How to use credit cards to your advantage?
Credit cards are top-rated these days and for a good reason! You can use them to make purchases even when you don’t have money for them, and you can pay the money back in weekly or monthly installments. You can find great credit card rates and enjoy all the benefits that come with it, as long as you keep some essential things in mind.
In the end, as impressive as credit cards are, they can have a negative impact on you if you don’t use them wisely.
Benefits of having a credit card
It can help you prevent awkward situations
Many people struggle financially, but they still want to afford a comfortable lifestyle. If you find yourself without cash often and you don’t want to put yourself in awkward situations, having a credit card at hand can be extremely useful.
It can allow you to purchase expensive things that you need
In the same way, if you want to buy something a little further than your price range but you don’t want to pay it upfront, you can use your credit card and pay small amounts back for it. Of course, here you have to think about a new washing machine because yours just broke, not a designer pair of shoes that you probably don’t need.
You can make an investment
Let’s say you want to start a small business, but you need to buy a lot of things to start up, and you can’t afford to do so. A simple way to go about this is to use your credit card, make the initial investment and pay the money back later. Who knows, maybe this is what you need to be financially independent.
You can take an opportunity
There are times when you see a significant discount for a product that you need, but as much as you want it, you don’t have money at the moment. Buying it right then and there will save you a lot of money in the long term, and you would end up buying it later for full price. In a situation like this, you can use your credit card without feeling guilty.
There are different types of credit cards for different things; you can have a credit card only for gas, and another one just for groceries. What is essential is to do some research and see what the best credit cards are for you.
How to get credit cards to work with you and not against you
Only use a credit card when you need it
It’s very tempting to go on a shopping spree for summer clothes and put everything on your credit card, but this is probably not the best thing to do if you want to save money in the long term. Be wise with your spending habits and only use your credit card when you don’t have any other solution.
Don’t carry it around when you have cash
If you already have cash with you, there is no reason to bring your credit card along. Leave it at home, and this way you know for a fact that you won’t be tempted to buy expensive things that you don’t need. Pay everything in cash as often as you can.
Ask for a bank report every month in physical form
It is easy to get an e-mail with what you spent, but you will probably ignore it. It is always recommended to have your bank statement on a physical paper so that you know exactly what you own and how much you’ve spent- it’s all about keeping track!
Put a spending limit on a credit card
Keep in mind that the limit should be quite low, so you don’t make large purchases without thinking it through. You can always lift the limit by calling the bank, but you won’t bother doing this to buy something that you don’t need.
Negotiate the lowest interest rate possible
Depending on how often you use your credit card and for how long you have it, you can negotiate the smallest interest rate with the bank. This means that you will end up paying less in the end; no matter how small the interest rate you get, it will add up in the long term.
Things you should know before getting a credit card
Having a credit card may lead you to making poor decisions and incurring more debt than you’d like. Here’s a few things you should know before you apply for one.
You will have to pay interest for what you spend
Some people don’t realize that they will have to pay for much more than just the products that they buy; they also have to pay interest. Keep this in mind when you buy a product with your credit card. If it would have a more significant price than this, would you still buy it?
Credit cards can put you in debt
If you keep buying and buying without making an effort to pay back the money, you can find yourself with a lot of debt that will make you financially unstable. It is essential to be aware of what you buy and that you have to pay the money back as soon as possible.
The fees can be higher than you think
Apart from the interest rate that is included on top of your purchase, merely having the credit card can cost you, even if you don’t use it. Many banks require a yearly or monthly fee for credit cards. Make sure that you compare credit card rates before you make your choice and you go for the most affordable option.
Your credit card options
Depending on your spending habits and financial situation, having a credit card can be beneficial or extremely harmful. Make sure you think carefully about every purchase you make, and you don’t buy something that you don’t need just because you can.
Some options that you should consider are Kiwibank, that offers a 13.45% rate credit card, ASB that provides a Visa credit card with 13.50% rate or ANZ that can give you a credit card with 13.90% interest rate.