Mention the term credit card and depending on who you’re around, you could get quite the range of responses. You have one side that’ll be on the extreme of churning credit cards all the time to earn rewards to those on the other side who swear them off with the belief that they’re a blight on society. Certainly, if you’re struggling with credit card debt now, or in the recent past, then credit cards probably are not the best for you, but if used as a balanced approach to managing one’s finances I believe there are a number of benefits to be found in using credit cards. The key is knowing what those benefits are and using them if appropriate.[Read more…] about 3 Great Reasons to Use Credit Cards
While working as a bank manager, I learned about all sorts of fancy financial tools, and how you can combine some of them to build something even better. Two such tools are a home equity line of credit, or a HELOC, and a debit card.
I would imagine that many of us have either dealt with credit card debt, or at least know someone who has. The fact that the average household has more than $15,000 of credit card debt (of those that have credit card debt) tells me that many are intimately acquainted with such debt.
If you have dealt with it, then you can relate to how unbearable the feeling might be, but the good thing to remember is that it is possible to slay the beast of credit card debt. While I am disciplined with my credit cards now, and use them to leverage free money for vacations I was not always that way. I discovered the lure of the credit card in college and graduated with almost $25,000 in consumer debt. The tips I’ll share are not so much action-oriented, rather, they’re ways to wrap your mind around the debt so you can start to work on paying it off.
I have always loved to travel. Growing up, vacationing was a regular part of our family life. I consider myself blessed that I was able to see quite a bit of the world before I started high school. Now that I have a growing family, I see firsthand the increasing cost of indulging in that desire. As a family we’ve made it a habit to look for ways we can live more simply throughout the year so we can enjoy an annual vacation. However, I recently discovered a missing piece that I wish I had known decades ago…having someone else pay for our vacation! I know that credit cards might be a taboo topic for some, but we have found that we can quite easily use them to have someone else pay for our vacation off of points we’ve earned from budgeted purchases. Next year, I’m excited to say that we will nearly fully fund (airfare and hotel costs) a trip in January to Las Vegas for my birthday thanks to credit card rewards points.
It seems that every few weeks, I get a letter in the mail from one of my credit card companies with convenience checks inside. Those checks are a tool that lets you put a cash advance on your credit line, which is bad news for most of us. When I worked in banking, we would get checks like these every day written to max out a credit line deposited into a checking account. I couldn't believe people would consider that!
Being someone who likes to be frugal it can be uncomfortable to waste money. You want to streamline your budget and keep it lean and mean. The problem, though, is that if you do not live life and try to enjoy it then you will get bored with it awfully quickly. We all waste money at some level, and if watched is of no issue. How much money is it ok to waste each month? The answer to that question is relative to your specific situation and one that my wife and I found ourselves in a few months ago.