rewards http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/2076/all en-US The Biggest Ways You're Wasting Money at the Pump http://www.wisebread.com/the-biggest-ways-youre-wasting-money-at-the-pump <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-biggest-ways-youre-wasting-money-at-the-pump" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/pretty_young_woman_refuel_the_car.jpg" alt="Pretty young woman refuel the car" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ever feel conflicted at the pump when you need to choose between premium gas and standard grade? Consumers as a whole have been led to believe that items with the &quot;premium&quot; name tag are worth the money &mdash; and can even save us money long-term. However, this is not true when it comes to premium gas.</p> <p>A recent AAA report found that the higher cost of premium gas offers little to no benefit for vehicles that are recommended, but not required, to use the fuel. The same goes for cars that do not recommend nor require the higher octane gasoline. According to the report, over 1.5 million new cars sold last year came with the recommendation to use higher octane gas, but it was not required for car functionality. So, unless your car requires the premium stuff, you're better off skipping it.</p> <p>If you are in the market for a new vehicle, consider choosing a car that does not require premium gas. Driving a car that needs premium fuel will cost you about 20 to 25 percent more at the pump, which translates to about 50 cents a gallon. For a 15-gallon car, that can tack on an additional $7.50 per fill up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-youre-wasting-gas-without-realizing-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways You're Wasting Gas Without Realizing It</a>)</p> <p>Here are other ways drivers are wasting money at the pump.</p> <h2>Not shopping around</h2> <p>Many times, drivers will pay more for gas due to poor planning. You are desperate to find the closest gas station before you run on empty, and you don't care if you have to pay more. If this describes you, stop living this way. Not only are you slowly draining your budget, but you put yourself at risk if an emergency were to happen.</p> <p>Once your tank hits the halfway mark, use an app like GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas in your area. Plan to stop when you are near that station for another errand. When you find a good deal on gas, fill up the tank.</p> <h2>Not paying the right way</h2> <p>There are really only two options that are beneficial to your finances when it comes to paying for gas. The first option is to pay with cash. Some gas stations will offer a small discount per gallon if you pay with cash over plastic. The other option is to purchase gas with a credit card that offers <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">rewards or cash back for gas</a>. Make sure you're able to pay your credit card bill in full each month to truly benefit from the rewards.</p> <p>Using your debit card at the pump doesn't benefit your bank account, and it can also put you at risk. Skimmers and card fraud are increasingly common at gas stations. If you pay with a credit card, it is easier to stop fraudulent charges, and your personal bank account will not be in limbo as the bank sorts out the mess.</p> <h2>Not keeping your car well maintained</h2> <p>Several small factors can add up to wasted money at the gas pump. For example, poorly inflated tires and dirty air filters can make your vehicle work harder than it needs to. This translates to more gas wasted on the road.</p> <p>Similarly, the heavier your car is, the more gas you will burn. Having a little extra junk in the trunk isn't going to throw off your gas budget, but if you regularly keep heavy equipment or tools in the back of your vehicle, consider lightening the load on days you don't need the items.</p> <h2>Not driving smarter</h2> <p>It seems like common knowledge that a steady driving speed is better for your gas tank than overly accelerating or braking your car. However, each time I drive into Los Angeles, I am amazed by how many drivers accelerate for extended periods of time, brake hard for no reason, or drive over 90 MPH.</p> <p>Driving at a slower, steadier pace will extend your time between gas fuel ups and keep you away from pricey speeding tickets. For longer commutes, plan your trip so you can avoid heavy times of traffic.</p> <p>Using these tips can save you as much as $10 to $20 per fuel up, which adds up quickly. Wouldn't you rather spend that money on something fun than at the pump?</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-biggest-ways-youre-wasting-money-at-the-pump&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Biggest%2520Ways%2520You%2527re%2520Wasting%2520Money%2520at%2520the%2520Pump.jpg&amp;description=The%20Biggest%20Ways%20You're%20Wasting%20Money%20at%20the%20Pump"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Biggest%20Ways%20You%27re%20Wasting%20Money%20at%20the%20Pump.jpg" alt="The Biggest Ways You're Wasting Money at the Pump" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-biggest-ways-youre-wasting-money-at-the-pump">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-cheap-ways-to-save-money-on-gas">8 Cheap Ways to Save Money on Gas</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/it-bear-repeating-driving-slower-saves-you-money">It Bears Repeating - Driving Slower Saves Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-rich-youd-be-if-you-stopped-driving">Here&#039;s How Rich You&#039;d Be If You Stopped Driving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-gas-dont-make-left-hand-turns">Save gas; don&#039;t make left-hand turns.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fight-your-speeding-ticket-save-yourself-some-dough">Fight Your Speeding Ticket, Save Yourself Some Dough</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation cash back driving gas gasoline premium gas price comparisons rewards traffic trip planning Tue, 27 Mar 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 2117453 at http://www.wisebread.com Yes, You Need "Fun Money" in Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-fun-money-in-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/yes-you-need-fun-money-in-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/shopping_girls_are_laughing_on_the_escalator.jpg" alt="Shopping girls are laughing on the escalator" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving money and living frugally can be hard work. While there's something romantic about living the ascetic life, most of us need to let loose once in a while. But how can you inject fun into your life when you're trying to save every penny? That's easy! Just budget for it.</p> <p>It's perfectly OK to allow for a modest amount of fun in your life. The key is to plan for it each month, so that you don't let your spending exceed your income. Here are some key reasons why budgeting for fun activities is something even the most frugal people should do.</p> <h2>Every dollar needs a bucket</h2> <p>If you are tracking your spending, every expenditure you make belongs as part of a budget. By maintaining these budgets, you'll have better control over ensuring that your spending falls under a certain overall level for the month.</p> <p>Fun money should be kept separate from things like your restaurant budget or your cable bill. This is money that you use for anything you want, with no guilt or questions. It can be used for a night out at the movies, or on that new sweater you saw at Banana Republic. Anything goes, as long as it falls within your (modest) predetermined budget.</p> <h2>Being frugal can be exhausting</h2> <p>Saving money and living on a shoestring budget is really, really hard. Watching every penny and spending money only on essentials can get old, tiresome, and flat-out depressing. In fact, it can be so soul-sucking that after a while, you may just abandon the whole effort altogether.</p> <p>But if you give yourself a small fun budget, it can take the pressure off. You can reward yourself for a job well done and enjoy yourself without feeling guilty about it, as long as you don't blow through your modest budget.</p> <h2>A small fun budget can prevent a big expenditure</h2> <p>If you go too long without fun, eventually you may break down and do something over the top and expensive. You might buy a motorcycle you don't need, or book a trip to Bali that you can't afford. You may overpay for tickets to the Super Bowl. You'll go overboard, because you can't take it anymore. Think of it like a dam that needs to let some water through occasionally so that it doesn't burst entirely. Your fun budget is saving yourself from an explosion of spending.</p> <h2>You don't want to resent your partner</h2> <p>It's a real drag being the person who has to clamp down on fun. It's also unfair if you're the one having fun while your partner is depriving themselves of it. It's best to give each other a small fun budget, so neither person can get on the other's case for enjoying themselves a bit. Your relationship will be enhanced if you allow yourself to have some fun together or apart, as long as you don't spend too much.</p> <h2>It's impossible to avoid fun</h2> <p>There are times when you will get roped into having a good time. Your buddy calls and begs you to come and see the new <em>Star Wars </em>movie with him. One of your girlfriends has a bachelorette party. There's a happy hour to thank a coworker who's moving on. These are things you can't say no to, but they might not necessarily fall into any other budget. Start each month assuming you'll get roped into something fun, and you won't feel bad for taking part.</p> <h2>Fun doesn't have to be expensive</h2> <p>You may ask, &quot;Why budget for fun when the entire idea is to save as much as possible?&quot; Well, because fun doesn't necessarily have to make a big dent in your overall spending. Grabbing $5 bleacher seats at the ballgame isn't going to make or break you financially. A round of golf every other month won't hurt too bad, especially if you play at the local municipal course on a Tuesday.</p> <p>No one says you have to budget hundreds of dollars to allow for front row seats at the Foo Fighters concert. Just a few bucks of fun can help lighten the tension of saving money and boost your morale.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyes-you-need-fun-money-in-your-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FYes%252C%2520You%2520Need%2520_Fun%2520Money_%2520in%2520Your%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=Yes%2C%20You%20Need%20%22Fun%20Money%22%20in%20Your%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Yes%2C%20You%20Need%20_Fun%20Money_%20in%20Your%20Budget.jpg" alt="Yes, You Need &quot;Fun Money&quot; in Your Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-fun-money-in-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-living-on-a-tight-budget-makes-you-happier">How Living on a Tight Budget Makes You Happier</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-too-many-decisions-costs-you-money">Here&#039;s How Too Many Decisions Costs You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-nice-thing-can-ruin-your-whole-budget">How One Nice Thing Can Ruin Your Whole Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting entertainment frugal fun money rewards saving money self control Spending Money Thu, 08 Feb 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 2096391 at http://www.wisebread.com What Happens to Your Store Credit Card When the Store Closes? http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-store-credit-card-when-the-store-closes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-happens-to-your-store-credit-card-when-the-store-closes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/radio_shack_store_entrance_facade_with_closing_sale_sign.jpg" alt="Radio Shack store entrance facade with closing sale sign" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The year 2017 won't go down as a banner year for retailers. Big-name companies such as The Limited, Toys R Us, RadioShack, and Gander Mountain all filed for bankruptcy protection last year.</p> <p>With bankruptcy comes the closing of hundreds of stores, and that means the company behind one of your store credit cards could shutter the locations nearest you. That retailer might even go out of business entirely. That leaves two questions: Should you close a store credit card if it's unlikely that you'll ever use the card again? And if a store goes completely out of business, what happens to the credit card it issued you? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-sign-up-for-that-store-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Sign Up for That Store Credit Card?</a>)</p> <h2>When a retailer goes out of business</h2> <p>Let's tackle this predicament first. When a retailer goes out of business, your credit card account with that merchant will usually be canceled, and will be reported as canceled on your three credit reports (maintained by Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).</p> <p>What won't go away, though, is the balance on your store credit card. Most store credit cards are not actually owned by the retailers whose names are printed on the front. Instead, they are owned by banks or large credit card companies. When a retailer goes out of business, you must keep making payments on its branded credit card until the debt you accrued is paid off.</p> <p>If you stop making payments, you will damage your credit score. A single late payment of more than 30 days past due could send your score falling by 100 points or more. A missed or late payment also remains on your credit reports for seven years.</p> <p>If a retailer goes out of business, any rewards you've earned on that store credit card will also disappear. If you know that the store behind your credit card is on the verge of shutting its doors, you should redeem those rewards before it's too late.</p> <h2>When a retailer closes its nearest locations</h2> <p>If the store that issued your card isn't going out of business completely, and is instead just closing the brick-and-mortar locations nearest to you, keep in mind that you may still be able to use that store card for online purchases. But if you truly don't think you'll ever use the card again, you might decide that it's pointless to hold onto it and cancel the account.</p> <p>This is the wrong move. Closing a credit account, even one you don't use anymore, will hurt your credit score.</p> <p>You have something called a credit utilization ratio, which accounts for 30 percent of your credit score. This is a measure of how much of your available credit you are using at any given time. The more of your credit that you are using, and the higher this ratio, the lower your credit score will be.