cash back http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/328/all en-US 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-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/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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</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 10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_young_woman_depositing_money_into_her_piggy_bank.jpg" alt="Happy young woman depositing money into her piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Summer is over. This fall, fortify your finances to take the end of the year in stride. These helpful tips will get you back on track (and help you stay on track) budget-wise.</p> <h2>1. Start your holiday shopping now</h2> <p>Instead of making a mad rush for last-minute deals, spread out your gift buying over the course of the next couple months. Watch your local circulars and emails for discounts and promo codes, and strike while the proverbial iron seems hot.</p> <p>For instance, I just purchased several packs of Calvin Klein undies as a Christmas gift for my boo because I received an email for 25 percent off, plus I had an additional 15 percent off coupon with free shipping. Will there be steeper discounts in the near future? I can't be sure, but I had enough savings stacked up to feel like I made a smart choice, and now I can check one more gift off my list.</p> <h2>2. Max out retirement plan contributions</h2> <p>If you haven't already &mdash; and your budget can tolerate it &mdash; try to max out your 401(k) and 403(b) contributions at work. The employee contribution limit for 2017 is $18,000, and if you haven't reached that, it's time to come as close as you can. Those over age 50 can contribute an additional $6,000 as a catch-up contribution. If your employer offers matching funds, this should be a top financial priority, lest you fail to claim thousands of dollars in free money.</p> <h2>3. Take advantage of layaway</h2> <p>Layaway has had its up and downs over the years. What was once a common practice during the Great Depression started to fall out of favor by the 1980s thanks to the rising popularity of credit cards. Walmart all but left the service for dead in 2006 when it announced it would stop offering it, but by 2012, many retailers were back on the layaway bandwagon to make buying easier on customers in a tumultuous economy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-layaway-still-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Layaway Still Worth It?</a>)</p> <p>Personally, I loved layaway in my early 20s when I was on a shoestring budget. It allowed me to plan ahead and make scheduled payments so everything would be ready to go by Christmas. It's certainly a helpful buying tactic to look into if your finances are tight but you still want to participate in gift giving.</p> <h2>3. Use or lose flexible spending dollars</h2> <p>If you're lucky enough to have a flexible spending account through your employer, your FSA may need to be spent by year's end. Try to use up the balance so you're not losing cash. In doing so, you'll free up funds elsewhere that you don't have to use on medical needs.</p> <p>&quot;Since 2013, your employer may offer one of two carry-over options,&quot; says Ryan McPherson, founder of the financial planning firm Intelligent Worth in Atlanta, Georgia. &quot;One &mdash; roll up to $500 of unused funds into the following year or two, offer a two-and-a-half month grace period during which you may use your unspent FSA balance. Check with your employer, because offering one of these options is not a requirement. If you don't have either of these carry-over options and expect to have money left in your FSA, try to move appointments and medical/dental-related purchases (i.e., eye glasses or contacts) into 2017.&quot;</p> <p>If you're unsure where your FSA funds apply, IRS publication 502 offers guidance on what counts as a &quot;<a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/p502--2016.pdf" target="_blank">qualified medical expense</a>.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-spend-your-last-minute-health-care-fsa-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Spend Your Last-Minute Health Care FSA Funds</a>)</p> <h2>4. Make a gift list and check it twice</h2> <p>I use to get in this mindset &mdash; especially when I started making a little more money &mdash; that everybody needed a gift. That logic is false. Everybody doesn't need a gift for the sake of giving them a gift. Now, I make a list of the usual suspects with whom I exchange &mdash; immediate family, boyfriend, a few friends &mdash; but even then I give it a second glance to see where I can make cuts. Will I see this aunt or that buddy this year? If the answer is no, decide whether a gift is necessary at all to put some more money back in your pocket. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Gifts That Won't Become Clutter</a>)</p> <h2>5. Revise your winter budget</h2> <p>Everything about winter costs more than other times of the year, and you should prepare by revising your budget to make sure all bases are covered.</p> <p>&quot;In addition to holiday expenses, as the weather gets colder, heating costs also increase,&quot; says Roslyn Lash, an accredited financial counselor. &quot;It's imperative that you also set some money aside for inclement weather expenses. Unfortunately, when ice/snow is the forecast, schools typically close, and this could mean paying someone to baby-sit the kiddos. It could also prevent you from going to work, which means lost revenue.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-big-winter-expenses-that-could-freeze-your-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Big Winter Expenses That Could Freeze Your Budget</a>)</p> <h2>6. Determine what's necessary for the holidays and cut back from there</h2> <p>I love all things holiday &mdash; the decorations, the parties, the gifts, the endless array of baked goods &mdash; and if I'm not participating in someone else's festivities, I'm hosting my own. Of course that can get expensive, so I take a one-year-on, one-year-off approach to the latter part of that equation. Two years ago I hosted a holiday party in my home, but last year I didn't. I bought more holiday decorations for the house last year, but this year I won't. This practice not only helps me save money, but it also lets me cycle through things that I need to get rid of in a timely manner (like half-full bottles of liquor, for instance) and cut down on overall holiday clutter. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-common-holiday-budget-pitfalls?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Avoid These 5 Common Holiday Budget Pitfalls</a>)</p> <h2>7. Get into a cash back state of mind</h2> <p>Upfront coupons and savings are great, but there's plenty more to be had on the back end if you know where to look. Apps like <a href="https://ibotta.com/r/jcsgjbv" target="_blank">Ibotta</a> and Fetch Rewards provide cash back on purchases made on preset items or at selected retailers. Last month I scored more than $50 cash back (which was on top of other savings I received on the front end) by shopping through Ibotta.</p> <p>If you're responsible at managing credit, now's also a great time to take advantage of a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back credit card</a> on your day to day purchases. By using a cash back card on necessities like groceries or gas, you'll earn cash to bolster your budget. Just be sure to pay off your balance in full every month, or else this method isn't worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-your-credit-card-will-save-you-money-while-holiday-shopping?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Ways Your Credit Card Will Save You Money While Holiday Shopping</a>)</p> <h2>8. Rebid your insurance policies</h2> <p>You may be able to shave some money off your bills this fall by reviewing your insurance coverage.</p> <p>Michael Landsberg, CFP and founder of Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management in Punta Gorda, Florida, recommends rebidding your auto and home insurance policies to at least three independent agents (but not the online ones that are all owned by the same companies).</p> <p>&quot;Often times, this rebidding process puts hundreds if not thousands back in people's pockets right before the holidays,&quot; he explains. &quot;It's very easy. Just take your current policy declaration page and send that to an independent agent and let them do the work. The worst that can happen is you find out you've got a good program in place already.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Book travel before demand pricing kicks in</h2> <p>If you're traveling this fall or holiday season, book your mode of transportation and accommodations as soon as possible so you're not looking at ultra expensive rates at the last minute. Hotels and rental cars in particular go fast, and they're subject to on-demand pricing, which means your wallet could end up getting walloped if you're not shut out altogether. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-these-9-things-now-to-make-holiday-air-travel-easier?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Do These 9 Things Now to Make Holiday Air Travel Easier</a>)</p> <h2>10. Investigate a balance transfer</h2> <p>If you're carrying a high balance on a credit card, now is a great time to give yourself a credit card checkup.</p> <p>&quot;Explore what's out there,&quot; advises Han Chang, co-founder of InvestmentZen. &quot;Many lenders are beginning to offer deals now to get a jump on the holidays. Consolidating credit card debt via a balance transfer can be pretty enticing, especially with those 0 percent introductory APR offers, which usually last for six to 12 months. If you can find a good offer, you could potentially pay down a significant amount of debt before November and December.&quot;</p> <p>But nothing is ever free; offers like this often come with a one-time balance transfer fee ranging from 3 percent to 10 percent of the total balance transfer. That can really add up and, if you're not careful, completely negate any savings that 0 percent APR offers. Be sure to make your payments on time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-a-balance-transfer-offer-a-good-deal?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is a Balance Transfer Offer a Good Deal?</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%2F10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Ways%2520to%2520Tidy%2520Up%2520Your%2520Finances%2520Before%2520the%2520Holidays.jpg&amp;description=10%20Ways%20to%20Tidy%20Up%20Your%20Finances%20Before%20the%20Holidays"></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%20Ways%20to%20Tidy%20Up%20Your%20Finances%20Before%20the%20Holidays.jpg" alt="10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays" 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/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">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/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</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-fastest-ways-to-recover-from-holiday-overspending">7 Fastest Ways to Recover From Holiday Overspending</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-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</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/8-secrets-to-a-debt-free-holiday-season">8 Secrets to a Debt-Free Holiday Season</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/6-smart-financial-gifts-to-give-your-kids-this-year">6 Smart Financial Gifts to Give Your Kids This Year</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living balance transfer budgeting cash back checkup Christmas gifts Holidays layaway planning savings shopping winter Wed, 04 Oct 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 2030770 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-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/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/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/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-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 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-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/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-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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-alternatives-to-a-401k-plan">5 Alternatives to a 401(k) Plan</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-money-resolutions-anyone-can-conquer">4 Money Resolutions Anyone Can Conquer</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 4 Credit Card Transactions That Don't Earn Rewards http://www.wisebread.com/4-credit-card-transactions-that-dont-earn-rewards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-credit-card-transactions-that-dont-earn-rewards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/internet_banking.jpg" alt="Internet banking" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Rewards credit cards can be a great way of earning a little something extra for the purchases you make every day. Most rewards cards dole out 1&ndash;5 points for each dollar you spend. But there are a few transactions that <em>never </em>earn rewards. Keep these in mind so you don't end up disappointed when you look at your rewards statement later on (and instead try the strategies that follow to boost your rewards earnings).