Do you know how to use credit cards and also save money in the process? It is highly likely that you are not aware as no one bothers to read the fine print.
To use your credit card limit to save money, you should select a credit card that offers special offers, benefits and the reward points with which you can get discounts, free products or cash back on online shopping.
You should also know how to redeem these reward points effectively, given that many credit cards give you an option to pay your credit card bill in full or carry over your balance to the next month without any interest charges.
It will help you to avoid paying interest on your balance and at the same time, you won’t have any late payments on your credit report.
1. Things you should do
a. Apply for a credit card as soon as you turn 18, as this will build up your credit score over time and let you build up a larger credit history. However, don’t misuse the cards.
b. Few credit cards offer discount programs which means that you can get discounts for things like groceries or online purchases just by having the card. Make sure to take advantage of those offers.
c. Watch out for perks such as lounge access or free movies when they are included with the card. That’s an added bonus!
d. Be aware of when your credit period ends and make sure you pay before the due date, otherwise you may incur interest charges. If it’s not possible to pay earlier, try not to exceed your credit limit in order to avoid paying interest charges.
e. The interest rate is one of the most important factors in choosing a credit card. It varies from 6% to 25% depending on the bank and type of credit card. Hence, always research about your credit limits before signing up. Low interest rates should be prioritized because this gives you more flexibility with how much money you spend during your credit period.
2. Things you shouldn’t do
a. Don’t ignore the limit – By ignoring the credit card limit, you are likely overspending and risking going into debt. This is why it’s important not to go over your budget with card cash withdrawal and other financial products.
b. Don’t give the card to a friend – Gifting friends or family members with a prepaid card can lead them straight into the same situation you want to avoid for yourself: high debt.
c. Be mindful not to forget about free trials and free periods that come along with most cards – This is just more evidence of mismanaging what you’re spending with a credit card and taking advantage of all that isn’t rightfully yours like I mentioned earlier . It’s an easy way to overspend in a very short amount of time.
d. Don’t overpay on bills so you can pay off debt faster – If you know there will be an upcoming expense soon and have been thinking about making an extra payment, now would be the time to do it! However, make sure that you only do this if you have enough balance left in your savings account to cover unexpected expenses; otherwise a nil or negative balance can make matters worse.
3. Things you should do to avoid paying annual fees
In order to avoid paying the annual fee for your credit card, it is important that you know how long you need the credit for. Many times the credit card company will waive off the annual charges if your credit card spend has achieved a certain amount.
Credit cards are great when they offer a substantial discount in exchange for any purchase or service. You should redeem points as soon as they accumulate or before the expiry of the reward program, and make sure you always pay off your balance in full each month.
You can also check if there are any offers available online with your credit card company to see if they have any deals or discounts offered by them. One other option would be to check with other companies such as gas stations, supermarkets, department stores and hotels who may offer incentives such as discounts on fuel purchases at certain times during the year. There might be more than one offer which can help reduce your total costs associated with owning a credit card account over time. It is important to note that not all offers will be right for you and some offers will expire. So take your time and research all of the offers carefully before deciding which ones are right for you.
4. Ways to make the most from your credit card rewards program
a. Discounts – A lot of banks offer discounts at various stores if you use their cards.
b. Lounge access – It’s worth checking the rewards scheme in detail, some providers give customers the ability to enjoy access to airport lounges, often with discounts. Food is usually free with this access.
c. Online purchase offers – Many providers will give rewards when you make purchases online or by phone, often involving both discounts and cashback.
d. Credit period – You might want to consider if it’s better for you that all charges must be paid off in full every month or you want to extend it till the last day of the free credit period.
e. Monthly grocery spend – If you spend over a certain amount every month on groceries, gas or retail vouchers from one provider then this might be worth it for the points that are earned.
f. Repay on time – Always repay your balance before the due date to avoid incurring interest charges and fees.
g. Know the important dates – Make sure you know what day each statement is closing as well as the end date any promotional offers so you can take advantage of them before they expire.
h. Free movies – Find out if your bank offers free movie tickets or discounts to cinema, which could be an excellent way to have a night out without spending anything. When selecting an appropriate credit card company it is best to research them thoroughly; find out how much money they charge in fees and how quickly you can get approved for credit.
5. Steps I take to make the credit card interest rate nil
My credit card had a standard interest rate of 19% p.a. I pay off my balance regularly with the intention of reducing my interest rate. In doing so, my balance went down and finally reached nil interest if repaid within credit period in under two months, which is quite impressive given that I initially made small monthly payments. Following are the steps that I usually take to make the interest rate nil.
a. Make sure I have the money to pay off the entire balance – Instead of just making monthly minimum repayments, if I can afford it, I make one big payment every couple of months or so.
b. I ensure that the credit limit should not be exceeded. If it exceeds my regular spending, then I speak to the bank about getting a higher limit.
c. I remember that my credit card is not an ATM machine – I don’t withdraw cash from an ATM using your credit card as the interest and charges are imposed immediately.
d. I don’t spend more than what’s available on my credit limit- I only spend what I know I will be able to repay later.
e. I understand how the fees work before taking out any cash advances- These are loans from the bank and will often come with an annual percentage rate (APR) as high as 24%.
f. I remember that it’s better for all of us when we stay in control of our debt. In my case I have reduced my interest rate from 19% p.a to 0% p.a which is great! Not only has my interest rate decreased but my credit limit has also increased, which allows me more room to manoeuvre with expenses and means I can plan further ahead since there isn’t such a pressure with regards to paying back debts. It feels like I’m less reliant on other people financially because I’ve learnt to control my spending rather than letting situations go further out of hand due to lack of knowledge or understanding on how much interest rates actually cost over time. This saves me time from having unnecessary arguments whilst still allowing me financial leeway, since it gives me the needed breathing space to managing finances.
Always be mindful of the fees that you are going to incur and what you might be getting back in reward points or cash. Many people may also want to give their card to a friend as a gift since there is no spending limit and let them take full advantage of the rewards by using it, which is not good. Don’t forget about the free initial credit period where you can charge whatever you want without paying anything for at least two or more months!
However, if someone does not pay off their balance within this time frame, then they will end up with high interest rates which will cost them more than just paying off the entire balance each month. For those who do not plan on ever making purchases again, don’t hold on to the card; instead just cancel it so that no one else can access it in case of an emergency.
Remember to redeem your points and cash for products, services, travel deals, etc., which will help maximize these incentives before they expire! Be sure to take precautions when using your credit card and avoid the following- like using your credit card for small transactions because most banks will set minimum transaction requirements (in order to maintain eligibility for certain benefits) such as $25.00-$30.00 off on everyday use, $100.00-$150.00 off for international travel, or $250.00-$300.00 off per rental car rental company; not reading through the terms of service agreement first before accepting a contract from a vendor; and lastly – make sure you always have enough available funds in your checking account to cover any charges incurred on the debit side (which might result in an overdraft fee).
It’s important to know how much money you have in your account because if you don’t then you might accidentally spend more than what’s available.
This is especially true for parents who sometimes forget about the max daily withdrawal limits set by their bank, and accidentally run out of cash when buying milk for the kids after school. If this happens, it would be best to find another way home rather than using a credit card – at least until the next paycheck arrives!
1. What should you not use credit card for?
Ans. You should avoid using credit cards for weddings, medical bills, long vacations, mortgages etc. Basically any expense which will take multiple installments to repay puts you in more risk as the probability of non-repayment increases. Thus, it is best to first ensure that you will have adequate income in the near future to be able to clear credit card debt in one installment only during the free credit period.