Tag Archives: Saving

Saving Money with Credit Cards

I personally have never had any credit card debt but I am sure that some of our readers have and they found out really quick that they did not like the amount of interest that piled up every month. I was planing about talking about the interest rates of credit cards, the bad ones and the “good” ones (they actually all suck). However, after thinking about it I don’t even look at those rates because I never plan on using my credit card for things I can’t afford.

This post is not for everyone if you already have a lot of credit card debt (look out for next week’s post) or your credit score is low this may not be for you. This type of saving is not for everyone because it can get you into trouble if you do not pay off the credit cards in total each month.

Now that you have read the disclaimer let’s get down to business and talk about how you can save money using credit cards. First thing first, is that when you just use cash or a debit card you are just spending your money in full (that’s what poor people do). When you use a credit card that has some type of rewards you can get points, miles or cash back. I have seen as little as 1% back and high as 5% back. So instead of spending 100% of your money, you are spending anywhere from 99% to 95% of it. Okay okay, that’s not a lot of money but if your spending that money anyway why not save the little you can and go on a vacation or buy Christmas presents. This is low hanging fruit that almost anyone can take advantage of and it doesn’t take any time.

Low hanging fruit

Actual low hanging fruit

My wife and I didn’t do anything fancy last year and still made over a $100 in cash back from our Discover cards. We did this while I was in school and we didn’t spend a lot of money. This doesn’t take any extra time. This is something I would recommend to anyone that has the discipline to pay off their credit card at the end of the month. The second you leave a balance on the card the interest starts to eat up your savings.

I know you are all thinking “credit card companies want me to not pay my bills so they can make money!”. False!! While it is true that they can make money when you don’t pay your bills They still make a lot of money by you paying every month and then they don’t have to worry about the risk of you not paying them back.

evil credit card people

Credit card company CEO when you do or don’t pay your bills

For those that don’t know, every time you use a credit card they charge a convenience fee. The majority of the time the company you are using the credit card at pays that fee for you. That is how they still make money. I am telling you this so you know by doing this you are not cheating the system. They are making money off you either way so why not make some money off them as well. Am I right or what? As my wife always says “You are always right Logan”. Well… Maybe that is a little exaggerated but this one is a no-brainer.

If you want to take it a step farther here is my next suggestion (This is for people who have excellent credit scores). This strategy is good for people who subscribe to Dave Ramsey and don’t care about their Credit Score because this would be the only thing you use it for.

Here is the trick use the credit card signup bonus (once again I would not recommend opening new credit cards if you are already in a lot of debt, get out of debt first before you start on this). Right now I am looking at a few cards one is the  Capital One® SavorOne  that has a signup deal of $150 back after you spend $500 in the first 3 months and the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Via® that you get $200 when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months. If my wife and I do this we could make $350 in the next 3 months just by spending what we normally spend!

I am not going to try and be an expert on what credit cards are the best to use. The two places that I have learned the most about how to use them better is Nerdwallet and ChooseFI. I am going to put into practice what I have learned (as I recommend for you to do). I will let you know how it goes in the next few months.

Please remember this is just a place to pass around ideas. There isn’t the right and only way to do something. Don’t take the lazy bum approach and find out if this is a good idea for you or not.

Good luck out there this week!

Lessons from Monopoly Money

My passion for personal finance may have started as a young kid when my mother started to teach us about money and how it works in the real world. My mom would always have new rules and gimmicks to try and get us to be more productive around the house and to keep us out of trouble. They would always come and go and I had gotten to the point where when a new one started up and I didn’t like it, I would just wait it out and it would be gone in a week or two. Then one summer she came up with an idea that did not go away for a few years…

I’m not sure where she came up with the idea but it stuck. She had taken an old game of monopoly, most likely with some missing pieces, and used the money to make a small economy with me and my siblings. We all started the summer off with a set amount of money. Then my mom started to strip all the joys of summer away by putting a monopoly money value to all my favorite drinks and snacks… My summer was ruined. I now had to do chores to make monopoly money to eat all the food my parents paid for… Absurd right? Little did I know that my mom was trying to do more than just ruin my summer.

Here are just some of the things that my mom made us pay for with monopoly money. We had to pay for things like:

220px-Milk_glass

My main drink as a kid.

  • Snacks/any food that wasn’t part of a meal
  • Drinks other than water or a drink during a meal
  • Watching TV or a movie (paid by the half an hour)
  • Playing video games (paid by the half an hour)
  • Sleeping on the couch on the weekend (a weird thing that my siblings and I really like for some reason)

I think we had more things and I hope that my mother comments on this post to tell her side of the story.  We could make money by doing chores and reading books. I think there were more things that we could do but I don’t remember all of them. It was just things that I didn’t want to do during my summer break.

We always got paid once a week and my mom would buy a bunch of silly toys at the dollar tree that we could buy right after payday and only at that time. I being the type of kid that likes to save my money stopped buying the cheap dollar store toys with my paycheck and started to save.

I soon had a large amount of savings stashed under my mattress (if you are doing that 428f15636ea134786ef800d5852fea1dw-c300636xd-w685_h860_q80with real money you are reading the right blog because we are here to help you stop doing that). Next thing that happened is I learned a great lesson on what interest can do for you. One of my siblings wanted to sleep on the couch and was short the amount needed to pay for it. I wanted to help him so I made a deal. I told him that I would give him a hundred monopoly dollars if he would pay me one hundred and ten monopoly dollars when he was paid next. He accepted and I made ten dollars without doing one chore. That was the best ten dollars I have ever made, even if it was fake.

$500

It was raining these after a few weeks.

My siblings learned that they could do more things by just paying a little more money and I learned that I could use my money to make more money. I thought it wasn’t fair to just charge ten dollars for everything so I just charged 10% for everything the borrowed. Soon after starting loaning money I was rolling in those orange $500 dollar bills that we all like to have when we are playing monopoly (may be the only thing people like about monopoly).

There is a lot to unpack in this story but I want to talk about the power that interest can have on your money. A large number of people don’t save any money (if that is you, there will be a post just for you) but to those that do leave it in their savings account. Those people are getting about .001% back each year so, it is more than stuffing it under your mattress. However, you are still losing money each year by doing that due to inflation. (Inflation means that the money we have today is worth less tomorrow. An example is this year you can buy bread for $1 and next year bread costs $1.03.) Inflation is usually pretty small the normal rate is about 2-3% each year. Comment below if you want more information about inflation. I can also make another blog post about that.

What inflation means to your savings account is that by keeping your money in a savings account you are actually losing money each year. In order to avoid that I would recommend investing your money. There are many different ways to invest. The main two that I am doing currently are real estate and mutual funds. I will be putting some more material up on how to invest in mutual funds and real estate in a later post. If you have questions now please feel free to email me at Themoneystory@gmail.com.

Next week I am going to talk a little more about interest but the bad kind on your loans and credit cards. If you are thinking “O, that sounds like something I don’t want to know about” this post is for you. I also am working on make a page about budgeting so those that have asked about that it is coming soon!

Good luck out there this week!