</p> <h2>1. Cash advances at an ATM</h2> <p>If you use your credit card for a cash advance at an ATM, you are running up a balance on your credit card. Unfortunately, that balance won't earn you any rewards points &mdash; or any love from your card issuer. Whenever you take out a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-credit-card-cash-advance-costs-you-more-than-a-purchase?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash advance from an ATM</a>, you should plan on paying a higher interest rate immediately on the advance amount, as well as a cash advance fee of 2&ndash;5 percent and any fees that the individual ATM charges.</p> <h2>2. Cash advance checks you receive in the mail</h2> <p>Those cash advance checks you receive in the mail might seem like an awesome deal. You write the check out to yourself, cash it, and the money is yours. Unfortunately, that money will need to be paid back, along with fees, of course.</p> <p>You can expect to pay the same fees as you pay for withdrawing cash from an ATM, except for the ATM fee. You'll still pay a transaction fee and a higher interest rate on your cash advance, though. There will be no grace period before interest starts accruing on the cash advance, either. And just like a cash advance from an ATM, you won't earn any rewards for the privilege.</p> <h2>3. Balance transfers</h2> <p>In a perfect world, we could all earn millions of credit card points by endlessly transferring balances. We could transfer the same balance back and forth for years, earning oodles of welcome bonuses and points for our spending.</p> <p>But in this world,&nbsp;you never earn rewards on balance transfers.&nbsp;Banks would simply lose too much money if they offered this option, so they don't.</p> <p>While you don't earn rewards with balance transfers, that doesn't mean they're not valuable. Many of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">best 0 percent APR cards</a> charge no interest on the amount transferred for 12&ndash;21 months. You can gain huge savings on interest while you pay off your debt.</p> <p>And while it's usually best not to use a balance transfer card to make new purchases, if you do have to do that, some balance transfer cards offer rewards on purchases. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-hidden-dangers-of-credit-card-balance-transfers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Hidden Dangers of Balance Transfers</a>)</p> <h2>4. Purchases made with points</h2> <p>When your credit card has a rewards program, it's easy to conflate your cash spending with rewards purchases. But if you use points for a purchase (instead of cash), you won't earn any points when you buy. The bank only wants to reward you for spending actual money on the card.</p> <p>Here's an example. Imagine you have a travel credit card and you decide to book an excursion through the card's travel portal. You set your sights on a snorkeling tour in Grand Cayman, and find you have the option to pay with points or to fork over $70 per person.</p> <p>If you pay with cash, you'll absolutely earn rewards for the purchase. But if you turn in your points instead, you'll be out of luck. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I've Earned With Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>How to boost your rewards over time</h2> <p>Fortunately, there are plenty of safe, reliable methods to beef up your point balances on your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">favorite rewards credit card</a>. Best of all, nothing we're about to suggest involves paying interest or upfront fees at all.</p> <p>Here are four ways to earn more rewards over time.</p> <h3>1. Use your rewards credit card for everyday purchases</h3> <p>The best way to earn more rewards isn't complicated. By simply <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-everyday-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">using your card for all your regular purchases</a> (think gas, groceries, and miscellaneous), you can earn a ton of points over time. If you spend $1,000 on your card every month and earn an average 2 percent back, for example, you'll rack up $20 per month in rewards &mdash; or $240 per year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save an Extra $1,094.86 a Year</a>)</p> <h3>2. Pay all your bills on credit</h3> <p>Another strategy to boost your rewards is to put your regularly occurring expenses on your credit card. Think of anything you have on automatic payments &mdash; life insurance, cellphone bill, utility payments. If they're currently set up to be paid via debit automatically, you could earn more rewards by setting them up on your favorite credit card instead. Just be sure to check with the provider to make sure you won't have to pay a fee for using credit. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-your-bills-with-a-credit-card?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Paying Your Bills With a Credit Card</a>)</p> <h3>3. Shop through online portals when possible</h3> <p>Many rewards card issuers offer their own online shopping portals that make earning rewards even easier. You'll need to log in to the portal, then you can click through to major retailers to earn extra points for every dollar you spend. Options vary and deals change often, but you can usually earn at least one or two bonus points for every dollar you spend on that card.</p> <p>Sometimes you'll see deals for as many as 30 bonus points. Merchants include online stores like Kohls, Best Buy, Macy's, and many others. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-earn-cashback-rewards-without-extra-spending?ref=internal" target="_blank">5 Ways to Earn Cashback Rewards Without Extra Spending</a>)</p> <p>Of course, if you want to make your rewards card work for you, avoid running a balance. While earning 1&ndash;5 percent back on your purchases is certainly appealing, those rewards will disappear quickly if you're forking over the average credit card interest rate.</p> <p>When it comes to credit, tread carefully and only charge what you can afford to repay. If you wind up in debt in pursuit of rewards, you'll regret it.</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/4-credit-card-transactions-that-dont-earn-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-5"> <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-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-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/6-reasons-cash-back-is-better-than-travel-rewards">6 Reasons Cash Back Is Better Than Travel 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/5-times-credit-cards-are-smarter-than-cash">5 Times Credit Cards Are Smarter Than Cash</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/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts">9 Ways to Use Miles and Points for Holiday Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards ATM balance transfers cash advances cash back online shopping points rewards Wed, 14 Jun 2017 08:31:17 +0000 Holly Johnson 1965247 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Turn Credit Card Rewards Into Real Wealth http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-turn-credit-card-rewards-into-real-wealth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-turn-credit-card-rewards-into-real-wealth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-623196850.jpg" alt="Man turning credit card rewards into real wealth" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Using a rewards credit card is an easy way to pocket a few hundred dollars a year in cash back rewards, or earn free travel. And if you're willing to put in the effort, you'll find there are plenty of ways to parlay your points into something more meaningful and long-lasting.</p> <h2>1. Invest your cash back for the long haul</h2> <p>The simplest way to make <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back rewards</a> even more rewarding is to put the money into a retirement account and let compound interest work its magic. For example, we've worked out how to save <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?ref=internal" target="_blank">over a thousand dollars a year</a> using credit cards.</p> <p>Let's say you banked your $1,000 in rewards and savings and invested them in a Roth IRA each year for 20 years. If you earned an average return of 6 percent, you'd have almost $40,000 after 20 years, before fees.</p> <h2>2. Invest in experiences</h2> <p>Ask any dying person what they value most, and it won't be money they speak of. Most people look back on their lives and cherish the memories they've made &mdash; the sight of beautiful places, the laughter of their children, and the life-changing moments they've spent with the people they love.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Travel rewards cards</a> may not help anyone grow rich, but they can help them afford a wide range of experiences that may otherwise be out of reach. An Alaskan cruise may fit into even a modest budget with the smart use of credit card rewards. Meanwhile, a $1000+ economy flight to Europe can be had for as little as 45,000 American Airlines frequent flyer miles, which you can earn with an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-american-airlines-us-airways-credit-card-should-you-get?ref=internal" target="_blank">American Airlines credit card</a>.</p> <p>Used wisely, travel rewards can help families make memories they'll cherish for a lifetime. At the very least, they make it possible to travel farther, participate in more activities, and stay longer once you're there. (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">How to Earn a Free Vacation in 9 Months With Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>3. Donate rewards to a worthy cause</h2> <p>Even if you aren't remotely interested in spending rewards, you can make a difference. Some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-give-back-to-charity?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit cards give rewards directly to charities</a>. Other credit card programs let you donate your points to charity, letting you turn your regular spending into a boon for someone else.</p> <p>While each credit card rewards program works differently, most make it possible to donate your rewards to causes you believe in. And if you don't want to donate through your issuer's official program, you can always simply give the cash back you earn to your favorite charity.</p> <h2>4. Use rewards to pay down debt and save money on interest</h2> <p>If you have credit card debt, you shouldn't be chasing credit card rewards. But if you have other debt that you'd like to pay off sooner, like a car loan, you can rack up cash rewards and make an extra payment each year. This will help you reduce interest on that debt as well as pay it off sooner.</p> <h2>5. Avoid a high-interest loan</h2> <p>If you have a huge expense coming up and need to take out a loan, you can avoid interest payments and earn rewards in one fell swoop. With a credit card that offers <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-0-apr-for-purchases?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% APR on new purchases</a> you essentially get an interest-free loan for a limited time.</p> <p>For example, let's say you plan to finance a roomful of furniture to the tune of $5,000. You want to pay it off over a year or so, and hope to avoid huge interest payments. You can get a card that offers 0% APR for the first 15 months, allowing you to pay off that $5,000 interest free. Remember though that you have to stay committed to your plan to pay off that amount during that period. Rewards cards typically charge higher interest rates. If you don't think you'll be able to pay off your balance, you'll want instead to look into <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">low interest credit cards</a> to keep a handle on your debt. Before you pursue rewards, make sure you're prepared to use credit responsibly.</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/5-ways-to-turn-credit-card-rewards-into-real-wealth">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-5"> <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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-cash-back-is-better-than-travel-rewards">6 Reasons Cash Back Is Better Than Travel Rewards</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-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-4 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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-frequent-flyer-miles-that-are-about-to-expire">How to Save Frequent Flyer Miles That Are About to Expire</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards cash back charity experiences interest loans miles rewards travel wealth building Mon, 22 May 2017 08:30:16 +0000 Holly Johnson 1946267 at http://www.wisebread.com The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-516262792.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to save up a big travel budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling is an undeniably amazing experience, but as with so many of the finer things in life, it does come with a price tag attached. Cost is unfortunately one of the biggest factors that prevents people from traveling.</p> <p>However, if getting to see the world is a serious goal of yours, this may be the perfect time to renew your focus on savings so that you can afford to pay for your wanderlust. