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10 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Your Credit Card For Everything

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Using Your Credit Card For Everything

Credit cards aren’t just used to pay off major purchases anymore. You might feel silly using a credit card for a small purchase, but there are benefits to this transaction! Why else are companies putting credit card slots on drink machines? You should be using your credit card for everything—and here are ten reasons why.

1. It builds a great credit rating.

Buying things with your credit card and then paying them off each month will help you build credit. It will either help you establish a good credit score from the start, or rebuild a good credit score if you’ve had problems in the past. Make sure you’re still spending within your limit, and can afford to pay the bill off in full each month so the interest doesn’t add up and make your bill exponentially larger.

2. It’s quick and easy.

No more hunting for exact change! Credit cards make checkout easy. Just swipe your card, sign your name, and you’re done! Now with smartphone apps, you can pay with a pass on your phone. There are also cards that allow you to just “tap” the checkout machine, and the money is automatically paid!

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3. It’s great for accounting records.

It’s hard to keep up with receipts, but if you’re sticking to a budget, doing your own taxes, or just making sure you don’t get overcharged for anything, then you need to keep track of those slips of paper. If you use your credit card, however, you have a built-in list of everything you’ve purchased. You can sign on to your bank account online and see what you’ve spent over the past month to make sure you’re still on budget. You can double-check your bank balance and make sure there was no unauthorized spending. You can do all of that—and you don’t have to keep track of anything!

4. There’s no need for cash.

Forget trying to find an ATM, or paying ridiculous fees to access your own money! With a credit card, there’s no need to carry cash. Most companies have put credit card slots on drink and other vending machines, so you won’t even have to scrounge for change! This is also a security issue, because if you get robbed, you won’t be losing cash that will be unaccountable when you make a police report.

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    5. It has automated billing.

    When you get your credit card, sign up for automated billing! This means your utility bill, cell phone bill, and anything else you pay monthly can be paid automatically by your credit card. It’s a load off your mind, because you don’t have to remember countless due dates, or try to think back if you paid a certain bill or not. Then you’ll just have one date to remember—the due date for your credit card!

    6. You’re establishing good payment habits.

    Paying off your credit card balance every month will help you establish good payment habits. You’ll be paying bills on time with automated billing, and paying your balance each month, whether it’s paying it in full or paying enough to keep the interest down.

    7. You earn frequent flyer miles.

    Using your credit card will earn you all sorts of perks. Make sure you look into your specific card and see what benefits you can get. If you travel a lot, each credit card purchase will earn you frequent flyer miles, or free stays in hotels. You can also get cash back or discounts on major payments.

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    8. You can get purchase protection.

    Buying with a credit card means there’s a potential for purchase protection. Your credit card company will handle disputes for you, so if a store won’t take back a defective product, there’s a good chance your credit card company will either fight for you, or reimburse you. There’s also a built-in protection against card theft—most credit card companies will call you when they see suspicious activity. Some even block the card so the purchase won’t go through without your authorization, or reimburse you for purchases that went through with a stolen card.

    9. You get low-cost loans.

    You don’t have enough cash for groceries and bills this week, but you need them both. Use your credit card! Credit cards are like low-cost loans, because you can buy something now that you don’t have cash for, and pay it back at the end of the month when your credit card bill is due. Just make sure you know your budget and don’t go overboard by buying things you’re unable to pay back.

    10. You have a buffer for emergencies.

    Just like using your credit card as a loan system, it’s great as a buffer for emergencies. Things will happen that demand your financial attention, like your heater going out in winter, or your fridge breaking down. Can you afford to buy either of those major appliances in cash? What about hospital bills you didn’t expect? Most people don’t have that kind of cash on hand, but again, with a credit card, you can take out a type of loan. Buy what you need and start to pay it off over time on your credit card.

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    Featured photo credit: mueritz via flickr.com

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    Published on September 17, 2018

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

    Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

    With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

    So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

    1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

    It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

    You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

    So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

    2. When you want something big, wait

    Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

    It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

    We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

    A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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    So, you get the itch.

    You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

    Here’s where you have to take a step back.

    Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

    Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

    It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

    The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

    3. Live smaller than you can afford

    You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

    You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

    That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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    Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

    Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

    The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

    But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

    4. Practice smart grocery shopping

    Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

    But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

    Create a grocery budget

    Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

    Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

    I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

    Make a list… and never deviate

    Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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    You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

    These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

    Eat before going grocery shopping

    It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

    If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

    After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

    Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

    However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

    This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

    5. Cancel your gym membership

    Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

    The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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    Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

    I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

    Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

    Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

    For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

    Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

    There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

    It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

    I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

    Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

    The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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