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10 Financial Lifehacks to Bear in Mind This Fall

10 Financial Lifehacks to Bear in Mind This Fall

For some people, fall is just another time of year. For others, it is a time to prepare for holiday season spending. But no matter which group you belong to, you will want to meet this season in better financial condition. This list of financial tips will help you make your money go further.

1. Pay Debts Down with Zero Interest Credit Cards

If you have a credit card with a large balance and the zero interest period is coming to an end, you may want to open a new card and transfer the balance of the old card to the new one. This way the balance will fall within the new zero interest period (sometimes up to 18 months). There will be a charge of about 3%. But if your debt is large enough, it will pay off.

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2. Ensure Your Savings Account Is Up to Date

Seasons change, and financial situations change. Your old savings account may be obsolete by today’s standards. Check here to see if you are getting the most out of your money.

3. Pay Your Insurance Policy a Year Ahead

If you have an insurance policy you are willing to keep for at least a year, consider paying for it in an annual lump sum. This way you will not have to worry about monthly payments, and you will save considerable amounts of money.

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4. Save on Airfares by Browsing Anonymously

A lot of airfare comparison sites keep track of their visitors to see if they visit them repeatedly. If you do so, it tells the site that you are actively looking for something and are ready to pay more. So they raise their prices on you. Hiding yourself may be achieved by simply cleaning up your cache or entering incognito mode in your browser.

5. Learn About Debt Consolidation Loan Coverage

If you have a lot of loans to pay off, consider consolidating them. Take out one loan to deal with all the rest. It will simplify your financial situation and help you get a lower interest rate. However, if you are worried that you may get into even more trouble, consult an expert, or at least read about debt consolidation loan coverage to find out more about companies in this line of business.

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6. Check Out the Extras In Your Health Insurance Policy

Health insurance policies may cover much more than meets the eye. It may be anything from gym membership and birth control, to eye surgery and acupuncture. Some of these things may be extravagant or useless for your situation, but a careful glance at your insurance policy is always a good idea.

7. Time Your Car Purchase

If you are going to buy a new car, consider contacting a car dealer late in the month. They usually have quotas to meet and may give you a bargain to get their bonuses.

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8. Consult Coupon Sites Before Shopping

Look through this list of popular coupon sites when you are going to make a purchase. In addition to providing discounts for all kinds of businesses and products, it is much easier than collecting classic paper coupons.

9. Use Cash Over Credit or Debit Cards

Credit and Debit cards make money seem less real and thus easier to spend. No matter what you tell yourself, studies show that people are more reluctant to spend actual bills than abstract sums from their credit or debit cards.

10. Put off Impulsive Purchases

If you feel an impulse to buy something, put it off for a set period of time (a day, a week, a month). If that period expires and you still want to buy it, go ahead; but experience shows that in most cases the urge will disappear along the way. Some of these tips don’t look like much, but they say that devil is in the details. What looks insignificant adds up. Pay attention to these little things, and the results will surprise you.

Featured photo credit: Finance/Tax credit via flickr.com

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Melissa Burns

Entrepreneur

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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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