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-save-for-your-dream-vacation?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Save for Your Dream Vacation</a>)</p> <h2>Set a goal and deadline</h2> <p>To help you get motivated to save more, set a clear goal and a timeline. The more specific the goal, the better, since it will allow you to visualize your trip and get excited about it. For instance, if you've dreamed about taking a trip to Europe for years, decide on your top destinations and how long you want the trip to last. That will help set a ballpark budget figure to aim for.</p> <p>Next, attach a savings deadline &mdash; for example, decide that you will buy your plane tickets within the next six to 12 months. Don't give yourself much more time, or you'll lose the urgency to put money away <em>now</em>.</p> <p>Having this type of a clear savings goal will help you stay motivated and make your trip feel more like a reality and less like a distant dream. It will also give you a schedule for your savings, allowing you to calculate how much you need to set aside each month to be able to afford your upcoming trip.</p> <h2>Slash unnecessary spending</h2> <p>Your goal will help you find the motivation to make some of the sacrifices that come with putting more money toward savings. You will want to shift your mindset from the short-term gratification of an immediate purchase (whose charm almost always wears off quickly) to the long-term gratification that comes from an experience that will leave you with memories for a lifetime.</p> <p>You may be surprised to realize how much of your spending is discretionary. Think of anything you are spending money on that you could live without. For instance, you can save a lot of money by cooking for yourself, instead of going out to eat. Even less-than-fancy meals at restaurants like Panera or Chipotle can cost $7 and up. If you indulge in this convenience three times a week, you're spending $84 a month. Substitute each of those meals with frugal home cooked meals and save.</p> <p>A car can be a significant expense, so if you can do without it you are setting yourself up for big savings. According to AAA, it costs the average American car owner around $8,558 to own and maintain their vehicle each year (this includes $3,759 in depreciation but doesn't include car payments). Even if you factor out the depreciation, that still means Americans are averaging $4,799 a year just to run our cars.</p> <p>In contrast, Numbeo.com reports the average cost of a monthly transport pass in the United States is around $70, or $840 a year. If you live in an area with good public transportation, you could potentially pocket more than $3,900 a year by giving up your car.</p> <p>If you can't completely forego having a car, you could still reduce your transportation expenses by driving less often. Walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation instead. You'll not only save on gas, but also parking.</p> <p>Need inspiration to cut costs? Consider this woman from the U.K. who essentially <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/buy-nothing-year-one-woman-saved-22000/" target="_blank">spent nothing for an entire year</a>. While that may sound drastic, her savings while living in notoriously expensive London added up to nearly $27,000. Even half that amount would make a significant travel budget.</p> <h2>Work more, spend less</h2> <p>During one six-month period of my life I saved $12,000, which then allowed me to travel comfortably for the next six months without any income. I was able to do this by ensuring that my costs were as low as possible</p> <p>I split a $500 studio apartment with a roommate, so my rent was only $250 a month. Living quarters were cramped, but I was hardly ever there. I worked three jobs so I could make more money (around $2,500 a month). My 50-60 hours-a-week work schedule also meant that I had less time to spend my earnings.</p> <p>I was able to keep grocery costs to $100 a month because I was working in the food industry at the time. My other main costs were gas ($50 a month), and the cheapest cellphone plan I could find ($30 a month).</p> <p>For fun, I mostly did free activities, taking advantage of the fact that I lived in the mountains in California. I could go hiking and biking for free and there were often free concerts in the evenings. When I needed new clothes for work, I would get them from the local thrift store for $10&ndash;$15.</p> <h2>Get rewarded for your purchases</h2> <p>There are many ways to use various types of credit cards so that you get rewarded for your necessary expenditures. Especially for major expenses such as gas, groceries, and plane tickets, selecting the appropriate credit card can help you save a significant amount of money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save an Extra $1,095 a Year</a>)</p> <h3>Grocery credit card</h3> <p>Groceries are a big expense for most people. Since you can't avoid spending at least something on groceries, you may as well get rewarded for your spending. Use a credit card that gives you extra rewards points for every dollar you spend at supermarkets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a>)</p> <p>You may even be able to stack rewards by using a loyalty card from the supermarket chain where you do most of your shopping. Often these loyalty programs offer you cash discounts that can help cut your overall grocery bill.</p> <h3>Gas credit card</h3> <p>If you just can't live without a car, you can still save on the cost of gas by opening the right credit card. Cards that are co-branded with a particular gas station give you discounts at the pump, usually a few cents per gallon. These cards tend to have high interest rates, though, so if you tend to carry a balance, you'll usually be better off with a rewards credit card that gives you bonus points for purchases made at gas stations. If fuel is one of your bigger expenses, it's worth opening a gas rewards card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Best Gas Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h3>Travel credit card</h3> <p>Although you may not be traveling a lot while you save up for your big trip, it's worth getting a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel rewards credit card</a> well in advance of your trip. By using your travel card for everyday purchases, you can rack up points toward free flights or hotel stays when it comes time to hit the road. (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 a Free Vacation in 9 Months or Less</a>)</p> <p>What's more, most travel cards offer significant <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal">points bonuses</a> when you spend a certain amount within the first few months after opening the account. These bonuses can be worth hundreds of dollars in travel, but you'll need time to meet the required spending amount and wait for the bonus points to be posted to your account.</p> <p>Finally, airline cards often come with free checked baggage and other perks such as free rental car insurance, lost baggage coverage, and trip interruption insurance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-types-of-travel-insurance-credit-cards-include-that-you-didnt-know-about?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Types of Travel Insurance That Credit Cards Include</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%2Fthe-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%2520Easy%2520Way%2520to%2520Save%2520Up%2520a%2520Big%2520Travel%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=The%20Easy%20Way%20to%20Save%20Up%20a%20Big%20Travel%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/The%20Easy%20Way%20to%20Save%20Up%20a%20Big%20Travel%20Budget.jpg" alt="The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel 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/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-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-7"> <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-to-build-your-best-travel-budget">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</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/why-saving-money-is-harder-today">Why Saving Money Is Harder Today</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-easy-ways-to-get-richer-in-2018">4 Easy Ways to Get Richer In 2018</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/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> <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/save-100s-next-month-with-these-10-grocery-shopping-tips">Save $100s Next Month With These 10 Grocery Shopping Tips</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel cash back cutting costs expenses Food groceries rewards saving money transportation trips vacations Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1927306 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things You Should Never Do With Your Travel Rewards Credit Cards http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-with-your-travel-rewards-credit-cards <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-you-should-never-do-with-your-travel-rewards-credit-cards" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-637964304.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting the most out of a travel rewards credit card isn't as easy as it might seem. Sure, the basic premise is simple: Rewards credit cards dole out points when you make a purchase with your card. Then you redeem them for free or discounted travel. But there are plenty of pitfalls to watch out for. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-started-with-travel-rewards-in-4-simple-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Get Started With Travel Rewards With These Simple Steps</a>)</p> <p>Before you put too much effort into earning travel rewards, it's crucial to know what you're getting into. If you don't, you could end up with expired or useless points, or worse, debt.</p> <p>If you're angling to use credit card rewards to your advantage &mdash; not the card issuer's &mdash; here are some mistakes to avoid along the way.</p> <h2>1. Missing the Minimum Spending Requirement for a Bonus</h2> <p>Most top travel rewards credit cards offer a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">sign-up bonus</a> for hitting a minimum spending requirement within a specific length of time when you first get the card. For example, you might earn 50,000 points if you spend $4,000 within the first three months of card ownership. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>If you should happen to fall short, however, you'll never see that bonus hit your account. That's true whether you're $20 short or $200 short. Unless you meet the minimum spending requirement in its entirety, you're out of luck.</p> <p>If you get a new card for the bonus, make sure you're prepared to spend enough to hit the minimum with ease. You should also remember that the clock generally starts ticking on the day you're approved for the card &mdash; not the day you received it or activated it. So, if your card takes 10 days to show up in the mail, that's 10 days less you have to meet the spending requirement. If you're unsure of the exact date you were approved, call the number on the back of your card and ask. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-meet-a-rewards-card-minimum-spending-requirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Smart Ways to Meet a Rewards Card Minimum Spending Requirement</a>)</p> <h2>2. Earning Loyalty Points You Can't Use</h2> <p>Racking up Hyatt Gold Passport points for a trip to Denmark sounds like a genius plan until you realize there are no Hyatt properties in the entire country. And earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points sounds smart &mdash; that is, until you realize Southwest doesn't even fly out of your home airport.</p> <p>This might sound crazy, but it happens all the time. Believe it or not, some people get so excited about earning points or miles that they don't even check whether they can use them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-the-best-travel-rewards-credit-card-with-this-guide?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Choose the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card With This Guide</a>)</p> <p>Before you sign up for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">co-branded card</a> that only works with a specific loyalty program, it's crucial to figure out if those points will leave you better off. If you're unsure or want more flexibility, steer clear of co-branded cards and instead choose a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">flexible travel rewards card</a> that lets you use points for multiple airlines and hotel chains.</p> <h2>3. Carrying a Balance</h2> <p>Paying interest on your credit card charges is never a good idea, but that's especially true if you're using the card to earn rewards. Since rewards credit cards typically charge higher interest rates than non-rewards cards, your misguided pursuit of points and frequent flyer miles can leave you worse off than if you had a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">low-interest credit card</a>.</p> <p>Before you chase credit card rewards, you should be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=internal" target="_blank">debt-free</a>. Even better, you should track your spending to make sure you're on track with your goals.