</p> <p>Closing a store credit card, even if you no longer use that card, will automatically lower your credit utilization ratio. Say you have three credit cards &mdash; one with a credit limit of $10,000, a second with a credit limit of $5,000, and a store card with a credit limit of $3,000. That gives you $18,000 of available credit. Now, say you owe $7,500 total on these credit cards. Your credit utilization ratio is about 42 percent, or $7,500 divided by $18,000.</p> <p>If you close that store card with a credit limit of $3,000, your available credit instantly falls to $15,000. Even if you don't make any more charges, your credit utilization ratio has automatically increased to 50 percent ($7,500 divided by $15,000).</p> <p>So even though you didn't add to your credit card debt, your credit score could still take a hit if you close that store-branded credit card.</p> <p>Store credit cards are a hassle when a retailer closes stores or goes out of business. But opening a store credit card might not be a smart move in any circumstance. Store cards that can only be used at one retailer aren't flexible. Why not instead open a non-store credit card that comes with a solid rewards program and that you can use anywhere, including at your favorite retailer? Such credit cards are far more useful than single-retailer brands. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-store-card-pitfalls-to-watch-out-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Store Card Pitfalls to Watch Out For</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhat-happens-to-your-store-credit-card-when-the-store-closes&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhat%2520Happens%2520to%2520Your%2520Store%2520Credit%2520Card%2520When%2520the%2520Store%2520Closes_.jpg&amp;description=What%20Happens%20to%20Your%20Store%20Credit%20Card%20When%20the%20Store%20Closes%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/What%20Happens%20to%20Your%20Store%20Credit%20Card%20When%20the%20Store%20Closes_.jpg" alt="What Happens to Your Store Credit Card When the Store Closes?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-happens-to-your-store-credit-card-when-the-store-closes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/store-credit-cards-that-dont-suck">Store Credit Cards That Don&#039;t Suck</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-loads-of-money-using-credit-cards">7 Ways to Save Loads of Money Using Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit">4 Reasons Credit Is Safer Than Debit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-millennials-guide-to-avoiding-credit-card-debt">The Millennials Guide to Avoiding Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping bankruptcy credit score going out of business retailers rewards store credit cards Fri, 02 Feb 2018 09:30:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 2091494 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Divide Rewards and Keep Your Sanity in Divorce http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-divide-rewards-and-keep-your-sanity-in-divorce <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-divide-rewards-and-keep-your-sanity-in-divorce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/the_monthly_finances_0.jpg" alt="The monthly finances" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Divorce is a fact of life in the United States these days. According to a 2017 Gallup poll, 73 percent of American adults believe divorce is morally acceptable. And while divorce rates have declined in recent years, still 40-50 percent of married couples wind up going their separate ways.</p> <p>Unfortunately for everyone involved, divorce is usually messy and sometimes even financially catastrophic. Not only does divorce signify the separation of a household and the end of a relationship, but it usually means divvying up all personal property and assets, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-financially-during-a-divorce-or-separation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Protect Yourself Financially in a Divorce</a>)</p> <h2>What happens to airline miles when you get divorced?</h2> <p>But, what about your airline miles? If you're careening toward divorce and flush with rewards points, you may have to get used to the idea of splitting them up.</p> <p>According to the legal experts at LegalZoom, airline miles and other points are treated like other marital assets because, well, they are. Even though points and miles aren't as easy to see and inspect as other property like cars or furniture, they still have value &mdash; at least to some people. If you or your spouse earned rewards points during your marriage, these miles are considered a marital asset, notes LegalZoom. As a result, you'll have to split them or agree upon some other arrangement.</p> <p>Sadly, this is where things get complicated. LegalZoom notes that your method of divvying things up may vary based on where you live. If you reside in a community property state like California, for example, the courts will split your miles equally between you. In equitable distribution states like New York or Maryland, on the other hand, miles are divided based on what the court deems &quot;fair.&quot;</p> <p>You'll definitely want to consult your divorce lawyer if you or your soon-to-be ex are, say, sitting on a stash of hundreds of thousands of miles. Your attorney may already know the law in your state, and if not, they'll find out for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-get-divorced?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Divorce</a>)</p> <h2>Methods of divvying up miles and points after divorce</h2> <p>But how exactly do you divide airline miles and other rewards points? It depends on a number of factors. While splitting a stash of points and miles down the middle may sound like the fairest thing to do, it usually comes with fees.</p> <h3>Divide and transfer points</h3> <p>Take the Marriott Rewards program, for example. While the program lets you pool points with a spouse to make a specific award redemption, you'll have to pay $10 to pool points in any other case unless you have Marriott Gold or Platinum status.</p> <p>That's not a high price to pay, but you may be able to get around it completely. Since Marriott points can now be transferred to Starwood Preferred Guest at a 3:1 ratio and Starwood does let you combine or share points with a spouse, both spouses could transfer all their Marriott points to SPG accounts then split them up there. Problem solved. Then again, paying a $10 fee to transfer points in a divorce seems like a small price to pay.</p> <p>The IHG Rewards program lets you transfer points to another person but you'll have to pay $5 per 1,000 points transferred. While $5 per 1,000 points may be a small price to pay in the event of a divorce, this could be a problem if, say, one spouse has hundreds of thousands of IHG Rewards points in their account. In that case, both spouses might have to find another way to split up their rewards in a fair and sensible way.</p> <h3>Valuing points and miles</h3> <p>In some situations, you just <em>can't</em> split points up equally, or it might not make sense if the account has just enough points for one flight. In those cases, it might work better to assign a value to accrued points and negotiate payment or other property to make things equal. Unfortunately, this is another tricky situation since points and miles don't have a set value and may be worth more or less depending on how they are redeemed.</p> <p>You can find help by checking monthly points valuations from The Points Guy, who analyzes point value fluctuations regularly based on the costs of travel and changes in rewards programs. At the moment, TPG says that American AAdvantage miles are worth 1.4 cents each, and Delta SkyMiles are worth a paltry 1.2 cents each.</p> <p>If one spouse is to get 100,000 Delta SkyMiles and 200,000 American AAdvantage miles, the couple could use these valuations as a guide, then make sure the other spouse gets $4,000 to make things equal ($1,200 for 100,000 Delta SkyMiles and $2,800 for the 200,000 American AAdvantage miles).</p> <h3>Keep miles in separate accounts but agree on who can use them</h3> <p>Still, there are even more options on the table. If you can't or won't transfer points and don't want to pay each other in cash or other property, there are a few other ways to split up your points in a fair and equitable way. Many rewards programs that won't let you transfer points will let you book travel in another person's name. Because of this, you could keep airline miles where they are and agree on who can use them and when.</p> <h3>Agree to use miles for joint purposes</h3> <p>Alternatively, a divorcing couple could jointly agree to use miles only for purposes they agree upon, such as getting their children or other family members home for the holidays.</p> <h2>Don't sweat the small stuff</h2> <p>While airline miles and other reward currencies have financial value and fixed opportunity costs (since it takes time to earn them), most couples likely have balances so small they're not worth squabbling over. And just like money, you can always rack up more points and miles once you divorce and start living life on your own terms.</p> <p>On the flip side, don't let a spouse flush with points get away with a huge stash of airline miles or rewards points just because the points are in their name and their name only. Points and miles may not have tangible value until you redeem them, but the travel they help you afford is often priceless.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-divide-rewards-and-keep-your-sanity-in-divorce&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Divide%2520Rewards%2520and%2520Keep%2520Your%2520Sanity%2520in%2520Divorce.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Divide%20Rewards%20and%20Keep%20Your%20Sanity%20in%20Divorce"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Divide%20Rewards%20and%20Keep%20Your%20Sanity%20in%20Divorce.jpg" alt="How to Divide Rewards and Keep Your Sanity in Divorce" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-divide-rewards-and-keep-your-sanity-in-divorce">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-travel-must-haves-for-nursing-moms">8 Travel Must-Haves for Nursing Moms</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-professional-award-bookers-can-get-you-free-rewards-flights">How Professional Award Bookers Can Get You Free Rewards Flights</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-romantic-getaways-any-couple-can-afford">7 Romantic Getaways Any Couple Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-affordable-family-travel-is-possible">Yes, Affordable Family Travel Is Possible</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Travel credit card rewards dividing rewards divorce flight miles rewards travel tips Thu, 25 Jan 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Holly Johnson 2093191 at http://www.wisebread.com The Millennials Guide to Avoiding Credit Card Debt http://www.wisebread.com/the-millennials-guide-to-avoiding-credit-card-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-millennials-guide-to-avoiding-credit-card-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_doing_online_shopping.jpg" alt="Woman doing online shopping" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Americans owe billions of dollars in credit card debt, and the high interest rates that come with it can lead to a debt spiral that is very challenging to overcome.</p> <p>Millennials, having lived through the financial crisis and other economic downturns, appear to be more wary of credit cards than other generations, according to several recent surveys from sources including Bankrate and TransUnion. This wariness is healthy, but it's important for this younger generation to know that credit cards by themselves can be harmless and perhaps even beneficial if used wisely. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-millennials-should-embrace-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Millennials Should Embrace Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>If you're a millennial, consider these tips on how to use credit cards while avoiding getting into dangerous debt.</p> <h2>Pay attention to interest rates</h2> <p>Sometimes when you're in a financial pinch, you may be relieved to see a new credit card application come in the mail. But it's a bad idea to apply without looking at the terms first. Not all credit cards are created equal, and some have very high interest rates that could cripple you financially. An annual percentage rate of about 15 percent is standard, but some can go well above 20 percent, and it's possible to find rates below 12 percent. Be sure to read the fine print on all cards, and compare rates to find the best card available for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-millennials?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Millennials</a>)</p> <p>Also, don't get too enamored with low introductory rates; remember that all introductory rates eventually aren't introductory anymore. If you're struggling to get out of debt, it may be helpful to transfer a balance to a card with a 0% introductory APR, but be aware that rate will jump after a certain amount of time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best 0% Balance Transfer Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Avoid fees</h2> <p>Some credit cards will charge you an annual fee just to have them. Sometimes, this annual fee allows you to receive special benefits, but the average person should never feel the need to pay money just to have access to credit. You may feel like you've &quot;arrived&quot; because you are spending $550 per year for that platinum card, but it's a silly expense if you're only using the card to pay for lunch and fill your gas tank. These <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">premium credit cards</a> come with many perks and benefits that only benefit certain people. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-decide-if-an-annual-fee-credit-card-is-worth-it-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Decide if an Annual Fee Credit Card Is Worth It for You</a>)</p> <h2>Pay on time</h2> <p>The nice thing about credit cards is that if you pay off the balance every month, on time, you're not charged any extra fees or interest. There's really no down side to using a credit card to buy items and paying the bill in full each month.