Best Ways to Obtain Payday Loans

Personal loans can be started at any point in time, by selecting one of the vendors that can offer you a good rate of interest. You can apply with an application form and simple formalities for the submission of the address and your Id proofs.  These documents can be submitted securely online through websites and can be accepted by vendors on time.  So, you can start with the application ASAP, and you can check the status online through their websites as well.  It will help you in letting you know where your application has reached now.

The interest rates on the payday loans Fresno Ca can vary from bank to bank, and you will have access to them very quickly. Their interest rates can be fixed or can be on a variable model.  They can range from 5.49% – 14.24% APR (with Autopay) and 4.990% – 11.090% APR.

Let’s have a look on some of the advantages of Payday loans:

  1. A Boon for Tenants and non-homeowners: Tenants and renters do not have to think that they can’t take a loan as they do not have real estate collateral.  There are many unsecured lenders that can help them in getting it done easily.
  2. Increasing trend: The trend for the unsecured personal loans in the Fresno Ca and all across the country is increasing with every day.  Borrowers have accepted these types of loans.  They are for the person who is earning income but may need access to quick funds without having any collateral in their name.  Undoubtedly, they are a big escape in difficult times.
  3. Application of Interest: The interest rate on any loan is typically not applicable if you don’t use the funds within a stated period of time, and quickly pay off the loan.

The repayment period can range from weeks to months to even years, based upon your income level, credit score, the lender’s policy and the terms and conditions.  Credit cards can also be a kind of payday loans Fresno Ca.  So, try to get the duration of the repayment as per your suitability, don’t make it too short or long, and just try to justify and meet it on time so that you will be eligible for the another loan.  Once you think of using payday loans Fresno Ca or any kind of loans, do take care of every aspect of the same and the company too, through which you are withdrawing the funds, and then go forward with the application so that you will have the best service with a fast processing time.

So, in any case shop around for loans that you are eligible for to fulfill your daily means and secure your future longer term, but before taking the Payday loan, it is advisable to take a comparison quote from all possible Payday loan companies!

What to Consider When You’re Financing a Purchase

Consumers have a lot of power today. The Internet has enabled us to review providers and products, make recommendations and research prices before buying. There are also more ways to pay for purchases using credit.

All this gives you more control and purchasing power. However, without careful consideration financing, a purchase can be costly and negatively impact your credit score. If you plan to finance a major purchase instead of using cash here are some things to consider before signing on the dotted line.

Types of Financing Available

There are more financial tools today than ever before. That means there are a lot more options to consider. Deciding which type of financing to use is the first and most important decision you’ll make.

Retailer Financing

Some retailers provide direct financing to customers, but others may offer it through a third party. For example, Crest Financial is an alternative that offers in-home layaways. Unlike traditional layaway offers, the program allows customers to take their purchase home while paying for them.

business credit cardCredit Cards

One of the most common financing options is using a credit card. However, because of the interest rates (see below) credit cards may not be the most affordable option. They also tend to have low credit limits, which could make it impossible to finance an entire purchase for a high price item.

Short Term Loans

A short term personal loan is one way of getting a lump sum of cash when you’re in a jam and need to make an essential purchase. They can be tricky and expensive if you don’t follow the terms precisely. That’s why they usually aren’t the first choice for most people and should only be used for necessities.

Interest Rates

One of the most important considerations of any financing option is the interest rate. This is the fee that’s paid to the lender for the use of a credit or a loan.

Interest rates vary significantly based on the type of credit that’s being used. Your credit score will also be a determining factor in the interest rate. The higher your credit score is the lower the interest rate will be.

A no interest introductory offer can help keep the total purchase price low, but buyers have to be aware of the terms. Often the no-interest period is short and may be revoked if you make a late payment. If the purchase isn’t paid off at the end of the introductory no interest period the rate could be extremely high. Before taking a no interest offer, consider whether you will be able to pay the purchase off before interest kicks in.

Term Length

Term length refers to how long or how many payments need to be made. If you opt to use a loan there will be a definite term length that specifies when the loan needs to be paid off. Options like credit cards and retailer financing may be more open-ended.

Monthly Payments

Virtually all financing options will specify minimum monthly payments that have to be made. The payment will include interest and principle (funds that go towards paying off the purchase price). One thing to look out for on a loan is a prepayment penalty fee. These may be applied if you pay off the loan early.

Lender Credibility

Last but not least, you should carefully consider the lender’s credibility. Short term loans in particular have a reputation of less than scrupulous lenders taking advantage of borrowers. Another reason to examine the lender’s credentials is to determine how sound and secure the financing will be.

