How To Pimp Your Credit Card

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I love, I mean LOVE my credit cards. And not the “rack up the card and pay monthly payments” type of love. I enjoy the points and the cash back you get from them. Credit cards have to offer you something to get you to sign up. Before you read these please DON’T get a card if you have no self control and had issues with credit cards in the past. This is not an affiliated post all content is my personal opinions of the credit cards I talk about.    Here are a few tips I use to pimp my cards.

 

1.SIGN UP WHEN THEY OFFER A SPECIAL DEAL

Now most will always give you 1 year 0% interest but ignore that, you should NEVER carry a balance from month to month on a credit card, if so you are literally burning money each month. Many cards will run a special and give you a $100-$500 bonus or a set number of points if you spend $1,000 in 3 months. Depending on who you are, this is what you would normally spend each month anyway. I signed up for my american express card when I was about to pay for my wedding. Also I was able to keep up with how much I was spending on my wedding without my household items interfering. I also got the card, because I got so much cash back on items I was already planning to buy. Plus we took a honeymoon in St. Thomas so I didn’t really want to use my debit card. By signing up when they had a offer I got 15,000 points which really means $150 towards a gift card. Yay! and with american express you can just get a general gift card that can work anywhere so that could be your groceries for the month!

 

2. ONLY SIGN UP FOR CARDS WITH $0 ANNUAL FEE

You shouldn’t have to pay to use a card EVER. I look at credit cards like you should be happy to have me, not the other way around. My American Express card, Bank of America cards both have $0 annual fees, and I love it. If you have cards with annual fees you better be getting more back in money and rewards, that it actually pays off. But to be safe stay away from annual fees.

 

3.USE THE CASH BACK PROGRAM

So here is my favorite way to start pimping your cards. Try to have at least 1 card that offers cash back on purchases that you normally would spend on a regular day. So I have the Bank Of American Cash Reward Card.You get 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and now at wholesale clubs and 3% on gas. So for me and husband we use this card only to get gas and groceries. Just for having the card about 2 in a half years I have earned over $100 dollars. Just by paying for my normal expenses with that card. Also many cards are offering special cash rewards on top of that. Every month they update  the stores and allow you to add them to your card they range from chili’s to places like Starbucks and AT&T at 10% cash back. The great thing is I can easily set a budget on gas and groceries for the month then use this card when they send me the statement I will know exactly what I spent and the exact cash back I received. I don’t really care for the 1% cash back that is created to get you to spend the card on anything when you may not have it. Focus on the cards with more than 2% cash back.

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4.USE THE POINT SYSTEM FOR ENTERTAINMENT 

This may sound like a lot but bare with me. I have another card that earns me points for purchases. At the end of the month the points just keep adding up and you can use them to go shopping in there “online store”. This mostly will have gift cards to restaurants, clothing stores, etc. After you have built up a healthy amount of points every month, plan a special day and use your points for that day. We normally get a gift card to the movies, or we buy a Groupon and then use the Groupon to pay for an activity or a new restaurant downtown. This helps us have a little date night and its FREE!!! Try not to go over board and rack up the card for the points. When the car breaks down, gifts, or a big item you have  PLANNED to purchase put that on the point card. The point system isn’t my favorite but if you sign up when they are offering a special then it can really help. Also I like to have 1 card that has a massive credit limit to lower my credit usage but I will explain that more in another post.

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While using a card that earns 2% on groceries and 3% on gas will not make you rich, it will add a few dollars to your account, and the points will allow you to go out and have fun without the worry of going over your budget. Please do not attempt any of these tips if you have an issue with spending more than what you can pay in cash. If you fall into the trap and charge items you cant afford you will just start a tall order of debt!

How Not To Save

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While knowing how to save is a great attribute to know. I just wonder do we actually know what we are doing wrong. Its easy to say, “save 10% of your paycheck” but if you don’t have 10% at the end of the month you will just tell yourself that all your money is going to bills and other expenses. Lets take a look at many traits we all do and how stopping them can gain us more money at the end of the month and essentially saving more money.