</p> <p>Paying your bill on time is the number one factor in determining your credit history. Miss a payment, and you are subjecting yourself to late charges and a hefty amount of interest. Additionally, you could see your credit score suffer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>Watch the revolving balance</h2> <p>Even if you pay your bill on time every month, your credit score could be hurt if you have a high balance each month. Credit bureaus don't like it when you are bumping up against your credit limit on a regular basis. In fact, as much as one-third of your credit score is based on &quot;credit utilization,&quot; or the amount of debt you have versus the amount of credit you have available. In other words, you should still try to avoid racking up a large credit card bill, even if you're diligent about paying on time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">This One Ratio Is the Key to a Good Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>Use them to build credit</h2> <p>When used responsibly, credit cards can help you build a credit history and make it easier to get favorable terms when borrowing money elsewhere. If you are applying for a mortgage, for example, a lender will review your credit score and payment history to determine the rate and size of the loan that you are eligible for. Without a lengthy credit history, lenders may find it hard to give you good terms, or you may be turned down altogether. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <h2>Have multiple cards, but be careful</h2> <p>People with high credit scores tend to have more cards than those with lower scores. This is because your credit score is partially based on how much debt you have compared to your overall availability of credit. Since more cards will generally mean more available credit, there is an advantage to having multiple cards. The very, very big caveat to this is that if you have more cards, you have more ability to borrow and rack up debt.</p> <p>Having multiple cards can give you flexibility, because not all cards are accepted everywhere. Additionally, it may be helpful to have credit cards with varying kinds of rewards. There is no universal rule of thumb regarding the optimal number of credit cards, but it's likely that you can get away with having two or three.</p> <h2>Track your spending</h2> <p>One nice advantage to using credit cards is that it will allow you to keep a real-time record of your purchases. If you use cash instead, recording your spending is more of a manual chore.</p> <p>Most credit card companies allow you to check your transactions online and will even categorize your purchases, thus helping with budgeting. If you use credit cards, don't just mindlessly pay your bill when it comes. Take the time to review what you spent during the previous month, and try to identify where you may be able to cut expenditures and boost your savings.</p> <h2>Use your rewards</h2> <p>There's a healthy competition among credit cards to offer rewards to cardholders when they make purchases. Some cards give you cash back. Many offer airline points or other travel rewards. There are cards offering cash back to be used at Disney theme parks, and some that allow you to direct money into retirement accounts.</p> <p>When used responsibly, these credit cards can save you a lot of money. Do some research to find the credit cards with the best rewards for you, and try to stay away from cards with an annual fee, if possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tricks to Making the Most of Your Reward Miles</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-millennials-guide-to-avoiding-credit-card-debt&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Millennials%2520Guide%2520to%2520Avoiding%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Debt.jpg&amp;description=The%20Millennials%20Guide%20to%20Avoiding%20Credit%20Card%20Debt"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%20Millennials%20Guide%20to%20Avoiding%20Credit%20Card%20Debt.jpg" alt="The Millennials Guide to Avoiding Credit Card Debt" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-millennials-guide-to-avoiding-credit-card-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-tell-if-a-credit-card-offer-is-a-good-one">6 Ways to Tell If a Credit Card Offer Is a Good One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-boost-your-credit-with-a-balance-transfer">How to Boost Your Credit With a Balance Transfer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-actions-to-take-when-youre-denied-a-credit-limit-increase">9 Actions to Take When You&#039;re Denied a Credit Limit Increase</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-things-you-should-know-about-balance-transfer-cards">7 Important Things You Should Know About Balance Transfer Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-need-to-know-before-taking-out-a-personal-loan">10 Things You Need to Know Before Taking Out a Personal Loan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Credit Cards balance transfers cash back credit card debt credit score credit utilization ratio fees interest rates millennials rewards Mon, 22 Jan 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 2086607 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Good Credit Is Better Than a Boyfriend http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-good-credit-is-better-than-a-boyfriend <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-good-credit-is-better-than-a-boyfriend" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kissing_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Kissing piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having good credit may not sound like much when compared to romance. After all, there aren&rsquo;t many candlelit dinners, vases overflowing with roses, or long walks on the beach with good credit.</p> <p>However, while having a significant other is a wonderful thing, a strong credit history can enhance your life in ways romance can't quite match. Here are some things that your love life can&rsquo;t always promise you &mdash; but good credit can.</p> <h2>1. Good credit is always there for you</h2> <p>No matter when you need it &mdash; whether it&rsquo;s the middle of the night, or the middle of the workday &mdash; good credit is always there for you. Even if you just want to check it again, one more time to feel more secure, good credit doesn&rsquo;t think you're being clingy.</p> <p>Good credit doesn&rsquo;t require anything special to keep it happy: Simply keep up with smart money habits, and it will show up wherever and whenever you need it, whether it&rsquo;s for a car loan, a home loan, or that new apartment you&rsquo;ve been wanting. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-life-is-better-with-good-credit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways Life Is Better With Good Credit</a>)</p> <h2>2. Good credit comes through in an emergency</h2> <p>Do you need to move across town quickly? Good credit will help you land an awesome new apartment. It will also help get your utilities set up without any deposits or letters of guarantee, making the whole process quick and painless.</p> <p>Maybe your car got totaled and you need a loan for a new one, fast. Good credit will come through for you there, too, giving you a better chance of getting the best terms on the loan for your new ride. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-fast?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score Fast</a>)</p> <h2>3. Good credit rewards you every day</h2> <p>When you have a solid credit score, you stand a much better chance of qualifying for the best rewards credit cards that fit your needs and lifestyle, and at a much lower rate. This means that every time you swipe, you&rsquo;ll earn bonuses, miles, or cash back that will make your life a little sweeter. And it&rsquo;s all thanks to good credit, who helped you land the cards in the first place.</p> <p>A romantic partner might reward you on occasion, but there will undoubtedly be some rocky times. That high credit score, however, is committed to making your life a little better every single day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-excellent-credit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Credit Cards for People With Excellent Credit</a>)</p> <h2>4. Good credit saves you money</h2> <p>Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries: Significant others can be expensive! Good credit, on the other hand, helps keep your money in your pockets. You&rsquo;ll pay less in deposits for things like utilities and mobile phone contracts. You&rsquo;ll pay less in interest on loans and credit cards. Your auto insurance rates will be lower, too. Every day, you&rsquo;ll have more money to spend on the things that make you happy, all courtesy of good credit.</p> <h2>5. Good credit helps you get a home</h2> <p>Buying a home with your significant other can be pretty scary. Buying a home with good credit, though, is easy. You'll get preapproved in a snap, and your mortgage payment will be lower thanks to a better rate. This will leave you with more room in the budget for things like decorating, dining out, and &mdash; most importantly &mdash; savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-a-good-credit-score-range?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Is a Good Credit Score and Why Is It Important?</a>)</p> <h2>6. Good credit helps you get your way</h2> <p>There&rsquo;s no partner on earth who will let you have your way all the time &mdash; but good credit will. Maybe you need a small loan to cover an unexpected home repair. If you harness the negotiation power of a sky-high credit score, you can ask for a lower interest rate or a more attractive repayment plan. You can also shop around for the best quotes from different lenders, and leverage them to get an even better deal.</p> <p>Romantic relationships make life worthwhile and so does having strong credit. Sometimes, romance is better &mdash; but other times, a good credit score is more comforting, reliable, supportive, and helpful than a boyfriend.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-good-credit-is-better-than-a-boyfriend&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520Good%2520Credit%2520Is%2520Better%2520Than%2520a%2520Boyfriend.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20Good%20Credit%20Is%20Better%20Than%20a%20Boyfriend"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20Good%20Credit%20Is%20Better%20Than%20a%20Boyfriend.jpg" alt="6 Ways Good Credit Is Better Than a Boyfriend" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-good-credit-is-better-than-a-boyfriend">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-shouldnt-panic-if-your-credit-score-drops">Why You Shouldn&#039;t Panic If Your Credit Score Drops</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-age-of-your-credit-history-matters">Why the Age of Your Credit History Matters</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debunking-8-common-credit-score-myths">Debunking 8 Common Credit Score Myths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance credit history credit score emergencies good credit humor interest rates loans love life mortgages rewards romance Thu, 18 Jan 2018 09:00:07 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 2086758 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_asian_woman_with_shopping_bags.jpg" alt="Happy asian woman with shopping bags" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Don't let the success of Cyber Monday fool you: Black Friday is still a massive holiday spending day. According to the National Retail Federation, over 154 million consumers shopped over Black Friday weekend in 2016 &mdash; up from 151 million the year before.</p> <p>Chances are, you're going to be one of those many consumers shopping on Black Friday this year. But you don't have to totally blow your budget in the process. There are ways you can soften the blow to your bank account with advance preparation. Here's how.</p> <h2>1. Put your common indulgences on hold</h2> <p>I like to have my hair cut every two weeks. But when I'm trying to save, I push the cut out to every three weeks. My haircuts cost $17 including tip, and if I adhered to this schedule on a regular basis, I'd save a whopping $148 a year. You may have an indulgence like this that you can honor less frequently or stop altogether while you try to budget more strictly during the holidays. These indulgences usually aren't cheap, and forgoing them will provide a sizable amount of extra dough for you to use for gift shopping.</p> <h2>2. Focus on paying off any existing credit card debt</h2> <p>Before you start swiping your cards left and right, it's important to tackle any existing credit card debt, especially if you've only been making minimum payments up to this point. Concentrate on the highest-interest cards first; you'll save more in the long run by paying those down or off as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Pause or change your media subscriptions</h2> <p>The holidays are busy. Shopping, parties, pageants &mdash; you know the drill. All that running around probably leaves you with little time to use the subscription services for which you're paying a premium. So don't.</p> <p>&quot;Consider pausing subscriptions for a few months, or temporarily changing services to a lower-priced tier,&quot; advises Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing with DealNews. &quot;For example, if you pay extra for Hulu without ads, premium Netflix, or extra data cell service, you might want to adjust all of them for a month or two to save some cash for Black Friday and the holidays.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Pick up short-term gigs and odd jobs for quick cash</h2> <p>I participate in several &quot;gig&quot; services throughout the year, but this side work really picks up around the holidays &mdash; and that helps my disposable income swell. Pet sit via Rover.com, pick up passengers using Lyft, host guests in your home through Airbnb, and deliver groceries with the help of Instacart. I do it all, and I highly recommend looking into any one of these opportunities for quick cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-seasonal-side-hustles-thatll-cover-your-holiday-spending?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Seasonal Side Hustles That'll Cover Your Holiday Spending</a>)</p> <h2>5. Make a gift list and establish a firm maximum budget</h2> <p>Make your list, check it twice, and decide how much you want to spend on each recipient. Once that budget is set, stick to it. Better yet, make it your goal to come in under the amounts you've established for each person so you can treat yourself to a little something special when all is said and done. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a>)</p> <h2>6. Research the Black Friday deals ahead of time</h2> <p>News of many Black Friday offers will be released well in advance &mdash; several retailers, like Walmart, Costco, Kohl's, and JCPenny have already whetted consumers' appetites with &quot;leaked&quot; deals &mdash; which allows you plenty of time to research the best of the best. There are entire sites, such as <a href="https://bestblackfriday.com/" target="_blank">Best of Black Friday</a>, dedicated to compiling the deals in one place.