</p> <h2>4. Forgetting About Annual Fees</h2> <p>While many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">cash back credit cards</a> don't come with annual fees, the same cannot be said about travel rewards cards. Some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-premium-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">excellent premium cards</a> come with annual fees as steep as $450, while more basic cards cost anywhere from $59 to $95.</p> <p>Before you sign up for a rewards card, make sure you know about fees and when they come due. You should also make sure you're going to extract enough value from the card to make the experience worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-guide-to-evaluating-a-credit-card-with-an-annual-fee?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Simple Guide to Evaluating Whether a Credit Card With an Annual Fee Is Worth It</a>)</p> <h2>5. Letting Your Points Expire</h2> <p>Some points expire if you let them sit idle for too long, while others never expire. Of course, the burden falls squarely on you to keep up with expiration policies and deadlines. If you fail to plan and don't ensure your points stay active, you could see thousands of points disappear overnight.</p> <p>Before you get too wrapped up in any rewards program, make sure you know what it takes to keep your points active. Some airline programs will wipe out your point haul after 12&ndash;24 months of inactivity, but you can keep your account active by using your co-branded credit card for a purchase or transferring points.</p> <p>Either way, make sure you know the rules and stay organized enough to follow them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-tools-for-tracking-your-rewards-miles?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Best Tools for Keeping Track of Your Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>6. Not Using the Right Card for Your Goals</h2> <p>A friend of mine had been using her only rewards card &mdash; a cash back card &mdash; to save up points for an international flight that normally costs around $1,500. At the rate she was going (earning around 30,000 points per year), it would easily take her five years to earn that round-trip ticket &mdash; and that's only if the price didn't surge in the meantime.</p> <p>Once I realized this, I guided her toward the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chase-sapphire-preferred-review?ref=internal" target="_blank">Chase Sapphire Preferred&reg; card</a> for its generous sign up bonus. Once she earned the bonus, she would have more than enough points to transfer to the United MileagePlus program to pay for the same international ticket right away. Overnight, her strategy morphed from one that would take up to five years to a plan that would culminate in just a few short months. (Keep in mind the card has an annual fee.)</p> <p>(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-redeemed-a-12000-family-vacation-with-credit-card-rewards-in-2-months?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">How I Redeemed a $12,000 Family Vacation With Credit Card Rewards in Two Months</a>)</p> <p>The bottom line: If you have a specific goal in mind, you can save time and heartache by optimizing your rewards from the start. (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 Quickly With Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>7. Overspending to Earn More Rewards</h2> <p>Because rewards credit cards dole out points based on your spending, it can be tempting to spend more to earn more rewards. This is especially true when certain bonus categories come into play. If you can earn five times the points on a brand-new flat screen television, for example, you might feel inclined to buy one, even if you didn't need it.</p> <p>But if your rewards goal is truly getting ahead, you should think long and hard before buying anything out of the ordinary. After all, spending money you wouldn't spend otherwise won't help you save money in the long run.</p> <p>Remember, the best credit card rewards strategy is a simple one: When you use your cards for bills you were going to pay anyway, you'll truly be rewarded. But if you use credit card rewards to justify a spending spree, you're not really helping yourself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-credit-card-reward-tips-many-people-dont-follow?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Credit Card Reward Tips Many People Don't Follow</a>)</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/7-things-you-should-never-do-with-your-travel-rewards-credit-cards">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-9"> <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/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/6-reasons-cash-back-is-better-than-travel-rewards">6 Reasons Cash Back Is Better Than Travel 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/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/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Free Travel</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards bonuses cash back fees miles Mistakes points rewards spending requirements travel Wed, 01 Mar 2017 10:30:34 +0000 Holly Johnson 1898658 at http://www.wisebread.com The 25 Best Credit Cards From Credit Unions http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-from-credit-unions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-best-credit-cards-from-credit-unions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_smile_credit_card_588598074.jpg" alt="Woman using best credit cards from credit unions" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit unions have come a long way from their local, affinity group roots. These days credit unions offer all of the convenience and service of their much larger brethren, but usually at lower cost &mdash; and often with more personal customer service. Joining a credit union has never been easier, as most credit unions make membership available to almost anyone through affiliated nonprofits and groups. Of course, credit cards are among the banking products a credit union will offer.</p> <p>We've collected 25 of the best credit union credit cards on offer, many equal or superior to big bank cards. Have a look, and then decide if it's time to finally <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank">dump your bank and join a credit union</a>.</p> <h2>Our Top 10 Credit Union Credit Cards</h2> <p>The 10 cards at the top of our list feature relatively low interest rates and familiar credit card features and perks.</p> <h3>State Department Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum Card</h3> <p>The SDFCU offers a pair of Platinum Visa cards with several attractive benefits, including no balance transfer fees, and a rewards program called &quot;Flexpoint.&quot; Variable interest rates range between 7.49% and 15.24%, depending on credit score. The SDFCU is open to employees of the US State Department and their families, affiliated companies, and members of the American Consumer Council, which anyone can join.</p> <h3>GTE Financial Credit Union: Visa Platinum Card</h3> <p>The Platinum Visa from GTE Federal Credit Union offers attractive interest rates (8.49% for the best credit scores) and no balance transfer fees. Many credit union cards are shy with the rewards points, but this card features 2x and 3x points on promotional purchases throughout the year. Visa Alerts and Travel and Baggage insurance round out the perks. Membership in the GTEFCU is through employers, family members, or by joining GTE's CU Savers club.</p> <h3>Air Force Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum Card<strong> </strong></h3> <p>You don't have to be a pilot to enjoy the benefits of the AFFCU Platinum Visa.There's no annual fee for this card, relatively low interest rates (starting at 8% for those with excellent credit scores), and 2,500 bonus CURewards points just for signing up. Membership is open to military service personnel and their families, government employees and their families, DOD contractors, and members of the Airman Heritage Foundation, which anyone can join for a fee.</p> <h3>Navy Federal Credit Union: cashRewards Credit Card</h3> <p>This card features no annual fee and an attractive cash back rewards program that returns 1.5% for every dollar spent. Interest rates start at 9.9%, so be sure to take advantage of the rewards while keeping balances at zero. There are no annual fees, no balance transfer fees, and no foreign transaction fees with this card. Membership is open to current and former service members, DOD civilians, and their families.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Platinum Rewards Visa Signature Card</h3> <p>The relatively high interest rates on this card (starting at 10.24%), make it an unwise choice for cardholders who carry a balance. For those who can keep balances low, the attractive rewards program can pay well, with 5x points for gasoline purchases and 3x for groceries. No annual fee and no foreign transactions fee keep the cost of this card down. PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, both of which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Premium Travel Rewards American Express</h3> <p>As with the other PenFed card on this list, interest rates aren't the lowest, but the rewards are attractive, especially for frequent travelers. This card features a 12 month 0% balance transfer APR and pays 20,000 bonus points if new cardholders spend $2,500 in the first three months. There's no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees. PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, members of affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Navy Federal Credit Union: Go Rewards Visa Signature Card</h3> <p>This Visa Signature card offers a decent rewards program &mdash; 3x points for restaurants, 2x for gasoline and 1x for everything else &mdash; at the cost of relatively high interest rates (9.74% to 18%, depending on credit score). There is no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, and no foreign transaction fee. Membership is open to current and former service members, DOD civilians, and their families.</p> <h3>Affinity Plus Credit Union: Visa Premier Classic</h3> <p>This no frills card from Affinity Plus Credit Union offers relatively low interest rates (8.65% to 18%, depending on creditworthiness), no annual fee, and no balance transfer fee. Other perks include a Rental vehicle damage waiver and Visa spending alerts. Membership is open to employees of the State of Minnesota, affiliate organizations, and members of the Affinity Plus Foundation, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>NASA Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum Advantage Rewards</h3> <p>This basic rewards card offers a point per dollar spent, which are redeemable for travel and merchandise. There is no annual fee and no balance transfer fee. Interest rates range from 10.17% to 18%, with a balance transfer rate of 7.90% on transfers made in the first 90 days. Membership is open to NASA employees and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of the National Space Society, which is free to join.</p> <h3>McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum Card</h3> <p>This Platinum Visa card features interest rates between 9.9% and 18%, which is middle of the pack for this collection of cards. There is no annual fee. The rewards program requires a separate login on the credit union's website. The card offers Visa services not every credit union card offers, such as roadside assistance and car rental insurance. Membership is open to employer groups, members of their families, and members of VOICE foundation, which anyone can join.</p> <h2>Other Credit Union Credit Cards to Consider</h2> <p>If none of the above suit your needs, consider one of these.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Gold Visa Card</h3> <p>No frills, no fees, and relatively low interest rates (8.99% to 18%).</p> <p>PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Platinum Cash Rewards Visa Card</h3> <p>Cash back on gas of 3% or 5%, depending on which card you qualify for (Standard or Plus).</p> <p>PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Promise Visa Card</h3> <p>No fees, relatively low interest rates (8.99% to 18%).</p> <p>PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Pentagon Federal Credit Union: Defender Visa Signature Card</h3> <p>Cash back on all purchases of 1.5% and $100 bonus credit if new cardholders spend $1500 in the first three months.</p> <p>PenFed membership is open to service members and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of Voices for America's Troops or the National Military Family Association, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Lake Michigan Credit Union: Prime Platinum Visa Card</h3> <p>This card offers a relatively low interest rate (Prime + 3.00%) and no annual fee.</p> <p>Membership is open residents of Michigan, family members, and members of the ALS foundation, which requires a one-time fee.</p> <h2>Lake Michigan Credit Union: Max Rewards Visa Card</h2> <p>Cash back of 3% on gas (up to $500 per month), 2% on groceries (unlimited) and 1% on everything else (unlimited), redeemable via the CURewards program. No annual fee and no balance transfer fee.</p> <p>Membership is open residents of Michigan, family members, and members of the ALS foundation, which requires a one-time fee.