Paying Off Your Credit Card Debt Or...

Posted by Kevin Nielsen on Oct 4, 2016 9:52:18 AM

The average interest rate on a credit card is 15 percent. For every $100, you borrow you're paying $15. That certainly adds up quickly, which is why if you are carrying credit card debt you should be paying it off even faster.

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Topics: Credit Cards

6 Ways to Use Credit Cards Responsibly

Posted by Kevin Nielsen on Jun 14, 2016 2:19:11 PM

Credit cards are an important financial tool when it comes to having an available line of credit when you need it.

The ease of that available credit is what can get you into trouble. Using credit cards responsibly is an important part of budgeting and tracking your expenses in order to eliminate debt or to accomplish your financial goals.

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Topics: Credit Cards

Rising Credit Card Debt and 5 Ways to Combat It

Posted by Kevin Nielsen on Apr 26, 2016 9:04:15 AM

Credit card debt running away from you? Well there are two things that might give you a little peace of mind.

First, you’re not the only one and second, there’s a way to catch it and put it away for good.

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Topics: Credit Cards

What Millennials Don't Know About Money

Posted by reagan.nickl on Apr 15, 2015 5:09:36 AM

The Millennial generation have grown up with a vastly different lifestyle than their parents, and the gap between them and their grandparents makes their lifestyle seem unfathomable. After all, Millennials grew up in a world with internet, cell phones, and iPods.

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Topics: Envelope Budgeting, Credit Cards, Applied Principles, Students and College Graduates, Bill Pay

11 Signs You Have A Shopping Addiction

Posted by reagan.nickl on Apr 13, 2015 5:42:55 AM

Written by guest blogger, Chenell Tull

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Topics: Envelope Budgeting, Credit Cards, Bill Pay

Millionaire Celebrities Who Are Financially Worse Off Than You

Posted by reagan.nickl on Mar 13, 2015 10:17:59 AM

There is an anxious fantasy that roams through people’s minds from time to time where they imagine their lives as millionaires and they bask in the freedom that a large sum of money would grant them. This fantasy usually happens when they’re between paychecks, late on payments or deep in debt. The solution seems easy. With more money our problems would go away, right?

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Topics: Credit Cards, Applied Principles

How to find the best credit card for YOU?

Posted by Megan Pacheco on Mar 13, 2014 12:21:05 AM

How many credit cards to have & how to find the best one!

The average American carries 3.5 credit cards in his or her wallet. Each of those cards offer different rates, different rewards, and may carry different fee structures.

But do you really need that many cards? Depending on your lifestyle and how and what you spend your money on, it may be to your best interest to focus on carrying and using two credit cards that offer maximum rewards for your particular lifestyle.

But how do you know what’s the best credit card for YOU?

Before we dive deeper into some specifics of how to find that “ideal” credit card, please know that unless you use credit responsibly and pay off the entire balance every month, you won’t get the optimal results from using your credit card, and you may actually end up in more debt than intended. This post is meant for those of you who understand the dangers of credit who simply want to learn how to use credit to your advantage, instead of letting credit use you!

There are a few really good sites that, within a few minutes, can help you identify the best card out there for your financial lifestyle.

Credit Card Tune-Up

Credit Card Tune Up is one of those sites that will help you determine the best credit card strategy, based on your monthly expenditures.

All you have to do is specify the amount of money you spend in each of their 16 budget categories, and you’ll receive a long list of credit cards with information about the amount of rewards you could potentially receive in a given year, if you used nothing but that particular card. The site has direct links to the credit card application to make it a one-stop shop!

In Mvelopes, the Envelope Spending By Month Report will put this information at your fingertips in just a few clicks!

Nerdwallet

If you’re not ready to answer detailed questions about how much you spend and on what budget category, nerdwallet may be a better option for you. It will compare over 1700 different credit cards and offers to help you find best rewards, cashback, gas points, or miles card.

All you have to do is choose the type of credit card you’re most interested in and specify the monthly amount you’re expecting to charge on the card, and you’ll get a list of best options to choose from.

Creditcards.com

If you love details and want to see a detailed summary of rewards, interest rates, reward limits, and fees, all in one place, then this is a great site for you to browse.

Depending on what type of credit card you’re looking for, creditcards.com will have a list of some rewards cards listed with lots of detailed information as well as a direct link to apply.