</p> <h2>7. Start shopping early to spread out your spending</h2> <p>Why wait until Black Friday if you recognize a great deal when you see one? Just because the day after Thanksgiving receives heavy promotion doesn't mean there aren't other great deals before the stampedes begin.</p> <p>&quot;Make it a point to get a jump-start on planning and shopping early so you have a few months to purchase gifts instead of waiting until the holiday season,&quot; suggests Natasha Rachel Smith, personal finance expert at TopCashback.com. &quot;Also, don't forget about deals on Thanksgiving. Every year Black Friday has crept up earlier and earlier. In fact, in recent years, some deals sell out before Black Friday.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-score-a-black-friday-deal-without-leaving-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Score a Black Friday Deal Without Leaving Home</a>)</p> <h2>8. Have a game plan before stepping foot in the store</h2> <p>Similar to never going to the supermarket on an empty stomach, don't head into the holiday season without a game plan.</p> <p>&quot;Most major retailers will release their deals for Black Friday the week before to give consumers time to plan and get excited about what they want to purchase,&quot; Smith says. &quot;Use this time wisely to see what is going to be on sale and compare deals at each retailer. By creating a game plan, you can prioritize any items that sell fast or are at the best-discounted price. Not only will you save time but you'll save money too by planning what to get, when, and where.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-skills-you-need-to-survive-black-friday?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Frugal Skills You Need to Survive Black Friday</a>)</p> <h2>9. Consult your cash back apps before heading out</h2> <p>I've been killing it in the cash back game lately, thanks to apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51. The trick is to consult these apps before you go shopping so you know what's available and opt in if required. With Ibotta, for instance, many times it requires you to make purchases through its app &mdash; it will launch the retailers' sites for you, like Under Armour, as an example &mdash; so it can track your purchase and deposit the cash back you've earned. Every penny returned to you helps. Trust me &mdash; you will be thankful for this at holiday time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a>)</p> <h2>10. Consider your method of payment for maximum savings</h2> <p>You might think that cash in hand is the best way to shop on Black Friday (it certainly can help avoid overspending if you're disciplined), but you could be disqualifying yourself for deals available through other methods of payment. Capitalize on your Black Friday spending by deciding how you're going to buy things &mdash; cash, debit, or credit card &mdash; to reap the best benefits.</p> <p>Scope out all your payment options and use the bonuses and rewards in your favor. If you do the research and find that you want to apply for a specific card, do so a couple weeks in advance to ensure you receive it in time to use it. Using the shopping season to get <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-bonus-cash-for-sign-up?ref=internal" target="_blank">bonus cash back</a> that has a spending requirement can give you help ease the holiday costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/read-this-to-maximize-your-rewards-and-cash-back-this-holiday-season?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Read This to Maximize Your Rewards and Cash Back This Holiday Season</a>)</p> <h2>11. Renew your commitment to financial freedom</h2> <p>It's easy to go overboard during the holidays, whether it's on gifts or social activities. Don't let yourself off the hook on your financial goals just because it's the holidays. Stay committed to them and use the holidays to focus on gratitude rather than the mad dash to grab discounts.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F11%2520Ways%2520to%2520Prepare%2520for%2520Your%2520Best%2520Black%2520Friday.jpg&amp;description=11%20Ways%20to%20Prepare%20for%20Your%20Best%20Black%20Friday"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/11%20Ways%20to%20Prepare%20for%20Your%20Best%20Black%20Friday.jpg" alt="11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-skills-you-need-to-survive-black-friday">8 Frugal Skills You Need to Survive Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts">9 Ways to Use Miles and Points for Holiday Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-score-a-black-friday-deal-without-leaving-home">6 Ways to Score a Black Friday Deal Without Leaving Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Shopping black friday budgeting cash back credit deals gifts holiday shopping money moves retail rewards sales Thanksgiving Thu, 09 Nov 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 2050495 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Tell If a Credit Card Offer Is a Good One http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-tell-if-a-credit-card-offer-is-a-good-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-tell-if-a-credit-card-offer-is-a-good-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/young_woman_at_home.jpg" alt="Young woman at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit cards can be a powerful tool for your finances if you use them wisely. In order to do that, though, you need to know exactly what you're getting into with each credit card. Here's what you should look for to determine if a credit card offer is good or not.</p> <h2>1. Look for the lowest interest rate</h2> <p>Saying &quot;low interest rate&quot; and &quot;credit card&quot; in the same sentence is almost paradoxical; credit cards are high-interest loans, which is why carrying a balance on them is such a bad idea. However, within the limited world of credit card interest rates, you want to go as low as possible.</p> <p>Credit card interest rates can range from 13 percent all the way up to 22 percent. You'll want to consider two interest rates when you look at a credit card offer: the introductory interest rate, and the annual percentage rate that kicks in once that introductory period is over. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Low Interest Rate Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>2. Consider the introductory interest rate</h2> <p>Sometimes it's worthwhile to take a card with a higher APR if it also provides a longer, lower introductory interest rate. It depends on how you plan to use the card. For instance, if you're going to make a big purchase on a card and pay it off within a few months, you might want to get the card with the 0 percent introductory interest rate for 15 months, even though its annual rate is higher than another offer.</p> <p>The key here, of course, is to be sure you stick to your plan and pay off the balance before the introductory term is up. Be aware, too, of factors that could cause that introductory rate to go away sooner than expected; one missed or late payment, for instance, might cause the 0 percent interest rate to turn into that 19 percent interest rate you really want to avoid. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-might-miss-in-your-credit-cards-fine-print?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Things You Might Miss in Your Credit Card's Fine Print</a>)</p> <h2>3. Look into the points and perks</h2> <p>Some people use credit cards to their advantage by accumulating reward points or other perks. If you're smart with your credit card use and pay off your balance monthly, that can be a good plan.</p> <p>But it's only worth the trouble if the points or perks are things that have value for you in real life. If you travel frequently, for example, a credit card that gets you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards" target="_blank">hotel room discounts</a> and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards" target="_blank">better airfare</a> can be a great deal. Shop around for the best points-per-purchase ratio so you get the most return for your dollars spent. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>And, of course, you'll need to be aware of any fine print that might keep you from accumulating those points or perks. For example, are there particular types of purchases that don't count for credit card rewards? If so, can you still use your credit card enough on other, valid purchases to accumulate the rewards you want?</p> <h2>4. Check out their protective policies</h2> <p>Identity theft is a very real issue, and you'll want to know that any credit card you use has good security measures in place to prevent it from happening. You should also look for a card that will protect you and your assets in the case of identity theft or fraudulent purchases. What are their terms for protecting your identity, and what action will they take if your card is lost, stolen, or used fraudulently? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <p>Most legitimate credit card companies offer fraud protection, but don't assume that's so. Read the fine print to be sure that the card you're considering will cover any fraudulent charges. Will they require you to provide proof of any kind in order to receive reimbursement?</p> <h2>5. Check out all possible fees</h2> <p>Are there hidden fees for every possible scenario? It's standard for a credit card to come with fees for late or missed payments, of course. How much are these fees, and when are they assessed? Do the fees increase if you accumulate more than one? Are there unexpected ways in which you could end up accruing fees? There may be fees for particular types of transactions (such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-credit-card-cash-advance-costs-you-more-than-a-purchase" target="_blank">cash advances</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-important-things-you-should-know-about-balance-transfer-cards" target="_blank">balance transfers</a>). Look for a card offer that designates the fees it will assess and the amount for each one so you can be sure to avoid them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-no-balance-transfer-fees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Best Credit Cards With No Balance Transfer Fees</a>)</p> <h2>6. Consider all potential use limits</h2> <p>How you plan to use the card is a big factor in which the credit card offer can benefit you the most. For example, if you want a credit card to use while traveling, you'll need to make sure the card is accepted at most places where you are going, and has <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal" target="_blank">no foreign transaction fees</a>. If, on the other hand, you want a credit card for your child to use at college, you might prefer a card with a lower credit limit and a more forgiving interest rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-important-ways-college-students-should-use-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Important Ways College Students Should Use Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Consider how you'll use the card and search for an offer that gives you the maximum benefits for the precise use you have in mind. Knowing how you'll use a credit card is key to using one wisely, and remember: In all cases, paying off the balance as quickly as possible is key to keeping more money in your pocket. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-to-tell-if-a-credit-card-offer-is-a-good-one&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520to%2520Tell%2520If%2520a%2520Credit%2520Card%2520Offer%2520Is%2520a%2520Good%2520One.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Tell%20If%20a%20Credit%20Card%20Offer%20Is%20a%20Good%20One"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Tell%20If%20a%20Credit%20Card%20Offer%20Is%20a%20Good%20One.jpg" alt="6 Ways to Tell If a Credit Card Offer Is a Good One" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-tell-if-a-credit-card-offer-is-a-good-one">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-millennials-guide-to-avoiding-credit-card-debt">The Millennials Guide to Avoiding Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-need-to-know-before-taking-out-a-personal-loan">10 Things You Need to Know Before Taking Out a Personal Loan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe">The Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays">Which Credit Card Should You Use to Get Free Hotel Stays?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance balance transfers credit card offers fees fine print interest rates introductory offers late payments perks points rewards Tue, 10 Oct 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Annie Mueller 2031628 at http://www.wisebread.com Who Really Owns Your Digital Assets? http://www.wisebread.com/who-really-owns-your-digital-assets <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/who-really-owns-your-digital-assets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sporty_woman_taking_a_break_after_running_outdoors.jpg" alt="Sporty woman taking a break after running outdoors" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Throughout your life, you accumulate a wide variety of assets, including cash, real estate, and vehicles. But you've also probably been collecting assets of the digital kind &mdash; whether that be music downloads, frequent flyer miles, or cryptocurrency. When you put so many of your hard-earned dollars into virtual goods, there are some important considerations to keep in mind if you want to pass them on to your heirs.</p> <h2>What are digital assets?</h2> <p>Many people think of digital assets as digital copies of things that you purchase online, such as music or ebooks, but there are other types of digital assets. They include things that you store in virtual storage systems, such as Dropbox or iCloud. Some examples are photographs in your Flickr account, financial documents in your Box account, and bitcoins in your Coinbase account.</p> <p>Social media accounts are also digital assets. Even if they don't have any monetary value, the contents may be something you want to bequeath to your heirs.</p> <p>It can be easy to assign a dollar value to some digital assets, and difficult for others. The dollar value of an online-only savings account, for example, is as straightforward as it gets. On the other hand, a photo collection of the first 10 years of your son's life could be worth several thousands of dollars to you and nothing to the average Joe.</p> <h2>Taking care of your digital assets</h2> <p>Here are some best practices for taking care of your digital assets once you're no longer in the picture.</p> <h3>1. Read the fine print of your user agreement</h3> <p>Just because you hit the &quot;Buy now&quot; button for a digital file doesn't really mean that it's yours. Unlike physical books, CDs, DVDs, or vinyl records, purchasing digital works grants you no ownership rights. Most companies just license you the right to access and use the song or video.