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You Should Understand What Money Really Means

You Should Understand What Money Really Means

“When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life; now that I am old I know that it is.” Oscar Wilde.

Money is a strange concept: those who do not have it aim for it and those who do have it are full of apprehensions. But really, what is money? It is hard to define money, and agree on one single definition of it. We can make our lives easier if we understood what money really is:

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Money: It’s a need

To be honest, there is little left that you cannot buy with money. Money is essential for survival if not for comfort. The comfort and luxury come only when you have more money than you need for surviving. Who doesn’t want a new car; an air-conditioned well-furnished house; trendy clothes and all the new gadgets and gizmos in town?  Therefore, it is not the cause of everything wrong in our society, but it is a means of staying in society.

Money is all about control

It is easy to lose control whenever and wherever money is involved. Damaging factors such as greed, money lust, power can take control over the sanest of humans; especially, when the line between these factors and factors such as survival, expenses and comfort is thin. People want to match up, or to stay a step ahead of, the current lifestyle of their peers. This makes them lose their focus to fulfilling their hedonistic needs. What they don’t realize is that fulfilling hedonistic need is a trap of consumerism.

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Dreams come true: because of money

Those who dream to make a fuss of money, fame and power need to realize that you can make money only if you have money. You need to be smart about money to reach a certain benchmark, and when you have attained that benchmark you can make your dream into a reality. It is not necessary, though that you dream only of dollars and cents, your dream can be internally rewarding rather than being financially beneficial, such as that of being a writer, artist, blogger and so forth. What you can do is not starve and enjoy such endeavors if you plan them out smartly and have a supplementary income balancing your primary income.

Easy to be a slave to money

It is easy to be a slave to money, especially when it can open gates of luxury and comfort for you. Consumerism is a tricky spider, which can trap you in its web. As I said earlier, money is all about being in control and using that control to make your dreams come true.

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Budget: Track your expenses

You should be aware of how much you make and how much you are spending. You should also be making more than you can spend. Track down your expenses to see where you are spending the most and to cut that expense down, if necessary. The reason behind this is to make sure you have enough cash left over to invest in a nest and/or that you remain debt free.

Create a vision of yourself for yourself

Of course dreams are just dreams, you need them to be realistic enough so that they can be incorporated into a vision that you have built for yourself. The vision will help you set a timer on your activities, so that you can move on to the next step until you ultimately reach a desired state you have been aiming for from the beginning.

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Money or Self-worth: difficult choice to make

If you ask any wise man in your circle, and anyone who has had experience with making money they will claim it is a mutually exclusive decision regarding self-worth and money. You cannot have them both at the same time, but making money is empowering, and therefore, if you make little money, you can be happy because the source of it increases your self-worth.

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Tayyab Babar

Tayyab is a PR/Marketing consultant. He writes about work, productivity and tech tips at Lifehack.

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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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