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Did you know you have a tool on hand to help you save money? It’s your credit card.
That’s right, that evil piece of plastic that is wreaking so much havoc in terms of credit card debt can also be a great tool to help you save money. Here are some tips for you.
1. Use your bonus points. Many of us ignore the loyalty programs attached to credit cards without a second thought. However, next time your statement comes, pay close attention to the bonus points and other incentives that are offered. Sometimes you can get really sweet deals.
For example, if you have had your eye on a new digital camera, you may be able to use your credit card bonus points to pay for it. Then, once you have the item, set the amount of money you would have spent into the bank. This can be a major amount of money for big ticket items, such as electronics or travel
This is a great option to use during the gift-giving season. Use your bonus points to get really exciting gifts for those you love and don’t spend a dime. Again, deposit the dollars you would have spent into the bank.
2. Another way to use your credit card to save money is to time your purchases for shortly after your credit card statement date. Credit card companies must give you 28 days after your statement date to pay your bill. By buying shortly after the statement date, you actually have two months to pay it off without paying interest.
Here’s an example: Buy an item for $100, using a credit card shortly after the statement date. At the same time, deposit $100 in an interest-bearing savings account. When the next statement comes, withdraw the $100 to pay for the item. You’ve just saved the amount of interest you earned on that $100 deposit. In addition, you’ve avoided credit card interest because you can pay off your credit card balance in full the first month.
3. Pay off your credit card balance each month. Deposit the money you save in interest payments into the bank.
4. Switch to a no-fee credit card and put the membership fee you might have spent into a bank account.
Keep in mind that for these savings tips to work, you should make every effort to pay off your balance each month. If you carry credit card debt, concentrate on paying it off first.
Not only do these steps help you to save money, they will also ultimately help you improve your credit rating. You will be paying off your bills on time and using your credit card to build up bonus points. Your credit card company will look upon you as a good customer and a good credit risk. This will be reflected on your credit score and can help you down the road when it is time for a major purchase, such as a home.
In order to save money with your credit card, you basically have to beat the credit card companies at their own game. Carefully read all that fine print to find out ways to make your plastic work for you.