</p> <p>For example, if you read Amazon's Conditions of Use, you'll find that &quot;Amazon or its content providers grant you a limited, nonexclusive, nontransferable, non-sublicensable license to access and make personal and noncommercial use of the Amazon Services.&quot; In Amazon's Music Terms of Use, it also notes that your account can't be shared or transferred: &quot;You may not share your Amazon.com username and password with others or use anyone else's Amazon.com username and password.&quot;</p> <p>In other words, you don't own the asset and you can't get around that fact by giving your account password to anyone else.</p> <h3>2. Double check if digital assets can be in your will</h3> <p>If you haven't already, you need to create a last will and testament. But whether you can include a particular digital asset in the will depends. Not only must you actually own the digital asset, but also you must be able to transfer it.</p> <p>Every company treats digital assets differently. For example, let's take a look at three cases of transferring airline frequent flyer miles upon death:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Air Miles Canada allows you to transfer ownership of air miles at no charge when an account holder has passed away.</p> </li> <li> <p>American Airlines' AAdvantage program indicates that &quot;mileage credit is not transferable&quot; even to estates, successors, or assigns. However, American Airlines includes a clause that it may make exemptions upon its sole discretion and payment of any applicable fees.</p> </li> <li> <p>Delta SkyMiles clearly outlines that &quot;Miles are not the property of any member&quot; and may not be transferred under any circumstances, including death.</p> </li> </ul> <h3>3. Store a repository of all passwords</h3> <p>This is key. While your executor (the person executing your estate after your die) will need your login credentials to access your digital assets, they will have no legal authority to access your passwords under most state jurisdictions.</p> <p>So, plan to leave a letter to your executor with the usernames and passwords of the accounts that you would like to pass on to beneficiaries. While a simple letter containing the account information can do the trick, there are also several digital alternatives. Some digital services that allow you to pass on digital assets are Password Box's <a href="https://www.passwordbox.com/legacylocker" target="_blank">Legacy Locker</a> and <a href="https://www.youdeparted.com" target="_blank">YouDeparted.com</a>.</p> <h3>4. Take advantage of existing programs</h3> <p>Some companies are already taking steps to plan your digital afterlife.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Google's <a href="https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/account/inactive" target="_blank">Inactive Account Manager</a> allows you to instruct Google to transfer data from several services, including Google+, Picasa Web Albums, and YouTube to specific individuals after three to 12 months of inactivity.</p> </li> <li> <p>Facebook can &quot;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/150486848354038" target="_blank">memorialize</a>&quot; an account after its owner has passed away.</p> </li> </ul> <h3>5. Designate a beneficiary for all financial accounts</h3> <p>All types of banking and investment accounts provide you the option to designate a beneficiary. Without a beneficiary, your account will most likely end up in probate. While some states may grant your family some protection, designating a beneficiary well in advance is the best way to make sure that your digital moneys reach the right person(s).</p> <p>You can change the beneficiary of your account as many times as you need. Every time that you go through a major life change, such as marriage, birth of a child, or retirement, you should revisit who your beneficiaries are.</p> <h3>6. Check your local and state legislation</h3> <p>In 2014, Delaware became the first state to sign legislation (<a href="http://www.dehousedems.com/press/rep-scotts-first-nation-digital-assets-bill-becomes-law" target="_blank">House Bill 435</a>) granting families the right to the digital assets of loved ones who become incapacitated or pass away. The law includes a wide rage of digital assets, including computer programs, audio files, images, and more. It's reasonable to expect similar legislation to appear in other states.</p> <h3>7. Instruct your beneficiaries to still give it a shot</h3> <p>Even when the company has a reputation of not budging and an airtight user agreement, tell your beneficiaries to try anyway. You never know when a company may make an exception. Airlines, in particular, are often willing to work with survivors who want access to a spouse's frequent flyer miles.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwho-really-owns-your-digital-assets&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWho%2520Really%2520Owns%2520Your%2520Digital%2520Assets-.jpg&amp;description=Who%20Really%20Owns%20Your%20Digital%20Assets%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Who%20Really%20Owns%20Your%20Digital%20Assets-.jpg" alt="Who Really Owns Your Digital Assets?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-really-owns-your-digital-assets">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will">Here&#039;s What Happens If You Don&#039;t Leave a Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask">5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology bitcoin books cryptocurrency digital assets downloads estate planning frequent flyer miles heirs last will and testament music rewards video Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Damian Davila 2025920 at http://www.wisebread.com How Families Can Earn and Use Travel Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/how-families-can-earn-and-use-travel-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-families-can-earn-and-use-travel-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_looking_out_window_at_airport.jpg" alt="Family looking out window at airport" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to travel rewards, families have different needs than single travelers and couples. For example, families are typically less flexible than other travelers, as they need to work their vacations around school schedules. Families also tend to go to popular vacation destinations during peak travel seasons, while others may be more interested in out-of-the-way destinations. And obviously, families tend to travel in larger groups than singles or couples.</p> <p>So, if you need to earn rewards that you can use toward a family vacation, consider these award travel strategies. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-miles-and-points-for-a-big-award-trip?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Miles and Points for a Big Award Trip</a>)</p> <h2>The Southwest plan</h2> <p>Southwest Airlines is an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-southwest-airlines-is-the-best-domestic-airline-for-families?ref=internal" target="_blank">ideal carrier for family travelers</a>. It offers two free checked bags for everyone, and it doesn't impose fees for changing your reservation once you've purchased tickets. It also features early boarding for families with young children, and an open seating policy that makes it easy for families to ensure that they are sitting together.</p> <p>Southwest also offers the Companion Pass, which lets you book a second extra ticket at no charge (other than taxes), on every flight including award tickets. To receive a Companion Pass, you need to earn 110,000 points within a single calendar year. Fortunately, Southwest offers various credit cards that help you get there. The pass can significantly cut your family's travel costs for the year.</p> <h2>Earn miles that can be redeemed as travel statement credits</h2> <p>The problem that most families have with traditional frequent flyer programs is that awards are seldom available at the lowest mileage levels. This is especially true at peak travel times when families travel, and for groups of three or more.</p> <p>Therefore, the best way for families to earn award travel is to use a credit card that offers miles that can be redeemed as statement credits toward any travel reservations. These <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a> allow you to book your own travel (flights, hotel, car rentals, cruises, tours, and more) on any booking site you prefer, and then use your points toward those purchases. This gives families the most flexibility in terms of being able to use their hard earned travel rewards for an actual trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-with-easy-travel-redemption?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards With Easy Travel Redemption</a>)</p> <h2>Earn points that can be transferred to different frequent flyer and hotel programs</h2> <p>Another great award travel strategy for families is to earn flexible <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=internal" target="_blank">rewards that can be transferred to numerous travel partners</a>. This gives you the ability to earn points on your credit card without having to commit to a particular airline or hotel chain.</p> <p>Cards in this category may allow you to rack up points, and then transfer them when you're ready to use one of several popular airline or hotel rewards programs. While travel statement credits are even more flexible, with those programs your points are usually worth about 1 cent a piece. You can often get a better rate when you transfer to, say, an airline program and book an expensive flight. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Airline Rewards Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles?</a>)</p> <h2>Be flexible with travel plans and expectations</h2> <p>Redeeming travel rewards for a trip is not for the faint of heart. While going with the flexible redemption option allows you the most freedom to plan a trip according to your precise preferences, being flexible with your plans will give you the most <em>value</em> out of your hard earned rewards. This means that if you want to get the largest discount off your trip, you'll want to identify the destinations and resorts that are available under that travel program. You might not get the exact hotel you want, or even visit the exact city that you want, but if you can be flexible and open minded, even a large family can take advantage of travel rewards and redeem them for an amazing vacation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tricks to Making the Most of Your Reward Miles</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-families-can-earn-and-use-travel-rewards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520Families%2520Can%2520Earn%2520and%2520Use%2520Travel%2520Rewards.jpg&amp;description=How%20Families%20Can%20Earn%20and%20Use%20Travel%20Rewards"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Families%20Can%20Earn%20and%20Use%20Travel%20Rewards.jpg" alt="How Families Can Earn and Use Travel Rewards" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-families-can-earn-and-use-travel-rewards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe">The Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amazing-destinations-you-can-go-to-with-rewards-points-and-miles">Amazing Destinations You Can Go to With Rewards Points and Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays">Which Credit Card Should You Use to Get Free Hotel Stays?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel airlines awards family frequent flyers hotels miles points rewards tickets trips vacation Fri, 15 Sep 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Jason Steele 2020048 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons Cash Back Is Better Than Travel Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-cash-back-is-better-than-travel-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-cash-back-is-better-than-travel-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shopping_holding_credit_card_cash_dollar_bills.jpg" alt="Woman shopping holding credit card cash dollar bills" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you apply for a rewards credit card, you usually have to choose between cash back and travel rewards. To help sway your decision, the companies that offer travel rewards credit cards often try to seduce you with images of exciting vacation destinations that you can supposedly use your rewards for. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <p>For people who travel often, these rewards programs can be very valuable. Some expensive airfares, for instance, can be had for rewards rates that no cash-back card can compete with. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/comparing-miles-which-airline-loyalty-program-is-better?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Airlines Offer the Best Value for Their Miles?</a>)</p> <p>But most people don't travel enough to earn the points needed to score such deals. You may find the points and miles that these travel reward cards offer to be difficult, or sometimes impossible, to redeem for reservations you need. As a result, cash back credit cards are the better choice for many people. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Cash Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <p>Here are six reasons that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash-back cards</a> could be a better choice than travel rewards.</p> <h2>1. Cash back offers consistent value</h2> <p>What's a point or mile worth with your favorite airline or hotel program? You may never know, as you could receive excellent value from your rewards one day, and very poor value at another time. But with cash back, you always know exactly what your rewards are worth (usually 1 cent per point or a certain percentage of your purchases).</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-offer-flat-rate-rewards-for-all-spending?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards that Offer Flat Rate Rewards for All Spending</a></p> <h2>2. Cash-back cards have gotten more competitive</h2> <p>It used to be that a strong cash-back card allowed you to earn 1 percent on most purchases, and perhaps 2 percent on a few bonus categories such as groceries or gas. But now, there are plenty of cards that offer as much as 5 or 6 percent bonus cash back on purchases from eligible merchants such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">gas stations</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=internal" target="_blank">grocery stores</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-office-supply-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">office supply stores</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-credit-card-issuers-classify-your-purchases-for-bonus-rewards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Credit Card Issuers Classify Your Purchases for Bonus Points</a>)</p> <h2>3. Frequent traveler programs are less valuable</h2> <p>If you've tried to redeem your airline miles or hotel points recently, then you know how hard it can be to get substantial value from your rewards. For example, most airlines now charge a &quot;standard&quot; rate that requires at least double the miles of the traditional rates, often referred to now as the &quot;saver&quot; rates. Unfortunately, airlines have gotten stingy about the amount of award seats available at the saver rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-cards-have-the-best-travel-redemption-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Credit Cards Have the Best Travel Redemption Value?