Buyers can check out a lender’s credentials and credibility at the Better Business Bureau. It’s also a good idea to read customer reviews to get a better idea of what it’s like to work with a lender.


Understand Credit Repair So You Won’t Be Cheated

credit card debtThere are many credit repair companions today claiming eternal protection from bankruptcies, judgments, liens, and bad loans from your credit file. They even assert the dubious erasure of bad credit from one’s finances. But don’t you be fooled by these claims! More often than not, they are mere sickly sweet promises that ensnare the unknowing naive clients in traps of money scams.

To avoid the trouble of falling victim to abusive and illegitimate credit repair companies, know the semantics and pragmatics of credit repair systems. You certainly do not want to be the one to go home unhappily empty-handed, indeed.

Credit repair organizations provide solutions to remove negative information from your credit report. This is the opposite to the function of credit counselors who guide clients in improvement of their credit reports and scores through better financial management.

Basically, credit repair organizations offer three steps in their credit repair services.

1) These companies will ask you to forward them copies of your credit reports which you must obtain directly from credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

2) Then, credit repair organizations will recommend which items on your credit report you should dispute on.

3) They will contact the credit reporting agencies to challenge the questionable items on your credit reports after discussion with clients.

However, all of us must see this glaringly simple truth in personal finances: it is not legitimate and illegal all the more to remove accurate negative information from a credit report. The precise reason for this dilemma is that credit reporting agencies are obligated under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information, usually within the span of a month. There is even no requirement at all to take out and erase accurate information unless it is more than seven years old (or bankruptcies that are over ten years old).

When des Credit Repair Actually Work?

Here are the following situations where credit repair companies help you with your credit problems:

  1. If you have legitimate errors on your credit report: Legitimate errors on credit reports range from errors in reporting from lenders to simple errors in your personal information. a credit repair company can correct those errors for you.

  2. If you have errors that can’t be verified: A loophole in credit reporting that credit repair services should exploit is the verifiability of details. Should any negative item appear from a lender who was bought or went out of business, they are required to remove it from your credit report.

  3. If your lenders are willing to work with credit repair agencies: Only when lenders are willing to cooperate and listen are credit repair services allowed to raise your score. 

Don’t judge the book by its cover. Everyone should make this their motto to be able to play safely in the game of life. This is not a matter of trust and distrust, but understanding the situation so you won’t be manipulated against the rules.

For more expert advice on credit repair, visit today.

How To Pay Your Credit Card Off Faster

debtIf you are paying off your credit cards, you’re already on your way to less worry and less stress. However, I know everyone would love it if they could find a way to pay off their cards just a little bit faster. Let’s face it: once the cards are gone, you will have more money to enjoy every month. However, it’s not always easy when there are tons of unexpected expenses in life that we all have to deal with. Luckily, there are many things you can do to make paying off your cards quicker. Check them out below.

1. Go Ahead. Make The Call.

You know that calling your credit card company can lower your interest rate and by extension, make those payments go faster. However, very few people actually sit down and take the time to actually do so. It only takes a minute, so make the call today. I think you’ll be surprised at how easy it actually is. All you have to do is call and ask what they can do to help lower your interest rates. It helps if you’ve always paid your bill on time. Sometimes you can also let them know that you’ve gotten several 0% offers from other companies to help sweeten the deal.

2. Enroll In Automatic Bill Pay

Many of us wait to pay for our credit cards until the end of the month, knowing that it can always roll over if we can’t pay it off in full. This makes us view our cards as a safety net or a loan, which is dangerous considering how high interest rates usually are on cards. Instead, pay your cards right after you pay your mortgage, then lighten up on the entertainment or eating out to compensate during the rest of the month.

3. Pledge To Live With Less

Many of us fall into the credit card trap by purchasing things that we simply can’t afford. Take a look around your house. Sell the excess, stick to a budget, and pay extra on your cards each month. It sounds like a lot, but it’s really quite simple with a little bit of motivation and encouragement from a friend or significant other.

4. Start An Emergency Fund

Unexpected expenses set the average American back almost $2,000 every year. So, I would recommend slowly building an emergency fund as you pay the minimum balance on your cards. That way, you can use your emergency funds instead of your cards if your car breaks down or you need to replace the water heater in your home. Using cash for these items keeps you from staying in the vicious cycle of credit card debt. It might slow down paying your cards off at first, but it will be well worth it in the end.

