by Je Yaranon on June 2020
This may be a strange comparison, but have you ever noticed the parallels between credit cards and that fun, wildcard friend that always gets you in hot water? Think about it: both are spontaneous, itching to tell you about cool stuff you should buy, and would support you in whatever shenanigans you like.
Then, on the flipside, both have the tendencies to rope you into a variety of headaches, including financially. Before you know it, your head is down and wondering what went wrong.
Now, don’t get it twisted. Credit cards are a gem and it’s a badge to signify that you have the means to pay your bills. The potential ordeals only happen to those who lack discipline or knowledge on how to handle the responsibilities that come with it.
So without further ado, allow us to get on with the list!
Track your expenses
As an alternative, you can also use an expense tracker app. Most go beyond what a standard bank app can do as it is specifically built to help users budget their finances. Tools can list expenses, give tips in squeezing your remaining, create reports, and more.
There are dozens of finance apps to choose from for Android or iOS phones, so you should be able to pick one that best fits your preferences.
Pay in full every month
Failing to do this is the beginning of the end. It jumpstarts a bad habit and the next thing you know you’re in a pit of debts. Always make sure to clear your credit card bills. Do it with via one-time payment or in spurts, but balances must be wiped out by the end of the month.
If paying in full every month is too tough, there’s one simple rule to follow, and it is virtually guaranteed to help you avoid all the stress: don’t buy things you can’t afford.
Look for a deal with zero percent installment
Making big purchases are needed at some point, and expect it to dig deep into your pockets. A quick, helpful counter to the inevitable, though, is to make sure that it is under a zero percent instalment. Such payment structures make it easier to budget and deal with unexpected expenses.
Understand the card’s Terms & Conditions
Don’t get too caught up by what the brochure or their associates say. Read and understand their guidelines, and probe as much as you can. You may get roped into with whatever terms or conditions they have that you don’t agree with, and there’s no going back as soon as you sign.
Even if you become the most straight-paying customer out there, you may still end up miserable.
Avoid Cash Advances
Think of it like it’s a plague and stay away as much as possible. It’s a classic case of taking one step forward and two steps back. Cash advances are only pretty on the surface but it will hit hard on fees, interests, and other charges that may get too complicated. Besides, credit cards shouldn’t be used as if it’s a bank account.
Look for the perks and get all the rewards that you can
Choose the one with the most perks or special offers. It doesn’t have to be a long list of free stuff. Rewards like waiving of annual fees, free travel insurance, price protections, dining discounts, etc., can be equally good.
Keep claiming the freebies/rewards too. Never be hesitant to use your points as it is easy to redeem, especially if you mostly use credit cards for your various purchases.
Avoid making transactions through public internet connections
Regardless if it’s a sketchy coffee shop on your local street or a free connection at the mall, be extra cautious to public Wi-Fi. You are virtually exposing sensitive information and the network’s security is hit-or-miss. Equip your mobile devices with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to have more protection while online.
Get a card that suits your lifestyle
Many credit cards are structured to fit the lifestyles of different customers. Whether you like rebate points, discounts on gas, food, or other basic commodities, there’s a good chance that you can find a bank/card issuer that includes such perks.
Remember that the card is there to help you have a more convenient payment experience, and not give you a way to blow your money away. Being wise with your credit card usage will allow you to save on all types of fees and hassle.
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