</a>)</p> <p>Likewise, hotel programs may claim to make every standard room available as an award for points, but many independently owned properties have gotten around this by curtailing the number of rooms that are labeled &quot;standard.&quot; As a result, you may well be told that no rooms are available for your points, as the remaining ones have a superior &quot;city view&quot; or &quot;garden view.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Cash back is more flexible</h2> <p>Even when you can earn travel rewards that are equal in value to the cash back that you could have earned, you may find yourself wanting cash instead. By using a travel rewards card, you are limiting yourself to travel rewards, whether or not you actually want or need to travel. For example, if you have several thousand dollars' worth of travel rewards, you might regret not earning cash back if you decide not to travel next year due to illness, job loss, or just a busy work schedule.</p> <p>In short, you can always use your cash back to pay for travel reservations, but you can't pay your bills with frequent flyer miles. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-earn-cashback-rewards-without-extra-spending?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Ways to Earn Cash Back Without Spending Extra</a>)</p> <h2>5. Points and miles depreciate, while cash earns interest</h2> <p>As travel reward programs have become less valuable, your points and miles have fallen in value as a &quot;currency.&quot; And there's seemingly no end to this process. It's a fair bet to say you can expect the miles that you've already earned to fall in value each year. This is important as it can take some people years to save up enough travel points for a big trip. On the other hand, you can invest your cash back rewards and earn interest just as you would on your other savings.</p> <h2>6. Travel prices are falling</h2> <p>Flying is less expensive than it once was, thanks in part to low fuel prices and increased competition from ultra low-cost airlines. It's actually common to find sales offering domestic airfare for less than $100 each way. While that's great news for travelers, it also means that your frequent flyer miles are worth less than they were when flights were more expensive. In addition, home sharing services like Airbnb have reduced the cost of lodging for many travelers. This makes hotel stays less necessary and their rewards points less valuable.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-reasons-cash-back-is-better-than-travel-rewards&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Reasons%2520Cash%2520Back%2520Is%2520Better%2520Than%2520Travel%2520Rewards.jpg&amp;description=6%20Reasons%20Cash%20Back%20Is%20Better%20Than%20Travel%20Rewards"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Reasons%20Cash%20Back%20Is%20Better%20Than%20Travel%20Rewards.jpg" alt="6 Reasons Cash Back Is Better Than Travel Rewards" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-cash-back-is-better-than-travel-rewards">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-turn-credit-card-rewards-into-real-wealth">5 Ways to Turn Credit Card Rewards Into Real Wealth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-with-your-travel-rewards-credit-cards">7 Things You Should Never Do With Your Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips">How to Use Travel Rewards Cards to Get Free Trips</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-credit-card-transactions-that-dont-earn-rewards">4 Credit Card Transactions That Don&#039;t Earn Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards best value cash back interest points rewards travel Tue, 12 Sep 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Jason Steele 2019383 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Carry a Balance? Here's Why You Still Need a Credit Card http://www.wisebread.com/dont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/i_have_been_shopping_for_all_the_best_deals.jpg" alt="I&#039;ve been shopping for all the best deals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Anybody can go into debt, quickly. Giving into impulse buys is only a swipe away with plastic in your pocket. It's easy to lose track of how much you're spending, which can spiral out of control before you know it.</p> <p>For these reasons, maybe you avoid credit cards or feel they aren't worth the hassle. That's one way to stay out of trouble, of course, but even if you're committed to limiting your amount of personal debt and you refuse to carry a balance, there's a case to be made for using credit cards. Take a look.</p> <h2>1. You'll build or maintain a good credit score</h2> <p>If you're interested in building a credit history, owning and using a credit card is often necessary. The trick, of course, is managing the account responsibly.</p> <p>The way a credit card impacts your credit score and personal finances has everything to do with the way you handle the account. Just because one person you know had a bad experience with credit doesn't mean you'll have the same experience, especially if you stay on top of things.</p> <p>Paying off your balance every month or making timely minimum payments adds positive activity to your credit report. This is essential to establishing credit. And if you already have a credit history, periodically using a credit card keeps your account active and helps build an even stronger credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <h2>2. You can receive rewards based on usage</h2> <p>Another reason to use a credit card is the opportunity to earn rewards for every purchase &mdash; because who doesn't love a good freebie? Your rewards can come in the form of points, miles, or cash back redeemable for a check, statement credit, airline tickets, hotel stays, gift cards, or merchandise. The more you use the card, the more free or discounted stuff you can score.</p> <p>The downside is that reward credit cards tend to have slightly higher interest rates than non-reward cards. But if you're disciplined enough to pay off your balance in full every month, you don't have to feel guilty because there won't be any interest to worry about. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>3. It'll help you survive an emergency</h2> <p>It doesn't matter how responsible you are with money: Most people go through a rough patch at some point in life. If you hit a financial low or deal with a string of unexpected expenses, a credit card can function as a short-term loan providing cash for urgent situations. You'll pay interest on these charges if you carry a balance, but this option is cheaper than a short-term cash advance loan, and you'll maintain your privacy since you won't have to borrow from friends or family. Just make sure to prioritize paying off this balance when your emergency is handled.</p> <h2>4. It's safer than cash</h2> <p>Using a credit card is also safer than cash, especially when traveling. If you lose or have your wallet stolen, you can't replace the cash inside. But if your credit cards are lost or stolen, your bank can issue a replacement card and remove fraudulent charges from your account.</p> <p>Since bank debit cards are linked to your bank account, credit cards are sometimes safer than these cards. If someone uses your debit card fraudulently, this person can drain your bank account, resulting in overdraft fees. Your bank will reimburse your money &mdash; not all is lost &mdash; but it can take up to 10 days to sort through the mess and get your money back. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons Credit Is Safer Than Debit</a>)</p> <h2>5. It'll help you keep accurate expense records</h2> <p>Credit cards also are useful for keeping track of spending for business and tax purposes, especially if you're not the best at saving receipts. Since credit card statements include a record of your purchases, use your credit card for business-related purchases, and then refer to your statement when recording business expenses. For this to work, keep a close eye on how much you're spending throughout the month to avoid going overboard and getting into long-term debt.</p> <h2>6. It buys extra protection</h2> <p>A credit card isn't only practical during an emergency or when you're looking to earn reward points, it also buys extra protection when used for certain purchases. For example, some credit cards offer rental car coverage at no additional cost, which means you can decline a car rental company's optional coverage when booking your reservation.</p> <p>Some credit cards have an extended warranty policy on select purchases too, giving you an extra year of protection after a manufacturer's warranty expires. Other credit cards may include travel insurance protection which compensates card members for costs incurred due to trip cancellation, lost luggage, travel accidents, etc. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-credit-card-perks-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Awesome Credit Card Perks You Didn't Know About</a>)</p> <p>Benefits vary by card, so contact your credit card company for information on member perks.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDont%2520Carry%2520a%2520Balance-%2520Heres%2520Why%2520You%2520Still%2520Need%2520a%2520Credit%2520Card.jpg&amp;description=Dont%20Carry%20a%20Balance%3F%20Heres%20Why%20You%20Still%20Need%20a%20Credit%20Card"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Dont%20Carry%20a%20Balance-%20Heres%20Why%20You%20Still%20Need%20a%20Credit%20Card.jpg" alt="Don't Carry a Balance? Here's Why You Still Need a Credit Card" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-carry-a-balance-heres-why-you-still-need-a-credit-card">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-times-your-credit-card-has-your-back">12 Times Your Credit Card Has Your Back</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-airline-or-travel-rewards-credit-cards-the-better-deal">Are Airline or Travel Rewards Credit Cards the Better Deal?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-picking-the-best-airline-credit-card-for-the-most-rewards-value">5 Steps to Picking the Best Airline Credit Card for the Most Rewards Value</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-good-credit-is-better-than-a-boyfriend">6 Ways Good Credit Is Better Than a Boyfriend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-credit-cards-that-wont-go-away">5 Myths About Credit Cards That Won&#039;t Go Away</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards benefits credit history credit score emergencies expenses miles perks records rewards Fri, 25 Aug 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 2007682 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Little-Known Secrets to Saving Money on Your Next Cruise http://www.wisebread.com/10-little-known-secrets-to-saving-money-on-your-next-cruise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-little-known-secrets-to-saving-money-on-your-next-cruise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_relaxing_on_cruise_drinking_cocktail.jpg" alt="Girl relaxing on cruise drinking cocktail" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cruising has long been considered an affordable vacation option for couples, groups, and families. With cruise ports dotted across the country, if you live near a coastline, you could probably drive to your departure port and save money on airfare. And with your food and entertainment included in the cruise fare itself, the bulk of your vacation expenditures are paid for upfront.</p> <p>Once you pay for your cruise, plus applicable taxes and port fees, you'll have little else to cover other than transportation, tips, alcohol, and cruise stop excursions.</p> <p>Of course, creative cruisers have been saving in other ways for years. With some out-of-the-box thinking, there are numerous ways to save on common cruise &quot;extras&quot; or avoid them completely.</p> <p><span style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: georgia; font-size: 1.5em; font-weight: normal;">1. Book when &quot;kids cruise free&quot;</span></p> <p>With onboard kids' clubs, pools, water parks, and endless family-friendly activities to choose from, most cruises are ideal for families with kids.</p> <p>Still, you may be able to save even more if you book a cruise where &quot;kids cruise free.&quot; Believe it or not, some of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-affordable-cruise-lines-for-families" target="_blank">most affordable cruise lines for families</a> waive cruise fare for kids on at least some sailings. For example, MSC Cruises has the most enticing offer, which is year-round. On many of their Caribbean cruises, children ages 11 and under cruise free with paid adults.</p> <p>Keep in mind, however, that even &quot;free&quot; kid cruises require the payment of government-mandated taxes and port fees for your stowaways.</p> <h2>2. Save up to 82 percent on last-minute cruises</h2> <p>While many people plan their cruise vacations far ahead of time, you can save a bundle if you wait until the last minute. A website called VacationstoGo.com promises up to 82 percent off unsold cruises that depart within 90 days.</p> <p>At the moment, you can score a six-night Alaskan cruise on Norwegian for as little as $449, or a four-night Caribbean cruise on Carnival for as little as $224 per person. A seven-night French Polynesia cruise on Paul Gauguin that retails for $7,000 per person can be had for $2,499 per head on certain dates.</p> <p>Keep in mind, however, that the lowest discount fares usually apply to interior rooms and may not include taxes and port fees.</p> <h2>3. Save with cruise-friendly rewards credit cards</h2> <p>An array of rewards credit cards let you earn points redeemable for any cruise of your choosing. Most of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">best travel credit cards</a> offer this option, especially flexible cards.</p> <p>Carnival and several other cruise lines offer their own co-branded credit card with a sign-up bonus and ongoing earning potential, as well. If you want to save money, it helps to check out the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-cruises" target="_blank">best credit cards for cruises</a> ahead of time.