10 Useful Tips for Using Credit Cards

We can never be too careful when it comes to using credit cards. I have shared 10 Bad Credit Card Habits and How to Avoid Them, and 4 Good Reasons You Should be Using Credit Cards. So now that you know the good and bad, here are 10 awesome tips to using them the right way!

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Tip#1- Be aware

Always know the balance of your credit card, and where you are at with your finances. This shows financial responsibility which is crucial in owning a credit card. This way you will never be surprised by an over due balance. It also protects you against CC theft…if you are constantly aware then you will know immediately if a charge goes onto your card that you did not make.

Tip #2- Pay off your balance every month

There are sometimes emergency situations where we have to charge our credit card with money we may not have…like medical bills for example. Besides those extreme cases you should not ever charge the card if you do not have the money to pay it off at the end of the month. This is where the trap of credit card debt, and ever rising interest happens.

Tip #3- Never miss a due date

There are a few things that you can do to help you with this one….if your due date comes on a bad day of the month then switch it! Maybe to the day after you get paid, or another day that works better for you. Another option is setting up automatic pay..now you only want to do this if you know you will have money in the account that is paying it off otherwise you’ll get charged overdraft fees. Figure out whatever you need to to make sure you get that payment in on time!

Tip #4- Be aware of your own limits

You don’t have to tempt yourself if you know that it will be difficult to make the right decision. Just because you can have a $10,000 limit on your credit card doesn’t mean that you have to! If keeping it small is better for you then do that! If it’s hard not to charge random “wants” then don’t carry it around with you all the time. I don’t know what your limits are, but you do. Having them isn’t a bad thing…..ignoring them is! So find ways to use your credit cards according to your limits and what works for you.

Tip #5- Pay off debt

It’s an unfortunate reality that a good portion of you reading this have some sort of debt, that doesn’t mean you are a horrible irresponsible person, it just means you should have a goal to pay it off! Try to pay more than just the minimum monthly payment, but make sure that you are at least paying that. I know it seems like a never ending road to be debt free, but I promise you can get there…set a goal, and make realistic plans that may need some sacrifice, but it will be well worth it!

Tip #6- Find a rewards card

There are lots of them out there, so figure out which one is best for you. It’s okay to have more than one, but be aware of signing up for too many credit cards. Rewards cards often have super high interest rates, so be sure to use them only if you pay off the balance each month. If you are smart though, they can really pay off and earn you free stuff!

Tip #7- Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit

This will help your credit score go up. For example if you have a $1,000 credit card limit then you shouldn’t exceed a balance of about $300. This applies to all of your credit as a whole though…it’s not for each card…so if you have 3 credit cards with a total limit of $10,000 and you have a balance of $3,000 but it’s all on one card….that’s okay because it’s still only 30% of your available credit.

Tip #8- Learn about card benefits

Most credit cards have benefits that you don’t know about, so research the cards you have and find out what they are and use them to your advantage!

Tip #9- Use it to benefit your budget

Use your card for all of your purchases throughout the month, this way you can track all of your expenses and know exactly where all your money has gone. This is only a good idea if you know that you can stick to your budget and spend only what you are supposed to so that you have enough to pay it off each month.

Tip #10- Be aware of hidden fees

This goes for all fees associated with your credit card, but I want you to especially focus on this when traveling outside the country. Find out if you are going to be charged extra fees each time you swipe your card and what they are for. Don’t just assume that every credit card will work the same, do your homework and make sure that YOU are the one in charge NOT the credit card company.

How to Budget when You Don’t Make Enough Money

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Learn to Cut Back

Make a list of the money you have flowing out into different expenses. If you have cable, or streaming networks you pay for, such as Netflix or Hulu, put those on your list next to how much money it costs you each month. If you have smartphones in your family write those down as well. List magazine subscriptions, gym passes, art classes, or anything that comes to you as a regular expense. Then you need to look at your list and decide how to cut back. Maybe you can just eliminate a few things, or maybe you need to cut it all out for a little while until your bank account becomes more stable. There is no point in paying for a huge cable bill, or random magazine subscriptions that you never read, while you’re struggling to make ends meet. The more you cut the better off you will be.