So, why would you go from using 3 or 4 cards to just using two? Because this is your best chance for earning maximum rewards instead of getting a few miles here and a few cashback dollars there. Since some of the cards “cap” the rewards, you can create a plan to maximize both of your cards so every dollar you spend earns you additional benefit.

If you have a solid budget, you can decide to charge your regular monthly expenses on your card and pay your charges off, either weekly or daily, by doing a direct payment from your checking or savings account to the credit card. This way, you’ll be sure not to overspend beyond your monthly budget limits and to avoid any potential interest charges.

So be responsible and start earning rewards for what you already spend money on as part of your month-to-month budget!

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Topics: Envelope Budgeting, Finances for Couples, Life in General, Credit Cards, Tips and Tricks

How to Survive College Without Credit Card Debt

Posted by Megan Pacheco on Feb 11, 2014 2:31:04 AM

When you start college there's one thing that's almost certain: a crushing amount of student loan debt. Unless you come from a rich family, you landed a huge scholarship, or you saved every dollar you've ever made, college is going to hit you right where it hurts. While it may be tempting to open a credit card, you'll want to think twice. You're already getting in deep with student loan debt; there's no need to make it worse. Here are a few ways you can survive college without getting into any credit card debt.

Get a Job

There's no way around it. You're going to have to get a job. It's not going to be any fun, the hours will terrible, and it's going to make finding the time to study next to impossible, but you're going to have to do it. To get the most money out of your part-time gig, work at a popular local restaurant. This way you'll be able to earn tips rather than limiting yourself to minimum wage. Some shifts will be bigger money-makers than others, but overall it'll be a better job than fast food.

Rent Your Textbooks

Rather than spending hundreds of dollars on new textbooks that will be worth pennies once the semester is over, consider renting your textbooks. Sites such as Chegg offer textbooks for pretty much any course you can think of. All you have to do is get your syllabus, put in your course number, and grab your books. Whether you're taking a course online or at a school like the University of the Potomac, renting your textbook is always the way to go.

Get a Few Roommates

As wonderful as living off campus sounds, you're likely going to find the best rates by staying on campus and getting roommates. The bills will come in, and they'll come in quick, so it'll be nice to split expenses multiple ways. By having roommates, you'll free up a bit of extra money that you wouldn't have if you had lived on your own. Just make sure to set some ground rules to make sure you all get along and don't end up wanting to punch each other in the mouth.

Buy a Bike

You won't need a car to get to class since you'll be living on campus. Hopefully you're either working on campus or at a place nearby so you can bike there. Riding a bike will save you a ton of money during your college days. You won't have to worry about gas, and any maintenance costs will pale in comparison to the cost of fixing a car. As a bonus, riding a bike is infinitely healthier than just taking a car.

Apply for Scholarships

Applying for scholarships is one of the best things you can do to minimize college debt. Don't just apply to one and hope; apply for anything and everything that you're eligible to get. Remember, you don't have to pay a scholarship back. If your grades are a little less than stellar, ask for letters of recommendations from your professors. If you're able to earn a scholarship, it will be a huge load of stress off your back.

Sell Your Possessions

As much as you don't want to, it's time to sell all the collectibles you've acquired over the years. Get rid of games, toys, books, and whatever else you have lying around that you aren't using. Rather than have a huge yard sale, consider selling it online via eBay or Craigslist so you get a decent amount of money for them. Once you're more financially stable you can always get all the items back, but for now, it's all got to go.

It's extremely difficult to survive in college without a credit card, but it's possible. Don't even consider getting a credit card, even if it's just for one item. One item quickly becomes two; two becomes eight and a dinner; and it just snowballs from there. Use these tips, make a budget, and you'll be fine. College will be several financially rough years, but you'll be way better off than your classmates when you graduate completely free of credit card debt. Do you have any other tips for surviving college without a credit card? Leave a comment below and let us know!

Image by Brett L.

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Topics: Reaching Financial Goals, Credit Cards, Tips and Tricks, Students and College Graduates

Good Debt vs. Bad Debt

Posted by nick.thomas on Jun 8, 2010 8:56:47 AM

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Topics: Life in General, Credit Cards

The New Money Rules for Recent Graduates

Posted by nick.thomas on May 17, 2010 2:58:31 AM

Great article from the New York Times on budgeting advice for new graduates entering the job market.

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Topics: Life in General, Credit Cards