All Articles Tagged "credit card"
From Black Enterprise
Unless you’re a college kid establishing credit for the first time or someone looking to reestablish credit after a major financial setback such as bankruptcy, there’s really no reason to carry department store credit cards. The scenarios above usually make them a great last resort, but if you already have established credit and are looking to dump debt for good, then check out three reasons to ditch those department store cards once and for all.
1. They are useless when you have a real emergency.
Look in your wallet right now. Ask yourself what good that Victoria’s Secret card would do if you had a flat tire tomorrow. Or, how would that Macy’s card help out in the emergency room? Not looking good, eh? In the face of an actual emergency, department store credit cards are simply worthless. And oftentimes the money you can’t find in your budget to save is going towards the interest on department store stuff you didn’t need and likely couldn’t afford in the first place.
2. The interest rates are too high.
Forget about those fake introductory rates the nice lady at the counter offers you. As genuine as she appears, she’s trying to meet her daily enrollment goal and keep her boss off her back. It’s your job to read the fine print and understand the APR.
The APR is the actual yearly cost of using the credit card and includes the additional fees or costs associated with your transactions. An important point to remember with many department store credit cards is that rewards, perks, and discounts shouldn’t come at a price of high interest rates or overwhelming fees. Interest rates on some department store cards may range from 16 percent to as high as 22 percent, despite the low APR pitch that you were probably given for the first three to six months.
Read more at BlackEnterprise.com
Credit card debt is no joke. Too many purchases and a missed payment can have you in the hole and paying through the nose in interest fees. How many of us have or are dealing with credit card debt, or know someone consumed with payments and more payments?
For some reason, we just can’t seem to get away from credit cards. If you have been looking for alternatives, here are some to consider.
From Black Enterprise.
A recent Federal Reserve report states that Americans have increased their credit card usage, in fact the category that includes credit card debt has hit its highest point since the fall of 2010.
The average American carries at least $10,000 in credit card debt. At the height of the recession, credit card use had slowed down greatly as we all tightened our belts, but as unemployment continues to remain a problem, I fear that people may turn to credit cards again as a means of paying everyday expenses.
Here is the smart way to make credit cards a part of your financial picture:
1.) If you are going to use a credit card, get the lowest interest rate possible.
For more best practices when using your credit card, click through to Black Enterprise.
As a millennial generation heads into their 20s and 30s, many have had either a great or not-so great example of what it means to manage their money. Although the age of careers, job searches, marriages and first homes are approaching, many millennials still have no clue what it truly means to manage money for their long-term success and comfort. Even parents are sometimes shaky resources for personal finance information.
A 2012 U.S. News Money article finds that Generation Xers (who are now in their 30s and 40s) are the generation with the most financial frustration. Retirees are increasingly responsible for their own savings, income, and financial futures. Let’s face it, we all can use an old-fashioned money management lesson every now and again.
Let’s all learn a little bit from past generations, and keep your money flowing with these old school money management tips.
As college students head to class, it’s important that they’re armed with information about how to manage their personal finances. Nothing is more dangerous than a college student with a credit card and absolutely no knowledge about how to use it.
Just last week, Madame Noire offered lessons on how to save money while you’re in school. But taken a step further, personal money management means being prepared for the financial decisions that students have to make over the course of everyday life, some of them bigger than others. The most important financial decision students will make, possibly during the first week of school, is whether to sign up for a credit card.
Kiplinger offers a number of tips that promise to make life easier long after graduation. For instance, “stay on top of student loans.” On the topic of credit cards, the outlet suggests foregoing them all together. The magazine cites studies showing that college students typically carry a balance and often don’t know the interest rate on their card.
Fact is, many students actually do sign up for a card, in many cases because they simply need access to those funds for school expenses. Rather than swearing them off entirely, Fox Business takes a more tempered view, suggesting that students simply learn more about what they’re getting into. The site recommends looking for the best interest rates and monitoring your credit score.
But, let’s be real: There are many adults who don’t keep track of their credit score. The mere suggestion could seem overwhelming to a college student who’s juggling studies and other responsibilities, or one who’s just out on their own for the first time. The best advice is to teach the basics of responsible spending. One of Forbes’ lessons is, “If beer appears on your budget as a category in its own right, you may have bigger problems than personal finance.” Sage advice right there.