</p> <h2>4. Bring your own booze</h2> <p>While cruises include food, snacks, entertainment, and some drinks, most don't include alcohol in their regular cruise fares. Unfortunately, onboard drinks are notoriously expensive, and they can really add up if you don't watch it.</p> <p>The good news is, you may be able to bring your own booze on board &mdash; specifically wine. Each cruise line has its own policy. For example, Carnival lets you bring up to one bottle of wine per person in your luggage on embarkation day.</p> <h2>5. Book your own excursions</h2> <p>Cruises are interesting because they let you visit multiple destinations with a diverse offering of activities. On the flip side, &quot;excursions&quot; are not generally included in cruise fare and can be expensive on their own. Sometimes excursions can cost as much as the cruise itself!</p> <p>Most of the time, you can avoid cruise ship markup by booking excursions yourself. Imagine your Carnival cruise stops in Aruba and you want to go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters. You could book Aruba's Dushi Sail &amp; Snorkel excursion with lunch through Carnival for $89.99 per adult, or you could book directly with the operator for $61 per adult.</p> <p>Websites like <a href="http://www.viator.com/" target="_blank">Viator.com</a> are especially helpful when it comes to booking shore excursions at a discount.</p> <h2>6. Skip the excursions</h2> <p>Most cruise stops offer free stuff to do in addition to paid shore excursions. If you're creative and flexible, you can enjoy each port without paying an arm and a leg.</p> <p>Most beach destinations have free public beaches, and other stops let you sightsee or visit parks for free. <a href="http://boards.cruisecritic.com/" target="_blank">Cruise critic forums</a> are a great place to get ideas for free stuff to do. You can also gain insights on local bus routes that will take you away from the port and off the beaten path for cheap.</p> <h2>7. Get your status matched</h2> <p>Cruise &quot;status&quot; works a lot like hotel or airline status. If you cruise with the same cruise line often enough, you can eventually earn status upgrades good for cruise discounts, room upgrades, early boarding, and additional perks.</p> <p>But, what if you're tired of cruising with the same company over and over? While it's not well known, cruise lines will occasionally &quot;match&quot; your status to earn your business. MSC Cruises does this all year long, and will match your cruise or even your hotel status to earn your business.</p> <h2>8. Book a repositioning cruise</h2> <p>When cruise lines need to move their ships from one place to another during seasonal changes, rather than sending an empty cruise ship, they will often offer a repositioning cruise at a steep discount. These one-way journeys &mdash; say, from Alaska to Hawaii &mdash; may offer a few stops in the early part of the trip, but otherwise, you are at sea for much of the time. You can still enjoy the sea views and take advantage of onboard activities.</p> <p>You can shop for repositioning cruises on any cruise website, and on discount travel websites like Expedia and Travelocity. You can also scoop even lower fares on repositioning cruises through <a href="http://vacationstogo.com/repositioning_cruises.cfm" target="_blank">VacationtoGo.com</a>.</p> <h2>9. Get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees</h2> <p>Cruising to multiple international destinations sounds like a lot of fun, and using your credit card is usually the best way to get around without exchanging currency. Unfortunately, many cards charge a foreign transaction fee that tacks an extra 3 percent onto everything you buy.</p> <p>You can get around these extra charges by signing up for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card with no foreign transaction fees</a> before your cruise. Some cards that fall into this category have rewards programs that make them even more valuable, and/or come without annual fees, too.</p> <h2>10. Turn cruise gift cards into discounts</h2> <p>If you're into credit card rewards and have your heart set on a specific cruise, it can pay to combine both goals into one. By purchasing gift cards for your favorite cruise line with your rewards card, you can earn more rewards over time, even using them to offset the cost of your cruise if you want. Check your credit card rewards portal to see if it offers cruise gift cards as redemption options for your points. Otherwise, use your favorite rewards credit card to purchase them.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-little-known-secrets-to-saving-money-on-your-next-cruise&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Little-Known%2520Secrets%2520to%2520Saving%2520Money%2520on%2520Your%2520Next%2520Cruise.jpg&amp;description=10%20Little-Known%20Secrets%20to%20Saving%20Money%20on%20Your%20Next%20Cruise"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Little-Known%20Secrets%20to%20Saving%20Money%20on%20Your%20Next%20Cruise.jpg" alt="10 Little-Known Secrets to Saving Money on Your Next Cruise" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-little-known-secrets-to-saving-money-on-your-next-cruise">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-vacation-deal-websites">The 6 Best Vacation Deal Websites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amazing-destinations-you-can-go-to-with-rewards-points-and-miles">Amazing Destinations You Can Go to With Rewards Points and Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays">Which Credit Card Should You Use to Get Free Hotel Stays?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe">The Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel booking cruise ships cruises deals discounts kids points ports rewards sailing saving money vacation Thu, 24 Aug 2017 08:09:50 +0000 Holly Johnson 2008286 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Money Lessons I Learned From Three Weeks in Europe http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-from-three-weeks-in-europe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-money-lessons-i-learned-from-three-weeks-in-europe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_tourists_smiling_at_the_camera_near_eiffel_tower.jpg" alt="Kids tourists smiling at the camera near Eiffel Tower" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In early June, my husband and I took a bucket list trip to Europe with our kids. While we've visited countless countries worldwide as a couple, this was our first &quot;big trip&quot; with our daughters, ages six and eight. In addition to the four of us, we took a family caregiver to help with the kids and give Mom and Dad a break. Over the course of 19 days, we spent time in Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. The entire ordeal was exhausting, but it was an absolute blast!</p> <p>Fortunately, we planned far enough ahead that we didn't spend too much out of pocket while we were there. By leveraging <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit cards</a> and setting a daily spending budget, we were able to get the entire trip, which would normally cost $20,000 retail, for around $3,500. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-getting-a-free-or-close-to-free-vacation-in-9-months-or-less-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Steps to Getting a Free (or Close to Free) Vacation with Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>In addition to the virtues of planning ahead as a savings strategy, we learned numerous financial lessons during our travels. While we were aware of most of these lessons already, seeing the world through our children's eyes served as the perfect reminder of the reasons behind some of our most important financial decisions.</p> <p>Here are a few lessons we relearned thanks to our trip abroad.</p> <h2>1. Failing to plan means planning to fail</h2> <p>One of the most expensive components of our trip was dining, mostly because there were five people in our group. No matter how cheaply you try to eat, feeding five people three meals a day means your food budget adds up quickly.</p> <p>While we tried to minimize our food costs by eating breakfast in our condo and searching for budget options, there were times where we didn't plan ahead and paid a steep price for our lack of preparation.</p> <p>One meal in particular stands out. We traveled by train to Rome in the morning and arrived in early afternoon without researching restaurants or stores in the immediate area. In a tired and hungry daze, we entered the first restaurant we walked past near Piazza Navona.</p> <p>Unfortunately, we paid big time for this oversight. Not only was the food overly touristy (pictures on the menu &mdash; blech), but our lunch set us back nearly $90. If we had searched ahead of time, we would have known we could have found much cheaper (and probably tastier) options had we walked a block in the other direction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-secrets-to-eating-great-food-for-cheap-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Secrets to Eating Great Food for Cheap While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>2. Expensive does not equal better</h2> <p>That meal also served as a reminder that expensive isn't always better. We paid $90 for a lunch that was mediocre at best on that particular day, but at other times we enjoyed meals that were absolutely delicious and downright cheap.</p> <p>One that comes to mind was a meal we had in nearby Florence, Italy. In order to keep our food budget under control, we started researching local restaurants once we arrived. Eventually, we stumbled upon a sandwich shop &mdash; Panini Toscani &mdash; that was uber-cheap but was also the third highest rated restaurant in Florence.</p> <p>We wound up eating there twice. The food was delicious and convenient, and our total meal for five people was less than $20 both times.</p> <h2>3. Even budget trips can be fun</h2> <p>By the time we got to Switzerland (our last stop), I was pretty tired of spending money in general. So, when we had our final &quot;free day&quot; in the country, I spent some time looking for something fun and affordable to do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-countries-where-you-can-travel-on-30-a-day-or-less?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Countries Where You Can Travel on $30 a Day or Less</a>)</p> <p>Eventually, I remembered a town we drove by that had the most beautiful, clear-green lake I had ever seen. After looking up the details, I found that the tiny village of Lungern had a public beach and a few waterslides with a daily admission cost of about $5.25 per adult.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/man_jumping_in_a_lake.jpg" width="605" height="454" alt="" /></p> <p>This relatively cheap day was probably the most fun we had. All of us swam and rode waterslides the entire day, stopping only to have a low-cost lunch.</p> <p>It just goes to show that budget travel can absolutely be fun, and that you don't have to spend a ton of money to enjoy yourself.</p> <h2>4. There's more than one &quot;right way&quot; to do things</h2> <p>One of the most rewarding components of travel is watching my kids react to the many ways other countries handle things differently. My kids were obsessed with euros, for example. They couldn't understand why anyone would choose to offer two euros in the form of a coin.</p> <p>I also had to explain why we didn't tip as much as we normally do. Since workers in Europe are paid higher wages, you don't have to tip 15&ndash;20 percent like you do in the states.</p> <p>While we could argue all day over which way is better, I told my kids there is more than one &quot;right way&quot; to do things sometimes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-countries-where-you-dont-have-to-tip-at-restaurants?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Countries Where You Don't Have to Tip at Restaurants</a>)</p> <h2>5. We actually need very little</h2> <p>While I wasn't sure we could pull it off, we made it through the entire trip with just carry-on luggage and two school-sized backpacks of stuff. It helped that one of our condos had a washing machine, but I was still amazed we enjoyed ourselves without many comforts from home.</p> <p>This just goes to show that most of us don't need a lot to be happy. We need clothes, food, and shelter, but everything else is optional. We can be happy and content without having a bunch of stuff to bog us down.</p> <h2>6. Most people are honest, but not everyone</h2> <p>Most of the people we dealt with abroad were both kind and honest &mdash; except for a couple of small incidences. First, we encountered a taxi driver who tried to charge us $28 (instead of running his meter) to take us four blocks in Rome. Not only was this outrageous since we'd paid $7 for the same ride earlier that day, but it was illegal for him to do this since the city of Rome regulates official taxis.</p> <p>Second, when we got home from the trip, we received a fraud alert from Chase. Apparently, someone had swiped our card information and tried to make a purchase in Peru.</p> <p>This kind of stuff happens no matter where you are, so it's important to always stay vigilant. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-theft-while-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Ways to Protect Yourself From Theft While Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>7. Exchange rates matter</h2> <p>Whenever I travel abroad, I almost always struggle to keep track of the currency exchange rate and how it affects everything we buy. But, since a single U.S. dollar is currently worth just .87 euros, this is an important detail to keep in mind. If something costs 10 euros, for example, you're actually paying $11.55.</p> <p>While I used a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit card with no foreign transaction fees</a> to pay most of our expenses, I tried hard to impart this lesson on our kids. No matter where you are in the world, chances are good the money isn't worth the same as at home. And, if you don't pay attention, you could wind up spending a lot more than you think!</p> <h2>8. Some experiences are worth the money, even if they're expensive</h2> <p>While we definitely saved a bundle on this trip due to the way we leveraged credit card rewards, we still spent $3,500 of our hard-earned dollars. On top of that, I probably spent 30&ndash;50 hours planning not only our credit card rewards strategy, but our hotels, flights, and trains.</p> <p>The thing is, I don't regret a single cent &mdash; or a single second. Over my lifetime, I've learned that some experiences are worth the money and the time, even if it seems like a lot.