Some financial experts suggest that you avoid using credit cards to pay everyday expenses because it can be easy to wrack up bills that are difficult to pay off. While this may be true for individuals who are struggling financially and who use cards with high interest rates, there are ways that you can use credit cards to actually save yourself some money. Discover how to use credit cards wisely so you can save money on things from everyday expenses to travel.
1. Introductory Rates
Some credit cards offer low introductory rates as low as zero percent. These beginning rates can last from a few months to a year, letting you make purchases without paying a penalty in interest fees. To take save money by taking advantage of these low rates, transfer existing balances instead of making purchases with your new plastic. By moving your balances from accounts with higher rates to your new ones with lower rates, you can save money on interest.
2. Rewards Programs
If you are shopping for a new revolving credit account, look for one that offers a rewards program on purchases that you make frequently. Some companies offer cash back on all of your purchases, while others like Capital One offer cash back rewards on specific types of purchases such as gas and groceries. If you take advantage of these rewards, make sure you pay off your balance each month so you dont wind up paying more than you normally would have.
3. Discount Coupons
Department store credit cards are especially good at handing out coupons to cardholders. Kohls sends coupons attached to their monthly statements, but you have to use them if you want to keep receiving them, so use the coupons you get in order to see more bonuses arriving in your mailbox on a regular basis.
Youve probably heard others tell you that you shouldnt buy something with plastic just because it is on sale, and this is true up to a point. If, however, there is something you actually need to have that goes on sale, you can take advantage of the sale by charging it if you dont have enough cash available. Keep in mind that you will have interest charges if you dont pay your purchase off with your first bill, so add that amount to the sale price to figure out if you are really getting a good deal. If you cant pay off you balance quickly, you should probably wait until a later time before making the purchase.
5. Affiliate Programs
In addition to finding coupons in the envelope your monthly statement arrives in, you might find advertisements for other companies in your mail as well. Instead of being annoyed that your credit card company is trying to sell you something else, take a quick glance at the flyers. If you find advertisements for something you could actually use, like automobile insurance, try calling the advertised company and ask them if you can get an affiliate discount; sometimes companies offer these discounts in return for advertising exposure.
Despite their commonly negative reputation, credit cards can be useful tools for saving money if you use them correctly. By taking advantage of these strategies you can lower your bills, pay off your balances more quickly, and have money left over for the more pleasant things in life. Remember to avoid interest fees by paying off you balance each month for the most savings, unless you are locked into a zero-interest introductory rate; if you have no interest rate, pay you balance prior to the expiration of the introductory period to avoid possibly having to pay interest retroactively.
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