USA Today reminds us that keeping balances low and teaching kids about limits is the path to take. Be mindful of where your money is going. Know when it’s time to stop shopping, or save money for that big thing that you’ll have to buy later in the semester. It’s also a life lesson that’s useful beyond graduation.
Do your back-to-school shopping during your state’s “tax holiday.” Not every state has one, but if yours does, or you live within traveling distance to a state with a tax break, it might be worth it to make the trek. (As long as you don’t spend more money on gas getting there.) Among the states with a tax holiday are Florida, New York, and Maryland. No matter where you are in the country, you can also follow these money-saving back-to-school tips. Maybe there’s a trip to the outlets in your future?
And, just an FYI, some states also have tax breaks on things other than back-to-school items.
Use a credit card with a good warranty program. We depend on so many gadgets. And if one of them breaks, it’s costly to replace. CardHub.com has analyzed the pros and cons of the different cards to find the ones with the best programs. Amex and Discover topped the list.
Get health insurance. Planned Parenthood has pulled together an infographic that outlines the benefits for women of the Affordable Care Act. Did you know that half of women put off doctor visits because of the cost? And more than two-thirds of women pay more out-of-pocket expenses than men? Since the law was passed this year, 45 million women have been promised no co-pays for preventative care. And nearly five million women will get tax credits to help pay for insurance.
Save on energy costs. Using energy efficient light bulbs, making sure your air conditioner is in good working order and unplugging appliances that use power even when they’re off. These are just a few of the ways you can save on your energy bill.
Follow these tips and spend less at Target. Because you know you can’t walk out of there on a normal day without spending at least $100. Put the markdown schedule in your calendar!
Become a freegan. The freegan movement has been on the rise for the past few years, but it’s hitting the mainstream these days via Project Runway. One of this season’s designers, Fabio Costa, is a proud freegan. So what is a freegan? A person who cuts down on consumption, environmental impact and cost by dumpster diving, participating in swaps, scouring Craigslist’s free section, squatting and foraging. Learn more on this Freegan website.
Prepare for a move to Niagra Falls. Starting this fall, Niagra Falls, NY will try to attract young professionals with $3,942 (up to $6,984 over two years) for to help pay student loan debt. Recipients have to live in the downtown area and should be in the clear with landlords, mortgage brokers and student loan administrators. Funding for this program will last for two years and subsidize 20 recipients. Who doesn’t want a view of the Falls?
Ugh! You woke up after a late-night of dinner and drinks with friends. You drag yourself out of the house to grab some breakfast. You go to pay. And BAM! DECLINED! How did that happen? Are you sleepwalking to Bloomingdale’s?
It’s a real pain in the neck, but a lost or stolen card happens. Reporting that and getting a new card is a pretty simple process. The most important thing is making sure your credit isn’t all messed up by some baddie with sticky fingers.
The key to preventing major credit damage is keeping an eye peeled for anything strange. Look over credit card statements when you get them. If you use online banking, go to your account once per week with the expressed purpose of going through purchases to make sure you’re responsible for all of the transactions listed.
If you think something fishy is happening, act quickly. Contact the card issuer and the credit bureaus — Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. The bureaus can place an alert on your credit report, which will last 90 days or longer. This is a free and useful service. You can even ask for a credit freeze, which will stop anyone, including you, from getting credit in your name.
For your online shopping, look for “secure servers.” Oftentimes we see these security guarantees on big sites like Amazon, PayPal, and Ticketmaster. It’s just as important, if not more, to look for those advisories and the “s” (“secure”) on the “https” in the URL of smaller sites you’re unfamiliar with.
Unfortunately, you can’t prevent everything. But being vigilant will save you a lot of headache down the line.
A credit card can be a wonderful tool if used wisely. It can allow you to earn points on everyday purchases or for buying things that you would purchase anyway. A credit card can also give you a short-term no-interest loan if you pay it back within the statement period. However, not all credit cards are created equal and when you are shopping for your next card, you should take a few things into consideration to choose the right card for you.
Distrust of financial institutions continues to spread. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.* admitted Tuesday to accidently charging customers in several states including New York and Connecticut twice for their debit card charges. It’s just the most recent financial snafu.