</p> <h3>NASA Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum Cash Rewards</h3> <p>Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. No annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees.</p> <p>Membership is open to NASA employees and their families, affiliate organizations, and members of the National Space Society, which is free to join.</p> <h3>Affinity Plus Credit Union: Visa Premier Select Rewards</h3> <p>No annual or balance transfer fees. Earn one CURewards point per dollar spent, Visa Signature perks such as travel accident insurance and cell phone protection.</p> <p>Membership is open to employees of the State of Minnesota, affiliate organizations, and members of the Affinity Plus Foundation, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <h3>Apple Federal Credit Union: Visa Platinum</h3> <p>Low variable interest rates (5.99% to 18%) and no penalty APR. No annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees.</p> <p>Membership in the credit union is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in several Northern Virginia counties, their families, and affiliated employee groups.</p> <h3>Apple Federal Credit Union: Signature Reward Visa</h3> <p>No annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees. Earn 3x points on gas, 2x on groceries and 1x on everything else.</p> <p>Membership in the credit union is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in several Northern Virginia counties, their families, and affiliated employee groups.</p> <h3>Kitsap Credit Union: Visa Gold Card</h3> <p>Low variable APR (Prime +2.9%) and no annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees.</p> <p>Membership is open to people who live work, or worship in the state of Washington.</p> <h3>Abri Credit Union: Visa Platinum Credit Card</h3> <p>Low interest rates (Prime + 3.9%), no annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees. Promotional balance transfer rate of 1.99% for six months.</p> <p>Membership is open to people who live in select Chicagoland counties and their families.</p> <h3>Fort Community Credit Union: Visa Platinum Credit Card</h3> <p>Low variable APR (Prime + 3.99%), no annual, balance transfer, or foreign transaction fees. Cash back of 1% on all purchases.</p> <p>Membership is open to people who live and work in select counties in and around Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and their families.</p> <h3>America First Credit Union: Visa Platinum Credit Card</h3> <p>Cash back of 1.5% on all purchases, no annual or balance transfer fees.</p> <p>Membership is open to those who live, work, or worship in select Utah, Arizona, and Nevada counties.</p> <h3>Suncoast Credit Union: Reward Platinum Visa</h3> <p>Variable interest rates starting at 8.9%, one rewards point for every dollar spent, redeemable for travel and merchandise. No annual or balance transfer fees.</p> <p>Membership is open to those who live or work in select Florida counties and their families.</p> <h3>Alliant Credit Union: Visa Platinum Credit Card</h3> <p>Introductory APR of 0% for 12 months; variable after (9.74% to 21.74%). No annual fee, no balance transfer fee.</p> <p>Membership is open to select employer groups, people who live or work in select Chicagoland counties, or members of a nonprofit, which anyone can join for a one-time fee.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/greg-go">Greg Go</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-cards-from-credit-unions">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/how-a-credit-card-cash-advance-costs-you-more-than-a-purchase">How a Credit Card Cash Advance Costs You More Than a Purchase</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/3-easy-ways-to-improve-your-credit-score-during-the-holidays">3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Credit Score During the Holidays</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/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</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-things-you-might-miss-in-your-credit-cards-fine-print">6 Things You Might Miss in Your Credit Card&#039;s Fine Print</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/is-a-balance-transfer-offer-a-good-deal">Is a Balance Transfer Offer a Good Deal?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards APR cash back credit unions interest rates rewards cards Sat, 28 Jan 2017 01:09:38 +0000 Greg Go 1882265 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Ways to Use Miles and Points for Holiday Gifts http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_christmas_shopping_621576836.jpg" alt="Woman using miles and points for holiday gifts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Although shopping isn't always the best way to get value out of your credit card or other loyalty rewards &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-to-making-the-most-of-your-reward-miles?ref=internal">international flights and upgrades</a> typically get more punch for the point &mdash; there are lots of good reasons to consider spending some points on holiday gifts.</p> <p>If you're short on cash, tapping your miles and points is an easy way to come through for loved ones without racking up debt. It's a sneaky way to treat a spouse who shares your checking and credit accounts without having a bill for the &quot;gift&quot; arrive in January. Shopping can also be an expedient way to use up small caches of points that might otherwise expire, which should be part of your year-end financial cleanup anyway.</p> <p>Check out some of these easy ways to turn points into presents under the tree. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-save-money-but-still-get-what-you-want-during-holiday-shopping?ref=seealso">25+ Ways to Save Money But Still Get What You Want During Holiday Shoppin</a>)</p> <h2>1. Shop Amazon With Points</h2> <p>This is so easy that even I, usually a die hard &quot;save points for travel&quot; girl, bought my kids some toys using this method this year. Some credit cards allow you to link your Amazon account directly to easily use points for purchases. Amazon is also a popular vendor in shopping portals. Check your credit card issuer to see if they have a members-only shopping portal that allows you to use points (or earn bonus ones) when you shop with their partners.</p> <h2>2. Buy Gift Cards With Points</h2> <p>Many rewards programs offer gift cards as a redemption option. You can usually exchange your points at a $0.01 rate, so if you have 500 points, you can usually get a $5 gift card to a popular store, like Starbucks, Home Depot, or Banana Republic. Make sure to check whether your gift cards will arrive by mail or email, and if by mail, when they will be shipped.</p> <h2>3. Give the Gift of Travel</h2> <p>If you have a lot of points, you can always use them where you get the best value: airline flights. This is a great gift idea for a loved one you'd like to visit you. Simply use your points to book a ticket in his name. Southwest is a good candidate for this kind of gift, since your recipient can change the flight itinerary at no charge if your proposed travel dates don't work. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-southwest-airlines-is-the-best-domestic-airline-for-families?ref=seealso">Why Southweest Is the Best Domestic Airline for Families</a>)</p> <h2>4. Give Subscriptions</h2> <p>If you have a few points close to expiration, you may have received an offer in the mail to trade points for magazine and newspaper subscriptions. This is a good way to squeeze some value out of miles for an airline you're unlikely to fly, or points from any program where you don't expect to accumulate enough to redeem anything big.</p> <p>For instance, while 3,200 miles is not enough for even a short flight on American Airlines, it can get you a yearlong subscription to The Wall Street Journal, a $278 value. Through <a href="https://www2.magsformiles.com/index.html?utm_source=expired&amp;utm_medium=10024767">Mags for Miles</a>, you can redeem United, Spirit, and a number of other types of miles for People, Sports Illustrated, or many other titles. This is a particularly good idea for Spirit miles, since they expire quickly.</p> <h2>5. Redeem Points for Merchandise</h2> <p>This usually ends up giving you the <em>worst </em>value for your points, but if it prevents you from actually spending your cash, it can still be worthwhile. Look at your options for points redemption, and you'll usually find a &quot;merchandise&quot; option, which lists gadgets and gifts you can get with your points. If the gift you really want to get is there, or you really wouldn't be able to use the points in a better way, why not?</p> <h2>6. Give Exclusive Experiences</h2> <p>Sometimes Broadway shows, sporting events, and other experience vendors offer exclusive opportunities to cardholders. Members might get offered pre-sale tickets for popular shows or access a VIP experience at a special event. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards?ref=seealso">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I've Earned with Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>7. Redeem Points for Cash</h2> <p>Even if your credit card isn't labeled a &quot;cash back&quot; credit card, you may still be able to redeem your points for cash or a statement credit. Sometimes they don't advertise this option, so dig a little into their rewards center to see whether it's an option.&nbsp;</p> <h2>8. Make a Donation</h2> <p>If your giftee is the type of person who would appreciate a charitable donation in their name, many issuers will allow you to donate your points to charities. Check your rewards center for options and availability.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-miles-and-points-for-holiday-gifts">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter">9 Gifts That Won&#039;t Become Clutter</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Shopping Amazon cash back charities christmas shopping gifts holiday shopping miles rewards subscriptions Fri, 09 Dec 2016 10:00:08 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1850499 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways Millennials Have Changed Money (So Far) http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_chalkboard_money_500538951.jpg" alt="Learning how millennials have changed money so far" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every generation of Americans have changed the face of this nation in its own way.</p> <p>In the 1990s, our country was very different from it was in the '70s, which, itself, was a far cry from the 1950s. Today, Millennials are overhauling our political, social, and financial landscape so much that it's barely recognizable from just 10 years ago, and that's not necessarily a bad thing (depending on where you stand on certain issues.)</p> <p>As far as money is concerned at least, the &quot;Me Generation&quot; is making it easier to earn money and more efficient to spend it, while reinventing entire aspects of personal finance, like investing. They're living up to the old idiom of putting their money where their mouth is &mdash; and here's how.</p> <h2>1. Cash Back Is Growing While Coupons Fall Behind</h2> <p>I used to be a major coupon clipper, once saving more than $80 on my grocery bill on double-coupon day at my local supermarket. My couponing prowess (and interest) has consistently waned over the years. Instead, substituting my savings with cash back deals through my bank and grocery apps, like <a href="https://ibotta.com/register?friend=jcsgjbv">Ibotta</a>, <a href="https://www.checkout51.com/">Checkout 51</a>, and <a href="https://savingstar.com/">SavingStar</a>, has skyrocketed.</p> <p>I'm not alone. Millennials are hopping aboard the rebate train in droves.</p> <p>If you're not familiar with the concept of the cash back service, it's basically the opposite of the upfront savings that coupons provide. Instead, these rebate providers pay out the consumer on the back-end, after the shopping trip is complete.</p> <p>SavingStar, for instance, offers deals from popular grocery brands like Cheerios, Yoplait, Dove, and more. For some chains, it'll link deals directly to shoppers' loyalty cards. For other stores, shoppers can submit a picture of their receipt through the app or website. In either case, shoppers earn cash back into their SavingStar accounts, which can be paid out to a bank or PayPal account, or as gift cards from Starbucks, iTunes, and AMC Theatres.</p> <p>Of course, cash-back-adopting Millennials would maximize their savings by using both coupons <em>and</em> the rebate services, but, ya know &mdash; kids these days.</p> <h2>2. Investing Is Being Completely Reinvented</h2> <p>As an investor myself, I've avoided putting money in stocks (I just don't trust that market), preferring to invest in real estate or other entrepreneurs' business ideas. Michael Banks, founder of investing and personal finance blog Fortunate Investor, says I'm in good company. Millennials are turning the investment industry on its head by rethinking long-held strategies, perhaps out of necessity.</p> <p>&quot;As the generation with the largest student debt and toughest-looking future, traditional investing is out of the picture,&quot; Banks says. &quot;Instead, more Millennials are relying on micro-investing &mdash; investing small amounts of money frequently &mdash; to accomplish their savings goals.&quot;</p> <p>Micro-investing allows would-be investors with little starting capital to bypass the roadblocks that usually keep them out of the game &mdash; minimum investment levels, trading costs, market research, and really just not having a ton of money.