7 Tips for Paying Off Your Credit Card Before the Holidays

Credit card debt can be stressful any time of year, but it’s particularly burdensome around the holidays, when the pressure to spend is greater than ever. A November survey of 1,000 adults from Bankrate, which aggregates financial rate information, found that for the third year in a row, Americans’ biggest money goal is to finally get caught up on their bills, with 22 percent of respondents citing “paying down debt” as their top financial priority.

As we head into the holiday season, many Americans have not saved up in advance to cover the costs of gifts, travel and other celebration-related costs. Almost half of those in the Bankrate survey said they are most worried about getting on top of their bills and 10 percent mentioned the extra burden of providing financial help to family members and friends.

If you’re among those trying to get on top of bills and debt just as the pressure to buy gifts and decorate the house mounts, here are some ways to pay off bills before the holidays without ruining the celebration:

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Best Travel Credit Cards of 2016

A travel credit card lets you take advantage of awesome rewards like nights at top-tier hotels, access to exclusive airport lounges and free flights. When searching for a solid travel card, make sure to look beyond the shiny sign-up bonus. You’ll want to pay extra attention to rewards rates and ongoing perks. Here are our picks for the best travel cards.

  • Best for airline miles: Chase Sapphire Preferred®
  • Best for flat-rate rewards (tie): Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
  • Best for flat-rate rewards (tie): Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®
  • Best for no annual fee: BankAmericard Travel Rewards® credit card
  • Best for hotels: Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express

6 ways to pay off credit card debt

Are your credit card balances keeping you awake at night? Short of winning the lottery, there’s no quick-fix solution to get out of debt, despite what solicitors or infomercials might have you believe.

There are, however, many tried-and-true strategies for paying down debt. They’ve worked for others. Will they work for you? Ultimately, you’ll achieve success by committing to these actions:

  • Pick a plan that appeals to you.
  • Stick with it until you’re debt free.

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Good Credit Is Not A Good Reason To Borrow More Money After You’ve Achieved Financial Freedom

The most important thing for you to remember is that the only way you’ll ever be able to achieve financial freedom is if you are able to avoid getting back into debt once you’ve paid off everything that you owe. It seems like a lot of the different websites that give advice regarding bad credit are not looking at this the right way. Sometimes it almost sounds like the only reason you want to pay off your debts and improve your credit is so that you can borrow more money!

Granted, you will find it easier to borrow money if you have good credit, however, you want to make sure that the money you borrow in the future is something that you’ll be able to pay off relatively quickly – and that you can actually afford to spend that money. Lots of people who have their financial freedom only use their credit card on things that they could be buying out of pocket. After all, sometimes it’s not possible to buy things without credit.

However, the most important thing to realize is that the point of getting out of debt is not just so that you can buy more things on credit – that’s just another way to end up getting back into debt. Instead, you should get out of debt in order to achieve financial freedom. Once you’ve achieved financial freedom by paying off your debts, however, the rest will follow, and you will have good credit even though you probably won’t need to use it.

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Credit Cards: Pros and Cons

Sure, there are a lot of problems with credit cards, but there are a lot of good things attached to them as well. For instance, if you have a small business, fleet credit cards can keep your books in order when you issue them to drivers of company vehicles for gas and automobile repairs. On the other hand, it’s very easy to abuse department store credit cards. And it’s easy to have too many credit cards open at once.

Credit cards can be great for keeping your business in order; fleet credit cards are a tool you should use. With fleet credit cards, you can keep close watch on the expenses of your automotive fleet while building your company’s credit rating by paying off the card regularly; and because the cards are of limited use, it’s difficult for less-than-honest employees to abuse them. Company credit cards are also handy for keeping tabs on small expenditures, such as office supplies or luncheon meetings. But there’s a dark side to credit cards. When you start to slide into credit trouble, it’s often easier to get department store credit cards; and having too many department store credit cards can lead to missed payments and bad credit.

You don’t have to keep a balance on credit cards for it to count against you in your credit rating; instead, having a large amount of money available to use for credit can harm your application for large loans. And having several credit cards available to you makes it easy to either use too many credit cards for too many things, or to use the wrong, higher-interest credit card for your purchases. Either of these bad choices can cost you money and points against your credit rating.

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