Last week’s data security breach had card holders up in arms. Global Payments, Inc., the company responsible for last Friday’s breach of 1.5 million bank card numbers, claims the “incident is contained.” However, security experts say other transactions may have been compromised.
Read the rest at BlackEnterprise.com
Shopping isn’t as fun as it seems folks. Well, that is, it’s not very much fun if you’re someone who needs to do more saving than spending–like me. While something might say it’s on sale and seem like such an awesome investment, I think we can all attest to the fact that shopping guilt is a b***h, and so is the interest that accumulates when you shop with a credit card because you just HAD to have those heels. Sale or no sale, sometimes it’s best to just listen to the voice in our head that tells us we need to put those heels or that leather jacket back. I often walk around the store with an item while I keep looking and ask myself the following questions to figure out if the item is something I really have to have. It might help you too:
Do You Already Have Something Like This in Your Closet?
Hey, you know yourself and you know your taste. That’s probably why when you go to the store, you find yourself attracted to the same kind of clothes over and over. Sure, you already have a pair of nude pumps, however, you don’t have THOSE nude pumps sitting pretty on the box in front of you at DSW. But you really need to ask yourself if you have something similar already awaiting you at the house. Why go broke buying identical pieces and accessories when you know in your heart that you rarely put on those nude heels in the back of your closet. Go ahead and step back from that box…
Where Will You Wear This and WHEN?
Just yesterday I almost lost my mind over a pair of black wedge heels by Calvin Klein. They were leather, with an espadrille-style heel that was an interesting mix of black and green (and green is my favorite color). Unfortunately for me, I was shopping with my sister, who is more about giving compliments than giving me the real deal and pushing me to not to buy something (“And you know how you love green!”). But I thought to myself, girl, it’s about to be hot outside. Am I really going to wear black leather wedge heels when it gets hot and I want to throw on bright sundresses? And as cute as they were, I had to remind myself that I don’t like to wear the wedges I already have for more than a few hours. So why spend more money than I need to on something I’m only going to use a few times until the fall? Be realistic about the mileage you’re going to get out of these pieces you are salivating over, ladies.
Can You Really Afford This Item? And Outside of Using Credit I Mean…
Has anyone else’s credit card become a bigger burden than it should be? We all know that credit cards are in no way free money, but the way we’re willing to pull them out for things outside of an emergency and MUST haves (like furniture for your home, to fix your car, or to pay for a procedure at the doctor’s office) is amazing. If you know you will and can pay the credit card company back ASAP the full amount you are about to spend for those shoes, then swipe away. But if you know this will just become another expense to increase your debt, rack up interest, and give you good ‘ol shopper’s guilt, then you might want to pass.
Will Buying This Force You to Buy Something Else?
And by this I mean, using the old nude heels example, if you buy these shoes, will you then feel the urge to buy a dress or something that you feel will match those shoes? Often we get so mesmerized by things and buy them on a whim that we forget that we don’t have anything to match those shoes, or that dress, or that shirt–whatever. Then we end up in this complicated trap where we need to buy a whole outfit to make us feel more secure about our initial purchase. Ask yourself while you’re pondering your purchase if you have anything that you can wear with it or if buying it will create a chain reaction of purchases and unnecessary expenses. If so…drop it like it’s hot.
Are You Trying to Buy Something Just to Buy Something?
Does that pair of shoes really blow your mind? Are you as excited by that top when you try it on as you were when it was on the hanger? You definitely shouldn’t blow your money on things just to walk out the store with something. And if the item in your hands or that you’re trying on isn’t as fabulous as you thought it was going to be, that should be a huge sign that it needs to go.
Are You Being Real With Yourself?
Seriously, if you buy this item, do you really plan on using it often? If you know you could use a new pair of flats or heels for work and think you will wear them into the ground (in a good way), those purchases aren’t something you should necessarily feel guilty about. But if you know could really use that money to pay a bill rather than to pay for something you will only wear every once in a while, it could be in your best interest to opt out of purchasing them. Now, if something is hella cheap and comes off as a steal–why not? But just because you found a bag by Marc Jacobs on sale doesn’t mean you HAVE to have it. It might be a good price for a big label item ($200 for a bag that used to be $400), but not necessarily for your pockets and budget. Think about it folks…
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