</p> <p>&quot;Investing has always had a high buy-in value, which you would think eliminates the generation that is doing everything they can to save whatever they have &mdash; but a handful of apps are changing that, and opening the doors for Millennials to try their hands at creating their own investment portfolios,&quot; adds Banks.</p> <h2>3. Hardly Anyone Under Age 35 Walks Into a Bank Anymore</h2> <p>Your grandma probably still goes to the brick-and-mortar bank. Heck, maybe even your dad likes to roll in from time to time for a withdrawal and a lollipop, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a Millennial in a bank, unless it's to grab cash from an ATM for after-work drinks (or working there). Rather, they prefer the easy-breezy mobile banking that accommodates their fast-paced lifestyle.</p> <p>According to a recent study, 75% of Millennials are at least somewhat <a href="https://www.marketingcloud.com/what-millennials-expect-from-their-banks/">reliant on a mobile banking app</a> to interact with their bank for tasks such as depositing or sending checks, checking their balance, and paying bills.</p> <p>&quot;This seems like somewhat of a no-brainer, but the power of convenience and control often goes overlooked,&quot; writes creative media agency Brokaw. &quot;Within mobile interactions, there are multiple avenues in which banks can increase their influence and exposure, including text messages and push notifications. Take FirstMerit Bank's text banking and alerts, for example: It allows their customers to request activity alerts for different aspects of their account right from their phone.&quot;</p> <p>Legit, though &mdash; mobile depositing is one of the best inventions of the 21st century. I will stand by that until my retinas are replaced with laser scanners that do all my banking for me. Which is totally gonna happen, ya know.</p> <h2>4. The Monetization of Ideas</h2> <p>Think you need to push product to turn a profit? Old school. Millennials' intellectual property is their bread and butter &mdash; and they're fiercely protective of it.</p> <p>&quot;The increasing monetization of ideas is one trend Millennials are driving, which doesn't look to be slowing down anytime soon.&quot; explains Monica Mizzi, editor of LegalTemplates.net, a website that equips people with the tools to be their own legal advocates. &quot;The boom in startup culture can be largely attributed to the throng of Millennials who are taking the plunge to make their 'one in a million' idea come to life.&quot;</p> <p>Successive studies highlight that a growing number of Millennials are bucking the trend of traditional employment to try their hand at entrepreneurship. With this has come an increasing interest in using nondisclosure agreements to protect their business ideas.</p> <p>&quot;While using an NDA to protect business ideas is not a novel concept, growing market competition has led Millennials to become more proactive in legally protecting their ideas &mdash; even before they have come to fruition,&quot; Mizzi continues. &quot;It's not uncommon to hear reports of big companies pinching ideas or being 'inspired' by their competitors' ideas, so Millennials wanting to become entrepreneurs are more conscious of ensuring their ideas are never compromised.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Instant Financial Transactions Are Becoming More Common</h2> <p>When do Millennials want their money? Now!</p> <p>Domestic instant transaction service has become commonplace for this demographic &mdash; I get paid instantly via Venmo when I deposit money from my Lyft earnings (like a boss!) &mdash; and its expansion to international exchanges is inevitable. The problem is, sending money internationally is a bit trickier with more complex compliance and regulations needs. But at least one service right now, <a href="https://www.remitly.com/us/en/">Remitly</a>, has built compliance and regulation rules into their app making it possible to meet Millennials' need for speed and convenience.</p> <h2>6. Digital Currency Has Real Value</h2> <p>Digital, or cryptocurrency as it's formally known, went mainstream with the runaway success of Bitcoin &mdash; a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency (as explained by Wikipedia). In layman's terms, it's cyber money that you can spend wherever cyber money is accepted, which is a real thing in this day and age.</p> <p>But Bitcoin isn't the be-all or end-all of digital currency. Imitators have popped up, relevant in their own rights. Using a digital currency called Steem, for example, users of brand-new social network<a href="http://www.steemit.com"> Steemit</a> (which looks a lot like Reddit) get paid for posting and curating content. And it's become wildly popular. After launching this past May, Steemit (which has a 26-year-old CEO) already has nearly 120,000 registered users and posts nearly 1,000,000 unique visitors per month. They've also paid out more than <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/can-this-social-media-site-make-you-rich-w449566">$4,000,000 in rewards</a> to users to date.</p> <p>While digital currency is still in its infancy despite these successes, you can expect to see more and more of it infiltrating sectors of industry. Will it ever replace cash or credit? Probably not. But it's certainly an interesting concept as a new form of legitimate currency as we've move forward with Millennials at the helm.</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/6-ways-millennials-have-changed-money-so-far">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-4"> <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-online-forums-thatll-help-you-reach-your-financial-goals">9 Online Forums That&#039;ll Help You Reach Your Financial Goals</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/its-the-21st-century-why-is-your-money-stuck-in-the-20th">It&#039;s the 21st Century — Why Is Your Money Stuck in the 20th?</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/the-financial-perks-of-being-in-your-20s">The Financial Perks of Being in Your 20s</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/get-smart-about-money-with-these-18-free-online-courses">Get Smart About Money With These 18 Free Online Courses</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/21-things-that-young-adults-absolutely-need-to-know-about-money">21 Things That Young Adults Absolutely Need to Know About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle apps cash back coupons digital currency entrepreneurship investing millennials online banking Fri, 02 Dec 2016 11:00:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1844380 at http://www.wisebread.com Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_change_jar_73155135.jpg" alt="Woman finding clever ways to build an emergency fund" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving money is not easy. For many Americans, there's not much cash leftover once the bills get paid each month. Building up an emergency fund and saving for retirement is a struggle, but it's not impossible. Sometimes, it just starts with a small step.</p> <p>For example, one way to begin building an emergency fund is to place any coins you accrue into a transparent change jar. Once it's full, deposit it all into the bank. You'll find that you may have more than $100 &mdash; just from your pocket change!</p> <p>There are many other small ways to get started saving, even if it's just a few dollars at a time.</p> <p>Consider taking these small steps to building positive financial habits, and you'll start to see your bank account grow.</p> <h2>1. Track Your Spending &mdash; Every Single Penny</h2> <p>If you are having trouble saving money, you will need to take the first step of figuring out where your money is going. Develop a system to record every purchase. An online service such as Mint can help you track spending and even categorize purchases so you know exactly what you're spending money on. By doing this, you'll be able to find where you can cut costs. Information is power. (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-saving-more-with-this-one-simple-tool?ref=seealso"> Start Saving More With This One, Simple Tool</a>)</p> <h2>2. Reduce Your Spending on a New Category Each Month</h2> <p>Once you've figure out where your money is going, it's time to decide what you can cut. If you've categorized your spending, pick one category and vow to reduce spending from one month to the next. For example, tackle your restaurant spending in January. In February, look for ways to reduce your cellphone bill. In March, cancel your cable television. By year's end, you'll have slashed spending on 12 things, and will be well on your way to saving money.</p> <h2>3. Put Away Any Extra Money You Receive</h2> <p>Did you get a bonus or raise from your company? Don't spend it, but put it in the bank instead. If your expenses are the same, then any new money you get should go directly into savings. This also goes for any prize winnings, unexpected refunds or rebates, or cash found in the pocket of that jacket you haven't worn since last winter. This may be only a few bucks here and there, but it adds up and gets you in the habit of not spending every new dollar you get.</p> <h2>4. Track When You Don't Spend</h2> <p>You might pass five coffee shops every time you walk to work. You stare at candybars and magazines at every supermarket aisle. You're bombarded with targeted Facebook ads and circulars in the mail. It's almost impossible to avoid parting with your money. But what if you made a note of every time you passed by that coffee shop without stopping in for a $4 latté? What if you gave yourself points for every time your willpower won? Eventually, resisting the urge to spend might be an easy habit.</p> <h2>5. Open an Online Savings Account and Set Up Automatic Transfers</h2> <p>You can't spend money if you never have it in your hand to begin with. If you set up an automatic transfer of cash into an online savings account &mdash; preferably one not tied to your ATM card &mdash; you'll be setting aside money before it ends up in your wallet. Start with a modest amount, maybe $25 a month, then see if you can gradually increase that. Before you know it, you'll have a nice sum of money that can serve as your emergency fund.</p> <h2>6. Open Your 401K and Hit the Company Match</h2> <p>If your company offers a retirement plan, there's no good excuse not to take part. Money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income, and it's usually taken directly from your paycheck, so there's no easy way to spend it on silly stuff. Most companies offer to match contributions up to a certain percent. Do your best to contribute up to the match, if possible, and increase your contributions by a percent each year.</p> <h2>7. Pack Your Lunch</h2> <p>This is a tough one for a lot of people. After all, who wants to eat a lame homemade sandwich when they can go out to that new gourmet burrito place with their colleagues? But it's time to get over your fear of the &quot;sad lunch&quot; and recognize that it's a big money saver. Any back-of-the-envelope calculation will reveal that packed lunches can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. If you're struggling to figure out where you can save money, this is a great place to start.</p> <h2>8. Tweak the Thermostat</h2> <p>We all like to keep our house at the perfect temperature, but we can all get use to things being a degree or two warmer in the summer or slightly cooler in winter. If you're setting the thermostat to 70 in summer, try bumping it up to 72. When it's chilly outside, keep things at 68 or even cooler. And don't forget about tweaking it further when you are not home. The U.S. Department of Energy says you can save as much as <a href="http://energy.gov/energysaver/thermostats">10% on your energy bills</a> just by adjusting the thermostat by seven to 10 degrees for eight hours each day.</p> <h2>9. Use a Credit Card With Cash Back</h2> <p>It's best to use credit cards sparingly when you're looking to save. But if you do use credit cards, making sure you get something in return. Do some research to find the cards with the best rewards. Some offer straight <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards?ref=internal">cash back on every purchase</a>. Others offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-that-transfer-points-to-airline-miles?ref=internal">points at airlines</a> or specific retailers. Find the one that best suits you, and watch that money accrue. Even if you get a mere 1% cash back on purchases, that could add up to hundreds of dollars annually. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cash-back-vs-travel-rewards-pick-the-right-credit-card-for-you?ref=internal">Cash Back vs Travel Rewards: Pick the Right Credit Card for You</a>)</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/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">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-5"> <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-nice-ways-to-tell-your-spendy-friends-youre-staying-on-budget">7 Nice Ways to Tell Your Spendy Friends You&#039;re Staying on Budget</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/73-easy-ways-to-save-money-today">73 Easy Ways to Save Money Today</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/15-personal-finance-rules-you-should-be-breaking">15 Personal Finance Rules You Should Be Breaking</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/10-ways-to-save-money-when-you-are-unemployed">10 Ways to Save Money When You Are Unemployed</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/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting baby steps cash back change jar emergency fund extra money pennies reduce spending saving small steps spending Mon, 17 Oct 2016 10:30:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1813254 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Highly Effective Ways to Save Without Clipping a Coupon http://www.wisebread.com/6-highly-effective-ways-to-save-without-clipping-a-coupon <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-highly-effective-ways-to-save-without-clipping-a-coupon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_using_phone_52920552.jpg" alt="Woman saving money without clipping coupons" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let's face it, clipping coupons can be a very time consuming activity &mdash; and it's definitely not for everyone. In terms of savings, the time spent finding, cutting, and organizing coupons is not always worth it. It's with this in mind that I've come up with some easy ways to save significant money that don't require a coupon. So put down the scissors, walk away from the Sunday paper, and save money with these insider tips instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-online-retailers-who-let-you-stack-coupons?ref=seealso">9 Retailers That Let You Stack Coupons</a>)</p> <h2>1. Shop on the Right Day of the Week</h2> <p>Were you aware that many popular retailers have specific days of the week where they do all of their internal store markdowns? Shop right afterward, and you'll have first dibs on new clearance items, no coupon required. For example, save money on clearance clothing when they actually have your size or color of choice in-stock. Here are a few markdown days to keep in mind so you can shop and save accordingly:</p> <ul> <li>Kohl's: I had an employee tell me to shop on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. She said those are the two days when you'll find the freshest markdowns.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Macy's: I was told by an anonymous employee that they start their markdowns on Sundays and wrap things up by Tuesday morning. Shop on Tuesday afternoon and get first dibs on new markdowns.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Old Navy: The day to shop at Old Navy is Wednesday. Try it and you'll often find the clearance section stocked with new clothing as well as clearance stuff that has been marked down even further.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ross Dress for Less: If you're a big Ross shopper like myself, you'll want to check out their inventory starting on a Monday. I was told by an employee, who heads up her store's clearance department, that Monday is the only day they do their markdowns.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>JCPenney: If you can shop at JCPenney on the first and third Friday of every month, you'll find a plethora of new clearance deals to pick from.</li> </ul> <h2>2. Always Use a Cash Back Site</h2> <p>If you're shopping online and not doing it through a reputable&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">cash back website</a>, you're clearly leaving money on the table. In recent years, cash back sites have had the reputation of being more hassle than they're worth. After all, who has time to jump through a bunch of hoops to save a measly 50 cents? Those days are officially gone. Popular sites like Ebates, TopCashback, and BeFrugal have made it incredibly easy to shop online and get significant money back on your purchases by utilizing mobile apps and browser add-ons or extensions.</p> <p>Also, the amount of money you get back has risen as well. A perfect example is TopCashback.com as they give back all of the commissions they receive from retailers to their users. So instead of splitting the 8% with their users, they're giving it all to them &mdash; and instead are making their money via advertising and charging retailers for premium placement on their website. Because of this generous business model, the cash back rates are definitely high enough to make it worth your while.</p> <h2>3. Subscribe and Save Programs</h2> <p>Subscribe and save programs are an oft forgotten way to save money on household items that you'll need on a recurring basis. No coupon clipping required. Think things like diapers, laundry detergent, dog food, paper products, and trash bags, to name a few. The two leading players are Amazon and Target and the savings their programs provide is substantial. Their pricing often beats that of warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's Club. Perhaps the best feature is they both come with free delivery, which means no more roller carts full of dog food and toilet paper to try and squeeze into the minivan.</p> <h2>4. Wal-Mart Savings Catcher App</h2> <p>If the idea of clipping coupons for your next trip to Wal-Mart gives you the cold sweats, their <a href="http://savingscatcher.walmart.com/" target="_blank">Savings&nbsp;Catcher App</a> is definitely for you. All the app requires you to do is scan your Wal-Mart store receipt after each visit. No scissors required. Wal-Mart will then scour the prices and ads from local competitors and credit your account if they find a lower price on something you purchased. Think of it like an easy way to guarantee you get the lowest price in town on everything you buy.</p> <p>I've been using the app for close to a year and my balance is currently at $42.92. That's a pretty good return on probably 15 minutes of my time. Then when you want to cash out, you can either get a Wal-Mart gift card or redeem via Bluebird by American Express.</p> <h2>5. The Ibotta App</h2> <p>The popular <a href="http://ibotta.com/r/jcsgjbv" target="_blank">Ibotta's</a> tagline, &quot;Better Than Coupons,&quot; pretty much sums it up. Instead of clipping coupons, you redeem rebates on hundreds of grocery store items, most of which you'll be buying anyway, and get money back.</p> <p>What makes the app stand out from the competition are the rebates available for generic items bought at <em>any</em> store. Buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk from the local corner store, and you can redeem a rebate on each. Then team up with friends and family to start earning cool $5 teamwork bonuses every month and your account balance will really grow. Once your account reaches $20, you can cash out via PayPal, Venmo, or a slew of gift cards from popular retailers.</p> <h2>6. Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs</h2> <p>While loyalty programs often get a bad reputation as nothing more than a way for retailers to push advertising on you, they actually serve as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-store-loyalty-programs-that-are-worth-it">great way to save</a> if you do it right. The key is to only join the programs that'll give you rewards on purchases you'd be making anyway. Here are a few awesome free programs that jump to mind.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.cvs.com/extracare/landing.jsp">CVS ExtraCare</a>: You earn a flat 2% back in ExtraBucks from almost all your purchases. (Excludes alcohol, lottery, gift cards, postage stamps, fishing licenses, and the like.) In addition, once you fill 10 prescriptions you get $5 back in ExtraBucks.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="https://www.walgreens.com/balancerewards/balance-rewards.jsp">Walgreens Balance Rewards</a>: Earn 10 points for every dollar spent. Then once you reach 5,000, points you get a free $5 reward.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.homedepot.com/c/pro_xtra">HomeDepot Pro Xtra</a>: Home Depot's loyalty program is a no-brainer if you buy in large quantities. After joining, you start with $20 of your first $200+ purchase. Then you get access to additional savings after that, like 10% off your $2,000+ paint order.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/RewardPoints.page">Safeway RewardPoints</a>: Along with specific in-store reward deals, Safeway's program allows you to save significant money on your gasoline bill every year. When you spend up to $100 at Safeway, you get a $.10/gallon discount on Safeway gas. Spend $200, and they double it to $. 20 cents less per gallon.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-store-credit-card-target-redcard">Target REDcard</a>: The Target card works a little different from most as it connects to your checking account and works as a debit card. The strong benefits of 5% off every order, free shipping from Target.com, and 30 extra return days makes it a great option for loyal Target shoppers.</li> </ul> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-highly-effective-ways-to-save-without-clipping-a-coupon">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-6"> <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-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</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/6-smart-ways-to-save-money-this-year-without-clipping-a-coupon">6 Smart Ways to Save Money This Year (Without Clipping a Coupon)</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/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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-more-apps-that-pay-you-to-shop">6 More Apps That Pay You to Shop</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/31-foolproof-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill">31 Foolproof Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping apps cash back coupons insider secrets loyalty programs markdowns sales saving money stores Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:30:11 +0000 Kyle James 1791538 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 More Apps That Pay You to Shop http://www.wisebread.com/6-more-apps-that-pay-you-to-shop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-more-apps-that-pay-you-to-shop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/19250271.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not into <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-best-deals-coupons-sites">cutting coupons</a>? With the help of technology, you no longer have to spend hours looking over the Sunday paper and trying to creatively get around print limits. Several apps make saving money on groceries much simpler and all at your fingertips.</p> <p>These six apps will help you save money on your grocery bill, help you find the best money on certain items, and even earn you cash back</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop?ref=seealso">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></p> <h2>1. Your Favorite Store's App</h2> <p>Depending on what store you shop at, there is probably an app for it. I live in Southern California and shop frequently at Vons. All I did was attach my Vons loyalty card to the app, and I automatically had over 100 coupons available to use. Not only do they offer store coupons, like $5 off $20, but they also offer the manufacturer's coupons that are found in the Sunday newspaper.</p> <p>My Vons app also gives me coupons based off what I buy. So if I buy organic chicken one week, then it might have an organic chicken coupon on the app the next week. Also, since my Vons has a Starbucks, I receive special coupons and free drinks through the app, too.</p> <p>Whole Foods is another store that has coupons on its app. Usually, Whole Foods is on the expensive side. However, if I am in the area and there is a good price on a certain product, it is easy to just run in for one or two discounted groceries.</p> <h2>2. Flipp</h2> <p><a href="https://flipp.com/">Flipp</a> matches local circular deals with coupons, allowing consumers to see the best price matches for their area. You can also connect your loyalty card numbers with the app, so that your personalized store coupons will sync with the deals. Since you have all of the current circulars in one spot, you can easily price match our favorite deals at a store that price matches.</p> <p>For example, if your local Wal-Mart will price match with online circulars, then you can simply show them this app, rather than keeping track of several different papers. Some stores will require the physical ad for price matching purposes, so know your store's policy before you shop.</p> <h2>3. Checkout 51</h2> <p><a href="https://www.checkout51.com/">Checkout 51</a> is very similar to<a href="https://ibotta.com/r/jcsgjbv">Ibotta</a>. All you have to do is buy one of the special offers (right now any brand of milk will earn you $.50 and tomatoes will earn $.25), scan the product bar code, and upload the receipt. It is very simple and quick to use. I like that all of the offers are right on the front screen, and you do not need to shop at a certain store. This means that if you find a gallon of milk at the .99 Cent Store, you can redeem it, whereas Ibotta does not offer that store for cash back.</p> <p>The Ibotta app still offers more cash back offers, but you don't have to pick one or the other. You can use both to get the most cash back possible. For example, if there is a $1.00 cash back offer for Enjoy Life cookies on Ibotta and Checkout 51, you can get $2 back from scanning your bar code and receipt on both apps. