Saturday, April 19, 2008

Make Credit Card Companies Work for You!

Today I thought I'd share with you one of the many ways I am building my net worth - I make credit card companies work for me. No, I’m not an investor in credit cards companies or even own stock in credit card companies I make them work for me by using them to their full advantage.

I use a credit card for every purchase I make, buying a $2 half gallon of milk – goes on the credit card, buying a $2000 sofa – goes on the credit card. I even pay a lot of my bills like Cell Phone, Power, Water etc with my credit card. I do this because I’m going to have to pay for these items one way or another and using my credit card is as easy as using my debit card or a check since at the end of each month I pay my credit card balance in full.

There’s a couple of ways that I make the Credit Card Companies work for me:

1. 30 Day Interest Free Loan - Provided you pay your balance in full each month, credit card companies provide interest free loans for 30 days to their customers. Not too many other financial institutes offer interest free loans. By taking advantage of the interest free loan you make money by keeping your income and net worth earning interest for you. Plus if you purchase something and then return it never costs you a penny of interest.

2. Cash Back Rewards - Who doesn’t like getting something for doing something you already do? (Okay you English majors that was probably a really bad sentence but you know what I’m saying). I typically earn about $150 a year in cash rewards. No strings, no need to mail in rebates, no need to anything but sit back because on the anniversary of my card I automatically get credited the cash back. My personal preference of rewards is a cash back card because its much easier to redeem and its something I will always need.

Credit Card Companies work really cheap for me – with the interest and cash back I probably make between $200 and $250 a year from them, but its $200 or $250 that I didn’t have already and required no effort from me. I only have two credit cards, I use my main card for every purchase unless I’m in some place that doesn’t accept American Express then I use my visa that I’ve had since I turned 18 – I get no rewards from the Visa but I still get an interest free loan for the month.

I prefer the Amex Blue as my main card because there’s no annual fee and the reward is cash back. It might not be best for everyone out there and since there’s a ton of cards available there’s bound to be one that works for you. To help decide which card works best for you, credit has an interactive questionnaire that will lead to you several credit cards that might work for you.

I do want do say - don’t mistake my advice, I’m not advocating you go out and get 10 credit cards that each offer different rewards because 1 – your FICO score will decrease and 2 – you can’t maximize rewards because your spending is not concentrated. I’m also not advocating using a credit card if you wouldn’t pay them off in full each moth or if you would loose touch with the value of money and not use a credit card as if you were paying cash for it.

What I am advocating is if you can use a credit card responsibility then take advantage of what credit cards and help increase your net worth by making credit cards work for you.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Final Moving Costs

Alright - I think that most of the "damage" from moving has settled so I can total all of my costs. Before I moved I shared my budget with you all so here's the time to see how accurate my budget was. There most likely will be a few other odds and ends that I'll discover I need over the next two weekends when I finish unpacking but all the big costs are complete. I've also not included the restocking of my kitchen supplies since I'd made them dwindle before the move and the cost involved probably averages over the months.

So here's the total moving costs:
Moving Truck and Labor - $1,000 ($500 less than budgeted!)
Non refundable Apartment Deposits - $400 (per budget)
Refundable Apartment Deposits - $200 (per budget)
Cable/Internet Set Up Fees - $50 ($15 under budget)
Electricity Transfer Fees - $30 (per budget)
Lease Transfer Fees - $350 (per budget)
Gas Set Up Fees - $25 (per budget)

Misc. Allowance considting of: - (org $300 budget -- $7.01 over budget)
Mail Forwarding - $1.00
Spackle and Putty - $28.76
Dinning Out While Moving (includes thank you meals for helpers) - $189.21
Kitchen Liner and misc household goods - $23.26
New Floor Lamp - $64.87

For a total moving cost of $2,362.10. My budget for moving was $2,870 so all in all I'm under budget! Yay!

Even thought I'm under budget moving still costs a lot.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

FINALLY All Moved in so its time for --- "Weekend" Round Up on Wednesday

I'm officially in my new apartment and am finally back in the ATL. Yay! Over the last few days my family, friends and I made good progress unpacking and getting the place in order - almost all of the boxes are unpacked and its starting to feel like home. And on Monday I started my new "job" - same company completely different role and project so its like starting all over again.

Now that every thing's at least livable until I get motivated to finish unpacking I've started feeling guilty for neglecting my blog for the last few days so thanks to my new neighbor for letting me "borrow" their wi-fi, don't worry the cable guys coming tomorrow to set up our internet so I won't have to continue "borrowing", I was able to catch up on my blog reading.

Since today is the day after the big Tax Day - I hope everyone's filing went well - I'm very glad I filed mine several weeks ago so I didn't have to add any more stress to the moving time. Kevin @ No Debt Plan and I apparently share the same thoughts about taxes.

Thought I'd share the highlights from my blog reading:

I also liked Kevin over at No Debt Plan post that reminded us all that accumulating wealth shouldn't be your #1 end all goal in life.

Mom at Wide Open Wallet shared about how she and her husband got off on the right foot.

Ginger @ Girls Just Wanna have Funds questions why anyone would give up a 401k match -- I have to agree with her. I love my 401k match - its like a 3% salary raise, I can't understand why some of my co-workers turn that down.

Pinching Copper's Seb shared why he loves -- personally I'm a fan because you don't have to provide any of your account info, you manually upload so I feel like my security is more secure. Either way I highly recommend using some type of tool to track your monthly budget - otherwise how do you know your expenses and your savings.

JB @ Get Rich or Die Trying shared about his Pretty Princess Party --- okay don't worry about JB really it was about spending money to live and the Princess Party was for his Step Daughter. I'm glad he shared because I have some news to share about how I just spend money...I'm still trying to get over the sticker shock. I'll give you all the details tomorrow about this purchase.

Living Almost Large posted a very interesting post about Social Status and Dating. I have to say I'm really ton, I'm one of those double standard women I guess. I've always joked that I want to marry a man who wants to be a stay at home dad so I can continue my career with a single minded focus and have some one take care of the kids, the house, and all those little details but at the same time I think I might loose respect for a partner who's' not as career ambitious as I am no matter the job or the pay rate of his chosen job. Its definitly food for thought -- thanks Living Almost Large for keeping me up at night debating this in my mind!

And last but not least Johnathan at Master Your Card shared some Government Credit Card Bloopers -- this would have made a wonderful Monday's Money Funny.

Since I should have my internet connection set up tomorrow I plan to get back to my regular blog schedule. Until then I hope you enjoy some of the post from my friends over at PFBloggers.

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