Get into Survival Mode

Don’t spend money on things you don’t need. You have to get into a survival mode and focus only on the essentials. Avoid eating out, shopping sprees, going out to movies or events, or anything that is unnecessary. If you can control your spending habits and you can cut back on these things, you will be amazed how much money you save. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun though. Start making a fun meal plan with ingredients you already have at home, look online for free date ideas that can still get you out of the house, and find ways to mix and match pieces in your closet to wear them in ways you never have before. Overall, just make sure you are only spending money on the things you have to have to survive.

Make More Money

To help you feel more fluid in your budget, you’ll need to find ways to make more money so that you can attack your financial situation from both ends. There are a lot of ways to make money from home on the side.  You can pick up extra shifts at work, or get resourceful and see if any of these 50 Ways to Make Money on the Side are good options for you.  If you don’t have a job that pays well enough and you are having hard time getting ahead, consider finding a new job, improving your skills or even getting educated in a new trade or field to improve your quality of life.

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Prioritize Your Bills

If you have a lot of bills to pay, make sure you decide which ones have to be paid off first. Hopefully you cut back on everything from the list you made, but now it is time to sort through what important bills are MOST important. Take care of things like your house payments and energy bills first and then keep moving down through the things that are most important for you to keep surviving and having your basic needs met.

Keep a Positive Mindset

Overall, remember to stay positive. Of course this is easier said than done, but it is so important when trying to get out of a financial bind and start to plan effectively. Negative thoughts are destructive and won’t help you moving forward. Try to think each day about good things that happen to you, opportunities that come your way, connections you have with other people that could help, and really anything that keeps you positive and focused on your ultimate financial goals. If you can’t master a positive mindset, you other strategies could fall apart.

8 Legit Ways to Make Money From Home

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So, you’re looking to make a few extra bucks, but you are hesitant to get involved with an online money making scheme. Your concerns are valid, there are “bad businesses” everywhere,and it can be difficult to weed out the good from the bad. Fortunately, we have researched these websites for you, and now it is our duty to share these wonderful opportunities with you.

Ebates

Ebates doesn’t exactly make you money, it helps you to save money! Merchants pay Ebates to refer customers to them. Then ebates used the money from the merchants to offer discounts and deals to their shoppers. Visit the ebates website before making any purchases online, and use the link that ebates provides. When you do so, ebates will pay up to 25% of whatever you purchase.  It is free to sign up, so get started!!

Inbox Dollars

Inbox Dollars is basically an online rewards system that offers cash payouts. All you have to do is use their search engine, print coupons, and online shop. You get money each time you use their search engine. Really, what could be easier? You even get an instant $5 bonus just for using your email address to sign up!  Of course it is free to sign up, so sign up now and start earning at Inbox Dollars.

NCP Nielsen

NCP Nielsen pays you to scan your grocery store purchases to your phone. Start your free account and scan the barcodes of the items you buy at the grocery store. Record where you shopped, how much you spent and NCP will reward you with points that are redeemable for money.

Ipsos Isay

Sign up for free and take surveys over the phone on different sorts of products. You take surveys, earn points and then cash them out for rewards via PayPal.

SwagBucks

This is a free site that gives you rewards (points redeemable for money, gift cards, or other rewards) for answering polls, taking surveys, trading in old video games, and playing games on their website. They’ve paid out over 78 million dollars to their reviewers.  This is totally legit and a great way to earn extra cash.  Register free for Swagbucks here and get started.

 Blogging

Start a Blog focused around your likes and passions. Focus in on this niche, and use it to make money. Successful blogs receive thousands of visitors every week, and you can use affiliate networks and ad networks, such as Google Adsense to earn a really great income blogging from home. For more information about blogging, please read our step by step instructions on how to start a blog for only  how to start a blog for only a few dollars a month.

Sell Your Products Online

If crafting is your passion, consider opening an Etsy shop. Etsy is a place where individuals can sell their homemade goods and shop for unique items. Many shop owners do so in their spare time, and some can even turn it into their main source of income.

Sell Yourself

This isn’t as bad as it sounds! Offer your skills as a freelance writer, public speaker, or blogging guru. Charge for your services by the hour or by the session, don’t sell yourself short! Your opinion matters! Use social media platforms to promote yourself and create a strong website base.

If none of these things interest you, maybe there are other ways you can side hustle extra cash and stay legit.

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