1.THINK YOU DON’T MAKE ENOUGH

This is one of my pet peeves, if you have a paycheck then you have money to save. No matter what. If you stop making excuses then you can actually start moving in life rather than staying stagnate. Plus if you don’t make enough then add another source of income but that’s for another blog post. Change your mindset on money and stop becoming the victim, if you want to stay broke (living paycheck to paycheck with no savings) then telling yourself you can’t do it will bring you no change. Like will smith said people who say I can and I cant are usually correct. Don’t let your mind be the reason why you cant have financial freedom.

2.NOT UNDERSTANDING WHAT BROKE MEANS

I come across this issue many of times, and I use to be the same way. People start to think they are what their pay-stubs says they are. And this is not true. If you make a lot of money, great that just means you have a large income. That does not mean you can never be broke. Living paycheck to paycheck no matter how big or small it is… IS BEING BROKE. When you have no savings but make over $50,000 then you are 1 check away from being homeless and that my friend is BROKE. Sadly, we get a new job make more money and we start to “up” our wardrobe, our lifestyle, and forget to up our savings. Nothing changed, from the outside you may seem rich but from your bank account you are broke.

 

3.IGNORING THE ISSUE

While many of us are different, I may spend most of money on clothes you may spend it on shoes, or food, etc. You must find the problem in your finances. There is always room for improvement. I should be able to ask you how much money do you spend on food, gas, utilities, rent and without a thought you should know the answer! If not then your spending money without a clue of where it’s going. In 2017 there is no reason for you not to have an app that tells you exactly where your money is going. If you haven’t already sign up for personal capital or mint  both sites will identify your problem and you can start beginning to finding a solution.

 

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4.BEING OKAY WITH AVERAGE 

Before I started this blog I was super surprised by how many Americans were in debt and how many people were racking up credit card bills and not saving. I have been told many times you are doing better than the average 24 year old, or you are the 2% of america that is doing it right. But that’s not good enough for me. Saving $1,000 shouldn’t be your end goal, it can be your right now plan but not the mark of your financial path. Saving and balancing money is not a destination its a constant journey.While at the same time you should never compare your finances to other people. If you have 5k saved and someone has 15k saved, that doesn’t mean you are doing terrible. Some people have kids, some people have 2 incomes the point is, your financial goals are yours. So write them down and go after them!

 

5. NOT DESIRING MORE FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY

This may sound crazy, but when I spend to much time on jcrew or madewell, I start looking at houses. I do this because I know I want to eventually buy a house and start building wealth for me and my family. Buying a new sweater now may be great for the moment but at the end of the day I know what I want. When you have an idea of where you want to be you will have no excuse to grind until you get it.

 

6.SPENDING EXTRA MONEY

So we all know how easy it is to spend a bonus or a tax refund check. These can be the easiest way to save money or start a savings account. However, it can also be the easiest check to blow! The best thing to do is spend only 10% of the money and send the rest to savings. Even for me this can be tempting as I am writing this post in December and me and my husband got a Christmas bonus, all of a sudden my nails look like they needed to be at a nail salon, my make-up looked old, my house looked empty like it needed more furniture. I had to quickly move it to savings or I would of had a new look that day!

 

7.LIVING FOR TODAY

Ya, ya you only live once. But I am not trying to live broke the whole time. If you save now you will not have to worry about money in the future. That’s why investing and savings is so important. I have to tell my household we are living cheap now so we can live lavish later.This way of thinking can be so hard, especially with social media. You see friends going on trips, you see ads and marketing being shoved down your throat. But if you can dedicated just a few years to a hard strict budget the rest of your life could be way more enjoyable.

 

These tips can be somewhat heavy sometimes, and make you feel like you are doing everything wrong. That is not my intent. I want to see everyone around me prosper, and majority of financial problems come from the way we think about money. Saving is all psychological, you have to imagine a future that isn’t here. You have to believe that financial wealth is better and more important than you circumstance. Believe me its not a destination and no one is perfect, learn from others and give advice when you know it has help you. Your financial path is a journey, so make it worth while.