservatives. Meat in a tube is probably insanely unhealthy!

3. Eat cheaper cuts of meat

Learn how to tenderize and flavour cheaper meat and fish, and save on the (typically) most expensive item on your grocery bill.

4. Have group dinners

If 10 friends put $5 each in the kitty, it’s pretty easy to make a giant lasagne and get refreshments, as well as hang out with your favourite people.

Save Money in Transport

5. Get a bicycle

Save on gas money and bus/metro fares with this underrated mode of transport.

6. Use public transport and/or don’t get taxis

Some places can only be reached by car. But as a good practise, check your public transport website and see if any routes pass nearby where you need to get to. Walk as much as you can.

7. Find the cheapest gas

Regularly check out where the cheapest gas can be bought.

Save Money in General Shopping

8. Shop online

Not only will you save on the gas or transport fares from going to the shopping mall but you will also find better deals

9. Sell your old stuff

Get your unwanted belongings up on eBay ASAP and earn a few dollars.

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Here’re more ideas for you: 25 Things to Sell to Make a Lot of Money

10. Bulk buying stores

For regular non-perishable/slow perishable purchases such as toilet paper, cat food, pasta, washing powder and so on, do an epic stocking-up trip to a co-op or equivalent (my mum used to go to a place that restaurants buy from).

Be wary of supermarket “deals”, as some have been found to be fraudulent after working out a simple calculation.

11. Become a flea market/car boot sale/street market guru

You can find original gifts and develop good negotiation skills at these places.

12. Generic brand medication

More often than not, the generic version of paracetamol and other basics work the same as the branded version.

13. Choose deodorant, not perfume

It blows my mind when someone drops $70 on a bottle of spray. Stick with a nice deodorant, and not only will you smell just fine but you’ll be sweat-free as well!

Cut Down on Household Expenses

14. Printing

Ink is one of the most expensive substances in the office and coloured ink is doubly so. B

e more efficient and choose black and white, and if your printer doesn’t have a print-both-sides options, just print odd pages first, re-insert the paper and print even pages.

Expand the margins of what you are printing as often as you can to save on paper.

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15. Minimize SMS and phone calls

A combination of a free chat service such as WhatsApp and a free call service such as Skype can reduce your bill to nothing (so long as you have a decent Wifi connection).

16. Shop around for insurance

Most people don’t spend enough time searching for the best insurance deal.

Keep a watchful eye out for deals and new competitors in the market.

17. Try re-negotiating your rent/mortgage

If you have built up a good credit history or a good rapport with your landlord, then chances are a frank chat about needing to tighten your spending could result in lowering your payments. You’ve nothing to lose from trying.

18. Don’t get a TV

Invest in a computer/laptop and an internet-only package. You can watch more (and often better) entertainment on the web, and skip the advertisements as well.

19. Pool your internet bill with a neighbour

My apartment building is basically a big old house split into three apartments. There are five of us in total. We pool the internet bill, making it crazy cheap.

Save Money in Socializing, Entertainment And Travel

20. Have house parties

Instead of paying for overpriced drinks, set up a series of in-house get-togethers with your friends. Everyone takes a turn, so it’s not always your house that needs cleaning.

For sound insulation, hang heavy drapes on the walls and windows. For music, invest in a good second-hand set of speakers which you can connect to your computer. Let Spotify or Grooveshark playlists do the rest.

21. Open festivals, meetups and events

It never fails to surprise me how much underground stuff goes on around me for free or for very cheap. Find out who runs the blogs and websites that list all the less well-known cultural activities.

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22. Volunteer

If you can’t pay for a ticket, volunteer and get to be there anyway.

23. Housesit

There are multiple housesitting websites offering you the possibility to avoid paying hotels and skip the discomfort of crummy hostels.

Save Money on Hygiene and Beauty

24. DIY beauty

French manicures, pedicures, waxing, eyebrows… pretty much all of these can be achieved at home (and done well) with some practise. There are plenty excellent blogs and YouTube tutorials to help.

25. Fewer haircuts/volunteer at a trainee hairdresser

If you can’t bear the risk of a trainee touching your locks, learn more ways to manipulate your hair as it grows and get haircuts sparingly. Women’s haircuts are outrageously priced in many cities.

Bonus: Effective Money-Saving Tips for Everything

Here’s a summary of what you can generally do to save more money:

  • Share/pool resources. Organize a neighbourhood sharing scheme, common resources for your apartment block or with your friends. Not everybody needs an individual lawnmower.
  • Buy energy-saving everything. The easiest way to lower your bills – replace those lightbulbs!
  • Buy in bulk. Be sensible about it (i.e. make sure you have space!), and drastically reduce weekly expenditure.
  • DIY. Skill up using YouTube tutorials on plumbing and many other essential services so you never have to pay for simple problems again.
  • Research a lot before making a decision. Most money-wasting is the result of poor preparation and planning. Don’t shirk this part just because you don’t like it!
  • Use your network. Your network is full of resources that can ease the pain of budgeting. Ask for help.
  • Stop and think. Do I really need it?

Unfortunately, there are some things that require plain ol’ giving up for the time being. This can include high-cost sports such as skiing, the latest versions of some technologies, the finest brands of food/drinks, premier seats at the opera and most other indulgences.

What is important to remember during lean times is that when you look back on your life, it will be the experiences that stand out, not the extra comforts.

Living on a budget can teach you a lot about how much you can really get out of your paycheck. We only live one life, so make the most of every penny you earn!

More Tips for Personal Finance Management

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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