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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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Published on January 8, 2021

How To Pay Off Credit Card Debt Fast: 7 Powerful Tips

How To Pay Off Credit Card Debt Fast: 7 Powerful Tips

Ever wondered whether your credit card debt is the reason you’re in a bad financial situation? You can’t enjoy any fun activities because a good chunk of your money goes toward debt payment. Heck, you’re even behind on some of your monthly bills.

The effects of clumsy debt management are too many to list here. This guide is going to help you discover how to pay off credit card debt fast and start chasing your financial goals.

Debt problems are the last thing anyone wants to encounter. But things can get out of hand when all the “little debts” you take accumulate in interests.

What if you knew some simple and proven ways to be debt-free quickly? Implementing them would mean better financial health for you. It becomes possible to free up cash for your “wants.” These include taking a trip or buying something you’ve always desired. All that while paying your bills on time!

Let’s not wait any longer. Here are 7 powerful tips for paying off credit card debt fast:

1. Pay More Than the Minimum Credit Card Payments

Many people only pay the monthly minimum on their credit cards. Truly, that’s the right amount for staying on good terms with your credit card company. But you need a different approach if you’re looking to achieve financial independence within a short time.[1]

Most of your payments go toward interest costs when you only pay the minimum amount. A substantial sum of your balance remains standing. As a result, it becomes more expensive to eliminate your debts.

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You don’t want to wait more than 10 years to get rid of debt while it’s possible to do it sooner. All you have to do is double that $100 minimum payment to $200 or go higher.

The good thing is that minimum credit card payments are affordable in most cases. By paying a higher amount, you reduce your interest costs, lessen your borrowing period, and boost your credit score.

2. Start With High-Interest Credit Card Debt

If you have more than one credit card debt, prioritize putting the extra money toward the ones with the highest interests. This debt pay-off strategy, known as the debt avalanche method, is essential for being debt-free quickly.[2]

First, you need to list down all the credit card debts you have in the order of their interest rates. Next, you choose the one with the highest interest and pay a significant amount toward it each month. It can be an amount twice or even thrice larger than the minimum payment.

At the same time, you make monthly minimum payments on the other debts. Their interest charges won’t be as costly as that of the first debt on your list. You only move on to the next high-interest debt after the first one is gone. Remember that your focus is on the interest rates and not the balances.

3. Revisit Your Budget

Budgeting is useful for tracking your financial moves. Once you create a budget, some tweaks along the way can make it work for you better. One situation that requires you to revisit your budget is when you’re struggling with debts. It might hurt a bit to slash some expenses. But you also don’t want to miss out on achieving financial freedom in the long run.

You can reduce some variable expenses to free up more cash for credit card debt payments. They’re the ones that change from time to time. Some examples are groceries, fuel, and clothing.

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Other opportunities for cutting down your spending lie in non-essential expenses. Instead of dining out all the time, you can cook at home more to save money. You can also share some subscriptions with friends and pay a fraction of the cost.

If you’re determined enough, you can eliminate all your unnecessary expenses and focus on paying off your credit card debt first.

4. Avoid Using Your Credit Cards

Do you want to know how to pay off credit card debt with a low income? One simple way is to stop using them. Having your credit cards everywhere you go means that you’ll be more tempted to buy unnecessary stuff. In this case, you spend money that you don’t really own and get deeper into debt.

The quickest fix to stop the debt build-up is spending with cash. You’ll be more aware of everything you can afford at any particular time. If you decide to keep one or two cards to ease the transition, always make wise choices. For instance, only use them when experiencing financial difficulties.

It’s best to categorize your fun activities under “discretionary spending” in your budget. This way, you won’t need more debt to kill your boredom. By halting your credit debt from accumulating, it’s easy to pay down what you already owe and be happy with the progress.

5. Start a Side Hustle to Boost Your Income

You’re probably turning away a lot of money by not monetizing your skills. Everyone has something that they’re good at doing. And you can use that to generate extra income for attacking your credit card debt.

If you look around your neighborhood, you can find several side hustle opportunities. It can be pet sitting, tutoring, or lawn mowing. You can start an online business by offering services such as digital marketing, content creation, and web development. Such skills go in high demand on freelance sites and job boards.

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Finding clients on social media is also a good strategy to utilize your skills and make more money. Facebook groups, Quora Spaces, and subreddits are some places to look for side jobs. You only have to join a niche-specific platform, share your services, and respond to any opportunities.

It’s possible to learn a skill, practice it, and earn from it. Use the free resources online or purchase some e-courses to get started.

6. Sell Your Used Items for Extra Cash

Starting a side hustle isn’t the only way to generate extra money. You can turn unwanted items into cash for paying off credit card debt. Whether it’s an old TV, book, or furniture, there is always someone itching to buy your used stuff.

A garage sale, as much as it’s old-fashioned, is perfect for getting your neighbors and passers-by to buy from you. You keep all the money because there are no business permits or taxes involved. While you may not make much cash, it’s better than leaving your stuff to go defunct in your storage.

Other than that, you can sell your used stuff on online marketplaces. Facebook groups are great places to start if you want quick approvals and hence sales. You only have to ensure that your listing follows Facebook’s commerce policies.

When selling any pre-owned items online, ensure they’re in good shape to avoid problems with your buyers.

7. Know When to Seek Help With Your Debt

Asking for help with your credit card debt can be challenging to do. But letting it drown you is a road you don’t want to take. While you may feel embarrassed at first, it’s the best way to get back on track when you run out of options.

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There are tons of non-profit credit counseling organizations that can offer you free guidance on how to escape the debt trap. An example is The National Foundation for Credit Counseling. They simply review your finances and help you determine the source of your financial problems. After that, they match you with an actionable debt management solution.[3]

In extreme cases, the debt solution can be:

  • Debt relief – where your debt is partially or wholly forgiven
  • Debt consolidation – taking out one loan to repay others
  • Debt settlement – the creditor forgives a significant portion of your debt
  • Bankruptcy – legal process for seeking relief from some or all your debts

It’s necessary to carefully weigh your options before deciding on the way to go. Find out how it might affect your credit score and any other risks.

Wrapping It Up

Debt is a major setback when you’re trying to prosper in life. Paying off credit card debt is essential if you want to reach your financial goals. That means having more free income, a good credit card score, and even a chance to retire early. You become more productive each day because of the peace in your mind.

So, you now have some tips on how to pay off credit fast. Go ahead and get rid of that good life progress killer!

More Tips on How to Pay Off Debt

Featured photo credit: rupixen.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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