5. Add $5 More

Many of you will probably read this and think that you can’t even add one extra dollar to your credit card minimum payments. However, anything above the minimum will help you to pay it off quicker. Try to find $5 in your budget. You can skip fast food, that Starbucks coffee, or even buy 6 eggs instead of 12 at the store every week. All of these are quick ways to find $5 extra dollars each month. Take that amount and add it to your minimum payment. You’ll save yourself a month or two in payments at the end.

Who else knows of other great ways to pay off credit card debt faster? I paid off almost $6,000 worth of credit card debt myself. It took 18 months, and it was grueling, but I’m so happy to have that weight off my shoulders. I know you will feel the same way when you take the steps listed above to finally knock out your debt once and for all.

photo by vectorportal

Avoid the Dangers of Using a Credit Card this Holiday Season

christmas debtMany people fall victim to holiday credit card pitfalls every year due to a lack of knowledge about credit, in addition to failure to adequately prepare for holiday shopping using a credit card.

Should you open a retailer branded credit card?

One of the major pitfalls of holiday credit card usage is that consumers often get convinced by retailers to open a department store branded credit card in order to realize about 10 to 15% savings on purchases at those retailers. While these savings may be tempting, most people don’t realize that the credit cards offered by these retailers generally feature a very high interest rate. If you, as a consumer, plan to carry a balance on this new credit card at all, then you will lose the amount of money that you originally saved by opening the card, and more. In addition to these high interest rates, opening new lines of credit too often in a small period of time has the potential to damage your credit score. As a rule of thumb, respectfully decline when retailers ask you if you want to open a new credit card with them to receive a discount on your purchases.

Set yourself a holiday shopping credit limit

Consumers can avoid putting too many gifts on credit simply by setting themselves their own personal limit, and keeping track of what they buy. For example, a consumer could set a personal limit of $500 to spend on credit during this holiday season, and when they reach that limit, they have to stop putting purchases on their credit card and instead start paying in cash. While its always tempting to spend a bunch of money to buy your friends and loved ones gifts, they will understand if you simply cannot afford to spend outside of your means. If you’re looking for a good way to monitor your spend, many credit card companies offer free mobile apps that allow you set up alerts that notify you when you’ve reached a certain spend.

How can using a credit card for your holiday shopping benefit you?

Using a credit card for your holiday shopping, however, can definitely benefit cardholders because of the vast amount of rewards that can be gained by putting purchases on your credit card. You should compare rewards credit cards in order to maximize the rewards you will receive based on your spending habits. As long as you know you can afford to pay off your balance without incurring large interest fees, you should put your holiday purchases on your credit card because most credit cards offer some sort of reward for each dollar spent.

photo by paparutzi

How I Paid off $6,000 In Credit Card Debt

credit card debtI didn’t have credit card debt for long. I didn’t suffer for decades. I never had creditors calling me, and I wasn’t in bad enough shape to get turned down for a loan. Yet, I still felt the weight of it every day. That’s the reality of credit card debt. Whether it’s $500 or $50,000, it’s still a nagging feeling, something extra on your to do list, and something that’s quite difficult to improve if you’re not willing to change habits and get in the right mindset.

How It Started

I got my very first credit card at age 22 for one purpose and one purpose only: to buy my husband (then fiance) his wedding ring. I didn’t have the money to buy something so expensive at the time, so I wanted to put it on a zero percent card and pay it over time. Of course, you probably know how it goes. Something that started out innocently enough grew into putting gas on it here or there and then we used it to fund a little bit of our honeymoon, etc. I’m not proud of how it started, but I do like to be honest about it.

When It Got Worse

We were managing our debt well enough and always paid above the minimum. I suppose I always felt that I was trying to get it back to zero, but I never sat down to figure out how much it would take. We both had steady jobs and were never late on a payment. Then, my husband decided to apply to medical school. We spent hundreds in application fees, and then when he got into a Caribbean school, we lost his income.

The Peak

As someone who is a personal finance blogger now, I shake my head knowing exactly what we did wrong. We didn’t track anything we were spending, which is just absolutely amazing to me now, as someone who plugs everything we spend into an excel spread sheet throughout the month. But that’s now, and we’re talking about then. We had good jobs and a comfortable life, but we didn’t have enough in savings, and we certainly didn’t have enough for international plane tickets to send the hubs to school. At the peak, we both maxed out a $3,000 card each.

Chipping Away At It

Before that $6,000 peak, we were actually trying to pay it down. Like I said, I was always aware of our debt, and I often felt the weight of it. I always paid above the minimum, and even managed to knock out a credit card for a TV we owned prior to my husband going back to school. (Yes, I know. Credit card for a tv = bad. My how things have changed.)

