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7 Brilliant Credit Card Tricks To Save Your Money

7 Brilliant Credit Card Tricks To Save Your Money

Working hard to maximize your cash heading in to the summer? While you’re scrutinizing the use of every hard-earned dollar, play it smart with plastic and save money with these 7 credit card tricks.

1. Get that bonus!

Sign-up bonuses are perhaps the fastest way to earn miles, rewards points, or whatever incentive attracted you to that particular piece of plastic. You may be surprised to learn that a large number of new cardholders never complete the steps necessary to earn their bonuses. Take the time to claim what was promised to you, including filling out registrations or surveys.

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2. Think before you pay to play.

Many rewards programs require an annual fee. If you are depending on credit cards to earn airline miles or rewards other than cash back, take the time to determine how likely you are to actually use the rewards, and when. If you fly once every five years, for instance, that $100 annual fee means you’re already paying for your ticket out of pocket. Same goes for restaurants, hotels, and other points-based rewards—if you have to adapt or change your habits in order to maximize the rewards and justify the annual fee, you are less likely to actually use them. Shop around for a card with no annual fee or cash rewards instead.

3. Take the company up on that offer.

Credit card vendors often offer perks like gift cards, or short terms promotions like “5% cash back on all gas purchases in the month of October.” The trick here is that you usually have to claim them, and much like those mail-in rebates that rarely make it to the mailbox, many people don’t. Figure out how your bank advertises their offers, and monitor accordingly. A bank may, for instance, share promotions in a banner on the credit card account home screen once you log in. That’s it, no other way. So if you don’t log in regularly, you’ll miss it!

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4. Maximize your statement cycle.

US banks are required to allow you 21 days to pay off your bill after the cycle closes. This means that if you make a major purchase toward the end of a given cycle, you’re also buying yourself extra time to pay off your bill. If money is tight and you need what is essentially an interest-free loan to make a purchase, timing the buy well can mean a few extra weeks to pay it off.

5. Protect your identity.  

If you use your card to shop online, a bit of security mindfulness can go a long way toward protecting yourself. Take the time to change passwords and login information on sites you shop frequently, and avoid making them all the same. Avoid writing down passwords; if you must, keep the cheat sheet securely locked away at home, not on your desk or phone. Speaking of phones, refrain from having automatic login information to financial or shopping sites stored on yours—if it’s lost, a hacker can easily crack your phone password, if you have one, and have access to your accounts in no time. If you offer credit card information over the phone, do so in a private location, away from strangers.

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6. Demand a chargeback if appropriate.

 A “chargeback” is simply a refund of your money by the credit card company in the event that unauthorized charges are made on your card. Make sure your card offers this sort of protection and that you can get a hold of your company at any time to freeze your account if necessary. Do not hesitate to file a chargeback request if you have to—the merchant may not like it, but it’s your money you’re protecting.

7. Most importantly—pay off your card.  

Nothing puts a damper on a month’s worth of good deals and smart shopping like late fees or interest charges. Treat your card like cash. Only buy what you can afford, when you can afford it, and pay it off on time, every time.

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Want another tip?

Here is a simple one: get a credit card. Charge cards are the easiest way to build good credit history, which is going to be very important if and when you ever apply for a home loan, business loan, or similar. You don’t have to use it a lot, but use it often and pay it off regularly. Taking this article to heart, and want a reader’s sign-up bonus, too? Alright, you’ve got it—know your credit score! Soft inquiries, which mean you are checking on your own credit score, do not adversely impact your score; too many hard inquiries, made by merchants when you open up additional cards, can.

If you’re eager to maximize your rewards, check out these 7 Myths About Credit Card Rewards.

Featured photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/68751915@N05/6355848263/ via Photopin

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

Video Summary

1. Visit a strawberry festival

Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

2. Have a picnic

Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

3. Camp in your back yard

    The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

    4. Take long walks

    Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

    5. Break a world record

    Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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    6. Go on a bike ride

    The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

    7. Join a gym class

      The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

      8. Find a new hobby

      The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

      9. Join a sports team

      Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

      10. Make a slip ‘n slide

        Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

        11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

        Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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        12. Visit a free festival

        Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

        13. Visit the zoo

          Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

          14. Take a road trip

          Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

          15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

            Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

            16. Make your own ice cream

            Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

            17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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              When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

              18. Get a summer job

              For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

              19. Attend a charity event

              Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

              20. Visit a national park

              National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

              21. Visit your local comedy club

                Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                22. Make your own hammock

                  Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                  23. Read in your new hammock

                  Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                  24. Watch a movie outside

                  Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                  25. Take a hike

                    Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                    26. Learn how to fly a kite

                    As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                    27. Work out at the park

                    American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                    28. Take your dog to the beach

                      One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                      29. Make a summer smoothie

                      Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                      30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                      No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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