</p> <p>It's hard to put a price tag on a fun family trip that exposed us to cultures in a completely different part of the world. I believe it was priceless. Some memories are worth saving up to splurge on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-money-lessons-i-learned-from-three-weeks-in-europe&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Money%2520Lessons%2520I%2520Learned%2520From%2520Three%2520Weeks%2520in%2520Europe.jpg&amp;description=8%20Money%20Lessons%20I%20Learned%20From%20Three%20Weeks%20in%20Europe"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Money%20Lessons%20I%20Learned%20From%20Three%20Weeks%20in%20Europe.jpg" alt="8 Money Lessons I Learned From Three Weeks in Europe" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-from-three-weeks-in-europe">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amazing-destinations-you-can-go-to-with-rewards-points-and-miles">Amazing Destinations You Can Go to With Rewards Points and Miles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe">The Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-families-can-earn-and-use-travel-rewards">How Families Can Earn and Use Travel Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Travel Europe exchange rates experiences family food costs money lessons rewards vacation Wed, 23 Aug 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Holly Johnson 2007686 at http://www.wisebread.com Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/businessman_getting_ready_for_race_on_the_track.jpg" alt="Businessman getting ready for race on the track" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I recently joined a meal delivery kit service, which has completely changed my cooking game. Every week, I receive a couple of boxes of pre-chopped and presorted fresh ingredients, along with a step-by-step recipe that helps me get a meal on the table in under 30 minutes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-meal-prep-subscription-boxes-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are Meal Prep Subscription Boxes Worth It?</a>)</p> <p>As I put together one of these meals last week, I started wondering why we haven't applied this concept to money yet. Where is the deliverable personal finance starter kit that will make handling your finances as easy as putting a quick and delicious meal on the table?</p> <p>Since we probably won't be seeing any &quot;Hello Cash&quot; or &quot;Green Apron&quot; boxes arriving in our homes anytime soon, I figured I could take matters into my own hands and create such a starter kit for adult-level finances. Here are the specific &quot;ingredients&quot; you need to go from broke to bank.</p> <h2>What you need: A checking account</h2> <p>Opening a checking account is the first step to conquering your adult-level finances. That's because having a bank hold onto your money is the safest and least expensive way for you to access and spend it. Putting your money in a checking account gives you several benefits:</p> <ul> <ul> <li> <p>Security and protection of your money: Up to $250,000 of your money is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-fdic" target="_blank">FDIC insured</a> by banks and NCUA insured by federal credit unions, meaning you do not have to worry that your money will be wiped out if the banking institution fails. State-chartered credit unions are backed by private insurers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-the-difference-between-a-federal-and-non-federal-credit-union?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's the Difference Between a Federal and Non-Federal Credit Union</a>)</p> </li> </ul> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Free check cashing: Without a checking account, it is nearly impossible to cash a check without having to pay a fee, and those fees can take up to 3 percent of the value of the check. It's tough to get ahead financially if you have to pay to access your own money.</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Free bill pay: A checking account gives you access to paper checks and online bill pay. Without such an account, you will have to pay your bills with money orders, which also cost as much as $1 per money order. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-paper-checks-are-still-relevant?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Paper Checks Are Still Relevant</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <ul> <li> <p>Access to a debit card: We live in a digital world, and it can be very difficult to handle your finances without a debit card or credit card. The majority of checking accounts these days come with a check card, which allows you to use your debit card like a credit card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Debit or Credit? Which One Should You Choose at the Checkout?</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <p>To find the best checking account for you, consider your needs ― do you need an account with a low minimum balance, or do you plan to keep a high balance and want to earn some interest? Will an online bank cover all of your needs, or do you need a local branch? How often will you need to access the ATM? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-make-sure-you-never-pay-an-atm-fee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Make Sure You Never Pay an ATM Fee</a>)</p> <p>Taking the time to find a checking account and bank that will fit your financial needs will help you keep more money where it belongs ― in your account and in your wallet.</p> <h2>What you need: A savings account</h2> <p>The next financial ingredient you need is a savings account. While the interest rates on savings accounts are still depressingly low, that does not change the fact that an FDIC or NCUA-insured savings account serves as the foundation for financial planning for the future. Here's why.</p> <ul> <li> <p>It makes it easier to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-really-need-to-pay-yourself-first-seriously" target="_blank">pay yourself first</a>: It's very hard to save money without a place to put it that is separate from your checking account. Opening a savings account gives you a more difficult-to-access spot for your money to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-to-fix-reasons-your-savings-account-isnt-growing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy-to-Fix Reasons Your Savings Account Isn't Growing</a>)</p> </li> <li> <p>It can serve as your emergency fund: Financial hiccups, mistakes, and emergencies can hit anyone at any time. The difference between a financial emergency just being a nuisance and it becoming a catastrophe comes down to whether or not you have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-step-by-step-guide-to-creating-your-emergency-fund" target="_blank">an emergency fund</a>. Without one, you will be left scrambling to find money. With one, your emergency fund can simply absorb the cost of the emergency without affecting your usual spending. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-turn-for-help-when-you-dont-have-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Where to Turn for Help When You Don't Have an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> </li> </ul> <p>While it may be easy to open a savings account with the same bank where you already have a checking account, you might want to consider an account at a different bank. This can help keep the money out of your reach if you're likely to spend it, and could possibly get you a better interest rate, especially if you're willing to put your savings into an online bank. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-keeping-all-your-accounts-in-one-bank?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Pros and Cons of Keeping All Your Accounts in One Bank</a>)</p> <p>Of course, opening a savings account is not enough. You need to actually use it regularly. The trick to getting the most out of your savings account is to set up regular, automatic transfers into it, so that your savings will grow without you having to think about it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/earn-more-interest-by-reducing-savings-friction?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Earn More Interest by Reducing Savings Friction</a>)</p> <h2>What you need: A simple budget</h2> <p>Once you have a checking account, a savings account, and automatic transfers into savings, then you are ready for the next ingredient: your budget.</p> <p>This is often the portion of financial adulting that makes the fainthearted run screaming into the distance. But budgeting is really about organizing your money so that you can spend it on the things that matter and scrimp on the things that don't.</p> <p>The basis of budgeting is keeping track of your income and expenses. There are several ways to do this without having to break out a spreadsheet. You can use sites like Mint.com to track your spending for you and declutter the financial information coming in to you so that it's easier to track. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <p>When you have a decent idea of what you bring in and what you spend, then it's time to start managing your funds so that you spend less than you earn. How you manage your money is up to you, but the main idea is to save your splurges for the things you really value, and cut back your spending everywhere else. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Manage Your Money &mdash; No Budgeting Required</a>)</p> <h2>What you need: A Roth IRA</h2> <p>Your financial life is really starting to look good at this point, so it's time to add the next ingredient: a Roth IRA. This tax-advantaged retirement account is a great way to save for your future.</p> <p>Roth IRAs are funded with post-tax dollars, which means you will not get a tax break when you make a contribution ― but any investment gains can be withdrawn tax-free anytime after age 59&frac12;. Since it's very likely that you'll be in a higher tax bracket by then, this makes the Roth IRA a great deal for newly-minted financial adults. You may contribute up to $5,500 per year to your Roth IRA, and there is no age limit on contributions since you will never be forced to take minimum required distributions on this account, unlike traditional IRAs and 401(k)s. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Which Retirement Account Is Right for You?</a>)</p> <p>In addition, you can access up to $10,000 of your earnings penalty-free from your Roth IRA to put toward buying your first home. You may also access your principal at any time without having to pay a penalty, which is not possible with traditional IRAs and 401(k)s.</p> <p>That being said, if you do have access to a 401(k) retirement savings account at work and there is an employer match for your contributions, you will want to make sure you contribute up to the full employer match before funding your Roth IRA. The employer match is free money, after all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <p>The best way to make sure you max out your Roth IRA contributions is to make them completely automated, just like your savings.</p> <h2>The optional garnish: A rewards credit card</h2> <p>At this point, your adult-level finances should be working well and taking good care of you. The next level of financial expertise is to start using your regular spending to help you achieve more of your financial goals. You can do this with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-rewards-credit-cards-for-newbies" target="_blank">rewards credit card</a> that rewards you for your regular spending. With savvy use of such cards, you can earn anything from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-steps-to-picking-the-best-airline-credit-card-for-the-most-rewards-value" target="_blank">flights</a> to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-for-hotel-deals-and-rewards" target="_blank">hotel stays</a> to plain old <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards" target="_blank">cash back</a>.</p> <p>But, there is a reason why this is an optional garnish, rather than one of the main ingredients of financial adulthood. Banks and credit card companies don't offer rewards cards to be nice to their customers ― credit card rewards can make even the most frugal financial grown-up forget their budget limitations. If you are able to pay off your credit card in full each month and just reap the free rewards, then a rewards credit card can be a delicious topper to your financial adulthood. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-escape-reward-card-spending-traps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Escape Reward Card Spending Traps</a>)</p> <p>If, on the other hand, you know that you will struggle to pay off your balance every month, then feel free to enjoy your financial adulthood sans rewards credit card. It's not a necessary part of your financial starter kit ― it just makes for a nice addition. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-reasons-to-pay-your-credit-card-bill-before-its-due?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Reasons to Pay Your Credit Card Bill Before It's Due</a>)</p> <h2>Whipping up a financial adulthood</h2> <p>While it would be convenient if you could order a financial adulthood starter kit to show up at your doorstep, it's actually pretty simple to put together one of your own. Just know the basic ingredients you need, find the ones that work best for you, be consistent ― and, voilà! You'll go from broke to bank before you know it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fmoney-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FMoney%2520a%2520Mess-%2520Try%2520This%2520Personal%2520Finance%2520Starter%2520Kit.jpg&amp;description=Money%20a%20Mess%3F%20Try%20This%20Personal%20Finance%20Starter%20Kit"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Money%20a%20Mess-%20Try%20This%20Personal%20Finance%20Starter%20Kit.jpg" alt="Money a Mess? Try This Personal Finance Starter Kit" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/money-a-mess-try-this-personal-finance-starter-kit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-that-ll-protect-you-during-the-next-recession">7 Money Moves That’ll Protect You During the Next Recession</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-brilliant-money-moves-you-should-make-on-january-1">5 Brilliant Money Moves You Should Make on January 1</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-start-a-family-before-reaching-these-5-money-goals">Don&#039;t Start a Family Before Reaching These 5 Money Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday">11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-your-emergency-fund-is-too-big">4 Signs Your Emergency Fund Is Too Big</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance banking budgeting cash back checking account emergency funds money moves retirement rewards Roth IRA saving money savings account starter kit Tue, 22 Aug 2017 09:00:05 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2006372 at http://www.wisebread.com