18 Months of Work

It wasn’t until 18 months ago that I laser focused my efforts on this challenge. For 18 months straight, I focused heavily on paying it off. I wanted it gone. I wanted it out of my life. We were accruing student debt due to my husband’s medical school tuition, and I didn’t want the credit card debt to get out of hand too. I started working as a freelance writer on the side. It was slow at first, but a year later, I am able to add a considerable amount of extra money to our monthly income. I have used this extra income every month to slowly pay off the debt.


I was hoping for victory by the end of this year, but it came sooner in the form of a promotion at work. That first paycheck was all I needed to finish off the credit card debt once and for all. I’m actually very proud of myself. While my husband certainly contributed to these efforts by not spending needlessly and not complaining about modest meals, I feel as though this is a personal victory too because it showed me how much can be accomplished with good old fashioned hard work. We now have $500 extra dollars a month (an amount I had been paying on our credit card debt for almost 10 months). It’s time to go to the next goal, which is paying down our student loan interest and maybe saving for a vacation. We’re so excited, relieved, and proud to be here saying we’re credit card debt free. If we can do it, we know anyone else can.

Who else is working on their goal of being debt free?

photo by vectorportal

Why You Should Be Debt-Free on Your Car

debt free on your carCar loans have become so common that most of us seldom think of buying a car without one. But you should think about doing just that, and there are a number of strong reasons you should.

Other Big Debts are only getting bigger

A house is an expensive proposition these days; so is a college education. Most people today are using debt to pay for the majority of these purchases, and that ’s forcing overall debt levels to get steadily higher.

As the bigger debts get even bigger, one of the best ways to manage debt overall is to be debt free on everything else. That means no credit card debt, no secured debt (furniture loans, etc) and no car loans!

We may not be able to completely eliminate mortgages and student loans from our lives, but that makes getting rid of the rest even more important.

Cash flow drain

All loans are not created equal, not when it comes to monthly payments. A typical monthly credit card payment will be about two percent of the outstanding loan balance. A student loan payment will be in the ballpark of one percent of the loan balance. Monthly mortgage payments (on a 30 year loan) will be substantially less than one percent of the balance.

Car loans are a different story entirely. The monthly payment on a $15,000 car loan at five percent interest for a four year term will be $345 a month, or more than two percent of the loan balance. That ’s not bad, but it gets worse as time goes on.

When you’ ’ve paid your loan balance down to $10,000, your payment will still be $345 a month, or nearly 3.5% of the remaining balance. At $5,000 your payment will be equal to nearly seven percent of the balance.

That ’s good for paying the loan off quickly, but it ’s an outsized payment for a small loan balance, and a big cash flow drain on a relatively small debt. And it figures significantly in the next issue ……

You can lose your car for a very small loan balance

Let ’s stay with that $345 monthly payment for a bit. You’ ’ve paid the balance down to $5,000–which is good– —but you just lost your job and now you have no income. Even though you ’’ve paid the loan down by two-thirds, the monthly payment isn’ ’t doable any more and the lender won’ ’t give you any credit for your good work to date if you can’ ’t make the payments going forward.

You know what happens when you can’ ’t make a car payment– —the lender takes back the car. A car repossession doesn’ ’t take nearly as long as losing a house in foreclosure. You can lose a car in a matter of weeks and there aren’ ’t many legal defenses for non-payment.

If the car is worth, say $12,000 at the time of repossession, you will have lost 100% of that value for inability to pay a $5,000 debt that you were well on your way to paying off while you were working. It ’s a lot to lose for a small loan balance.

Pay it off, and you don’t have to worry about any of that.

A car is too important to risk with a loan

Staying with the repossession idea, this is complicated by the fact that it ’s very difficult for most people to earn a living without a car. Some areas are well served by public transportation, but let ’s face it, most aren’ ’t. In the areas where most people live, no car equals no job.

For that reason you want to keep your car free of debt risk. You already have the break down/repair risk that ’s inherent in cars to begin with so you don’ ’t need to increase that risk with a loan.

Keep the car free and clear so that come what may, you ’’ll always be able to earn a living.

More people are working from home than ever

Few things in life are as absurd as the concept of making payments on a car that seldom leaves your driveway. If you work from home, this could be your situation.

Whether by telecommuting or running some sort of online business, more people are working from home now than ever and more are joining the ranks all the time. You may still need a car for other purposes, but if you don’ ’t have to worry about commuting to work you almost certainly don’ ’t need too much of a car, and certainly not one that ’s expensive enough to rate having a loan on.