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year?ref=seealso">The Best Cash Back Sites to Earn Thousands Per Year</a>)</p> <h2>4. BerryCart</h2> <p><a href="http://www.berrycart.com/">BerryCart</a> is another cash back offer app that features healthy foods offers. This app pairs well with the Whole Foods app, since many of the deals will overlap, allowing you to get organic and non-GMO groceries for free or very little.</p> <h2>5. RedLaser</h2> <p>Not sure if you are getting the best deal on an item? Simply open up your<a href="http://redlaser.com/application/">RedLaser</a> app and scan the bar code. Not only will RedLaser show you which online stores have a better price on an item, but it also uses GPS to show you the price of that item at stores close to you. For example, if you wanted a certain book and went into Barnes and Noble to buy it, you could scan the bar code and find that the Target next door has the same exact book for $2 cheaper.</p> <h2>6. Shrink</h2> <p><a href="http://www.shrinktheapp.com/">Shrink</a> is a fun app to use. You can earn points, as well as cash back. You can earn points for sharing an item on Facebook, referring friends, and doing other small tasks. These points can then be redeemed for coupons and free grocery products. When you buy certain items, you can then earn cash back for that product. The only drawback is that Shrink features a lot of harder to find, specialty health food items. You might be able to find the products at your local Whole Foods. For example, I was interested in trying a new product called Mother-in-law's Kimchee, but the nearest location I could find it at was a specialty store 150 miles away.</p> <p>To save even more money on your groceries and earn more cash back, look up price matches before you go. Simply Google &quot;(store name) + price match + (current week or month).&quot; Many websites will easily lay out the best deals for certain stores, as well as which app cash back rebates are available.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite app to use at the grocery store?</em></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/6-more-apps-that-pay-you-to-shop">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-7"> <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-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016">The 8 Shopping Apps That&#039;ll Actually Save You Money in 2016</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-find-the-best-back-to-school-sales">How to Find the Best Back to School Sales</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/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">30+ Cash Back Sites to Earn You Thousands Per Year</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-smart-ways-to-save-money-this-year-without-clipping-a-coupon">6 Smart Ways to Save Money This Year (Without Clipping a Coupon)</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/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">7 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping apps berrycart cash back checkout 51 coupons deals groceries ibotta price matching Mon, 18 Jul 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1753205 at http://www.wisebread.com The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_shopping_71503441.jpg" alt="Woman making shopping mistakes keeping her from a great deal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In today's digital retail world, there are plenty of clever ways to save money while shopping, including traditional coupons, price protection policies, or cash back apps. But unfortunately, many shoppers still make some big mistakes along the way &mdash; mistakes that result in them paying way more than they should, either online or in-store. Here are some of the most common mistakes, and how to avoid them in the future.</p> <h2>1. Failing to Compare Prices</h2> <p>If you're blindly making purchases without investigating price, you're clearly spending more than you should. With the advent of smart shopping apps like&nbsp;<a href="http://shopsavvy.com/">ShopSavvy</a> and <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/quick-scan-barcode-scanner/id446067710" target="_blank">Quick Scan</a>, there's no reason not to compare prices on significant purchases. These apps work by simply scanning the item's bar code, and within seconds, you'll know if the product is sold cheaper down the street or online. Get in the habit of using one of these apps regularly and you'll never overpay again.</p> <h2>2. Never Considering Price-Protection Policies</h2> <p>While Amazon recently axed their seven-day price protection policy, many popular retailers still offer it. This is important to know, as retailers are always trying to anticipate demand and thus are constantly changing their prices, especially online. Take advantage of the following retailers' price-protection policies.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Best Buy (15 days):</strong> For an in-store purchase, simply return with your receipt and head straight to customer service. For an online purchase, call them at 1-888-BESTBUY to request your price adjustment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Costco (30 days):</strong> Hang onto your receipt and if you notice a lower price within 30 days, simply visit the customer relations desk and receive the difference. If for some reason you lose your receipt, you can always return the item (no receipt required) and rebuy at the lower price.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Dick's Sporting Goods (14 days):</strong> For in-store purchases, you must return to the store of original purchase, with receipt, to get your price adjustment. For online purchases, call them at 1-877-846-9997 to request a price adjustment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Home Depot (14 days):</strong> Bring the item and receipt back to the store within 14 days if the price has been lowered. For online purchases, you can call customer service at 1-800-430-3376.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Kohl's (14 days):</strong> You'll need the original receipt to get a Kohl's price adjustment within 14 days or purchase. Items that don't qualify include clearance, BOGO, and Kohl's Cares merchandise.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Macy's (14 days):</strong> Simply bring back your receipt within 14 days for in-store purchases. For online orders, <a href="https://www.customerservice-macys.com/app/help/price_adjust#formstart">use this form</a> to get your price adjustment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Staples (14 days):</strong> Take your original receipt back to Staples within 14 days and get the lower price. For an online purchase, call them at 1-800-333-3330 to get your price adjustment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Target (7 days):</strong> Bring your receipt in, within seven days, if the item you bought goes down in price. Clearance items are not eligible for price protection. Also, keep an eye out on competitor's pricing as Target will also price match the following retailers within seven days of your purchase: Amazon, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, ToysRUs.com, and BabiesRUs.com.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Wal-Mart (7 days):</strong> Wal-Mart will refund the difference if the price drops within seven days of your purchase. Exclusions include clearance, special buys, and value of the day products.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Buying the Wrong Items in Bulk</h2> <p>When it comes to buying items in bulk from warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam's, some items don't make the grade and should stay out of your shopping cart completely. Here are some to be aware of.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Brown rice:</strong> Due to the oil content in brown rice, it only lasts for three to six months on average, compared to an indefinite shelf life for white rice. Only buy what you can consume in a few months.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Condiments:</strong> Unless you eat hot dogs and hamburgers on a daily basis, you'll hardly ever use up all of the ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise before they go bad.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Cooking oils:</strong> They just don't have a very long shelf life, so only buy if you know you'll use them before their expiration date.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Nuts:</strong> Because they are loaded with oil, they tend to go rancid fairly quickly. Even when stored in an ideal temperature and humidity, they only last a couple of months.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Bleach:</strong> This one was a surprise to learn. Apparently bleach is only usable for three to six months; after that it starts to lose its effectiveness.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Baking powder:</strong> A big box of baking powder is often a bad buy, as you typically don't need much, and it only lasts for six to 12 months, depending on how you store it.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Beer:</strong> Many shoppers will stock up on beer for an upcoming party and overbuy, leaving them with a lot leftover. If you're not a beer drinker, be warned that most beers only have a shelf life of three to five months.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Assuming the Final Price Is What You Have to Pay</h2> <p>If you assume the price on the tag is what you're stuck paying, you're clearly doing it all wrong. You've failed to consider money-saving tools like coupons, cash back, and the idea of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-retailers-where-you-can-negotiate-a-lower-price">negotiating a lower price</a>. Here is how to take advantage of each:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Coupons:</strong> When shopping in-store, arm your smartphone with the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.couponsherpa.com/mobile-coupons/">CouponSherpa</a> and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.retailmenot.com/mobile/">RetailMeNot</a> apps. The combination of both will provide you with a plethora of coupons to thousands of stores which the cashier can simply scan when you're checking out.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Cash back:</strong> Use free apps like&nbsp;<a href="https://ibotta.com/r/jcsgjbv">Ibotta</a> and&nbsp;<a href="https://checkout51.com/">Checkout51</a> gather rebates at the grocery store on items you'll be buying anyway. You will be amazed how quickly your cash back rebates add up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">Earn Thousands Per Year with These Cash Back Sites</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Negotiate:</strong> Always look for damaged packaging, floor models, and imperfect items and negotiate a deal. Often times they will already be marked down, but managers want them out of the store quickly. To accomplish this, they will often sweeten the deal for you by 10% &mdash; 20% if you politely ask.</li> </ul> <h2>5. Always Buying Brand New</h2> <p>If you have the mindset that &quot;new is always better,&quot; you're making a big shopping blunder. If you can&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-should-always-buy-used">consider buying used</a> when making big purchases like a new car, to small purchases like textbooks, furniture, tools, and exercise equipment, you'll save significant money. After all, it makes smart financial sense to let someone else take the depreciation hit. While Craigslist is the obvious place to start your search, don't forget about&nbsp;<a href="http://gsalr.com/">GSALR.com</a> which helps you find garage sales in your local area. The site even offers a Google map to each garage sale and allows you to filter your search by specific keywords like &quot;furniture,&quot; &quot;baby clothes,&quot; or &quot;golf clubs.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Stocking Up Because It's a &quot;Deal&quot;</h2> <p>Do you ever fight the temptation to stock up when you find a good deal, even if in the back of your mind you know you don't need more than one? It's an easy trap to fall into and it often leads to overspending. An easy way to remedy this problem is to stick to your shopping list, and budget, and know that buying excess &quot;deals&quot; often leads to excess waste.</p> <p><em>What shopping mistakes have led you to overspend in the past?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">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-8"> <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-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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/31-foolproof-ways-to-lower-your-grocery-bill">31 Foolproof Ways to Lower Your Grocery Bill</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-highly-effective-ways-to-save-without-clipping-a-coupon">6 Highly Effective Ways to Save Without Clipping a Coupon</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/5-times-coupons-trick-you-into-spending-more-money">5 Times Coupons Trick You Into Spending More Money</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/the-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016">The 8 Shopping Apps That&#039;ll Actually Save You Money in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping cash back coupons deals discounts negotiation price comparisons price protection sales saving money Tue, 28 Jun 2016 10:00:09 +0000 Kyle James 1738706 at http://www.wisebread.com