Holiday shopping overloaded your credit cards? Worried about the finance charges youll soon start paying? Fortunately, you can use a bunch of different tactics to save money on credit cards. Some suggestions follow:
Leave Home without It
If youre like most people, you spend more money if you carry a credit card around. Some studies show that credit card holders spend 23 percent more on average even if they dont carry a balance on the credit cards. No investment pays an instantaneous 23 percent rate after taxes. Even business investments. Despite what one credit card issuer says, youre really better off if you leave home without it.
Cancel Unnecessary Credit Cards
If you dont carry credit card balances, cancel credit cards that charge an annual maintenance fee. Lighten your wallet by canceling all the cards you dont use, for that matter. Youll only spend more if you use them, anyway.
Ask Your Bank to Waive Its Annual Fee
Call your bank and explain that, because of the annual fee, you might cancel your credit card. Tell the bank you think it should waive its annual fee. Your current credit card issuer will probably gulp and then waive the fee. For a two-minute telephone call, youll be ahead by $20 or $30. (By the way, most credit card issuers dont waive the fee on a gold card.)
Consider an Affinity Card
If you travel on business a lot, you can easily run up $10,000 or more on a credit card as you pay for airline tickets, hotels, and rental cars. In this case, its well worth it to pay $50 for an affinity card. Once you have the card, charge all your personal and business purchases on it ().
Cancel Credit Insurance If You Have Any
Credit life insurance is usually a big waste of money. You only need credit life insurance if you know your estate will collect and you cant get a better kind of insurance.
Credit disability insurance is usually another big waste of money. But, as with credit life insurance, you may need this insurance if you require disability insurance and you cant get better insurance.
Cancel Credit Card Protection Insurance If You Have It
Credit card protection insurance is another waste of money. If some nefarious type steals your credit card and runs up huge charges, you are probably only liable for the first $50 or so as long as you immediately tell the credit card issuer that the credit card was stolen.
Never Make the Minimum Payment
Pay more than the minimum payment. Paying off high-interest-rate credit cards is one of the best investments you can make. (The others are typically investing in a profitable business and contributing money to a 401(k) plan in which the employer matches a portion of the contribution.) If you make minimum payments only, your credit card debt quickly balloons. Very quickly balloons, I should say. Soon you are paying massive monthly finance charges.
Get Rid of Your Gold Card
Youre paying for the privilege and prestige of that gold card. But you knew that, right? You can probably save yourself at least $40 or $50 just by having an old, boring, regular Visa or MasterCard.