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The Best Credit Cards Around for Every Kind of Situation

The Best Credit Cards Around for Every Kind of Situation

Traveling can be an extremely exciting time in your life but you need to make sure that you have properly prepared for your trip so that unexpected issues don’t completely derail what might have been a great vacation.

Having a credit card specifically designed for travelers can save you a great deal of money on vacations. Of course you have to look into the payment options within your country but, in general, it is a great idea to carry one or more of theses credit cards with you when you travel.

Different cards offer different benefits. Some allow you to get great deals on flights; others are better suited to those who spend money on hotels and lodging, tourism, and traveling abroad. It is important that you conduct enough research and have a basic understanding of the different benefits that are offered by each card. Determine which benefits are going to be the most useful to you, and seek out cards that provide those benefits. Some of the better credit cards that are available to travelers include;

Chase Ink Plus – Traveling Abroad

Chase Ink Plus is an excellent card for would-be travelers. Its impressive list of rewards make it an ideal choice for individuals who travel abroad.

The card offers a wide range of perks, including an initial bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Reward Points, which are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel booked through Chase. This means that the initial bonus provided by the card could be worth as much as $625.

The card also provides a good amount of flexibility in terms of payments, along with no foreign transaction fees. To determine whether or not this card would suit your needs, consider its complete list of benefits.

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British Airways Visa Signature – Flights

The British Airways Visa Signature card is another excellent choice. The card is aimed toward travelers, offering no foreign transactions fees anywhere in the world.

The card offers a 50,000 bonus once the cardholder has made $2,000 worth of purchases within their first three months with the card. The introductory annual fee is waived for the first year, and is just $95 per year after that.

Cardholders receive 2.5 Avios for every dollar spent on British Airways, and 1.25 Avios for all other purchases made with the card. Additionally, cardholders can earn a Travel Together Ticket, good for two years during any year that more than $30,000 in purchases are made.

To find out more about the benefits of this card, read our review.

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premiere – Flights and Hotels

The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premiere Credit Card is the perfect card for travelers who are interested in earning benefits as quickly as possible.

Every dollar spent on the Rapids Reward Vista earns 1.67% back as credit for purchases with Southwest Airlines. This means that even the basic day-to-day use of the card can earn plane tickets.

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For a limited amount of time, the company is offering 50,000 points towards two round-trip flights when cardholders spend at least $2,000 within the first three months of opening an account. Additionally, each and every year cardholders receive 6,000 points. Find out more about these deals here.

Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard – Traveling Abroad

The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard is one of the premiere options for those who spend a great deal of time traveling.

Cardholders can earn as many as 40,000 bonus miles when they spend $3,000 or more during the first ninety days of holding an account. This alone could save them as much as $400 off their next trip.

This card earns 2X miles on all purchases, with no mileage caps or foreign transaction fees, which makes this the ideal card for traveling abroad.

Users are also able to redeem their miles for statement credits, which can then be applied to a wide range of services including flights, rentals, lodging, and even cruises.

The Barclaycard Arrival World MasterCard is an excellent choice for those that do a lot of traveling. It offers a high reward rate, though it does require an annual fee be paid – $89 -, but that amount is waived for the first year. Learn more about this option on Impossible Travel.

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Starwood American Express – Hotels

The Starwood American Express card is certainly an excellent choice for travelers.

Cardholders can use this card towards not only purchases from Starwood but also flights from a number of airline partnerships including American Airlines, British Airways, and Virgin Atlantic, among others.

The Starwood American Express is particularly suitable for those with luxurious lifestyles who make large purchases. The base rate of rewards for the card provides one Starpoint for every dollar spent. That may not seem like much compared to others cards, but the overall value of each point sits at about 2.3 cents, which can save you a great deal of money in the long run.

Cardholders are provided with 10,000 bonus points after their first purchase, and an additional 15,000 if they are able to spend $5,000 during the first six months that they hold card membership. Cardholders also earn up to five Starpoints for every dollar spent at SPG hotels.

The Starwood American Express has quickly become a very popular card for travelers due to its wide range of different hotel-related bonuses. Find out more here.

Ink Bold Business Charge Card – Interest

The Ink Bold Business Charge card is an excellent business charge card.

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This card comes with excellent sign up bonuses, no foreign transaction fees, and a $95 annual fee. Cardholders earn over 50,000 bonus points if they spend over $5,000 in their first three months.

The card is excellent for interest, providing no interest charges when the balance is paid off in full each month. The Ink Bold Business Charge Card is therefore an excellent choice for those looking to severely limit their interest payments.

Finding the right card can be a difficult task. There are many different cards with a wide range of benefits, many of which are suitable for those who do a good amount of traveling. It is important that you examine the benefits of any card before making a final decision, so that you can ensure that you receive the benefits that you have been looking for.

Photo credit: Kaiyan

 

Featured photo credit: Kaiyan 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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