Take advantage of your work status by getting rid of that expense.

Considering all of the above, if you ’’re planning to buy a new car, try to buy one that doesn’ ’t require a loan. That might mean buying a less expensive vehicle, or delaying the purchase until you can save up enough to pay cash for it.

If the car you own now has a loan on it, do what ever it takes to pay it off as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the faster you’ ’ll eliminate a big monthly payment, and guarantee that, come what may, you’ ’ll always have a car to get to work in.

photo by tworubies

Biblical View on Paying with Cash to Get Out of Debt

cash to get out of debtHow many times do you hear or read that Credit Card A pays X-percent on their rebate program, or Chevyotassan Motors is offering zero percent financing on their 2011 model Q cars? How about 90 days financing as good as cash?❠Or the favorite of all credit offers–buy now and pay NO interest until January 2013?

You can’t blame businesses for trying to grease the wheels of their sales by offering too-good-to-pass-up financing deals. And maybe these packages are even all that they say they are. Does that mean you should jump and buy if they are?

Not if you’re already in debt. In fact your plunge into debt may have started with just such an offer. You get into one easy payment planâ, which is followed by another and still more. Before too long you’re on a debt treadmill that you aren’t sure you can get off of.

Getting into debt is always easier than getting out of it. There are different ways to get out of debt once you have too much of it, but the foundation of it all is changing your financial behaviorâ”and learning to pay with cash. And by cash, I mean debit cards, checks, automatic debits and the Federal Reserve Notes in your wallet that most of us refer to as moneyâ.


Getting out of debt starts with not using credit anymore

Part of the problem with debt is that it’s cumulativeâ”if you’re adding new debt before you’ve paid off old debt, the pile is only getting bigger. The first, best way to get out of debt then is to stop taking on new debt, and the way to do that is to put away your credit cards, ignore the come-on loan offers and pay cash on the barrel.

Cash is the only way to guarantee that you’re living within your means. People get caught up in favorable terms, like low interest rates or zero interest rates or no payments for six monthsâ, ignoring the basic fact that even if you have no interest to pay, you still have a debt to be serviced. Worse, you’re still paying with money you don’t have.


Use of debt is a form of voluntary bondageâ”at first

The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.ââ”Proverbs 22:7

Slave is a heavy word, and in a world that’s been running on easy credit for several generations, it isn’t one we normally associate with borrowing. Yet if you’re in debt to anyone, you have entered into an arrangement that approaches slavery on some level. For example, you are legally bound to pay the loan according to the terms of the loan agreement, which is to say that you’ve given at least partial control of your incomeâ”and even you’re assetsâ”to the lender.

No matter what soft or emotionally comforting labels you may place on your debt, your freedom of action will be limited by the loan. If you have several loans, the servitude will be even greater. Bankruptcy and foreclosure occur when lenders have control over more of your resources than you do.

Even if your debt situation doesn’t require bankruptcy or foreclosure, it will still restrict your life. You may not be able to change jobs, do mission work or make a geographic move because of your debt obligations.

You’ll free yourself of those limits when you come to equate cash with freedom, and debt with bondage.


Debt says I can❠when reality screams I can’t!â

Credit has become something like a financial drive-through window; its purpose for existing is mostly to keep the economy running. Don’t have any money? No problemâ”drive up to the credit window, get a loan, then pick up you’re merchandise at the front desk.

We’re paying a steep price for that convenience. Credit gives us the option to buy what we know we can’t afford, and sooner or later you’ll use that option even when the little voice inside❠is telling you otherwise.

Even if you pay your credit card balances in full each month, you’re still living on a floatââ”paying this months bills with next months income. If next month has a major expense surprise, or if your income is disrupted, this month’s bills might not be paid next month, but carried into the following month where it becomes permanent debt. That can’t happen if you pay for this month’s expenses in cash. Everything you buy is paid for so there’s never any debt being carried forward.


Like anything else that isn’t good for us, debt is mostly a bad habit

One of the problems with debt is that today we have a benign view of it. It’s less of a thing or event than it is a lifestyle. You generally see people who are either debt adverse, and therefore debt free, or those who see debt as a convenient enabler to get them from where they are to where they want to be. For people in the latter category, credit becomes a habit, a way of doing business. What’s so bad about that?

And lead us not into temptationâ¦ââ”Matthew 6:13

Is it a sin borrow money? Probably not. But it’s pretty safe to say that it IS a temptationâ”one that draws us to spend money we don’t have, to buy things we often don’t need and to extend ourselves into bondage. How well are we able to resist temptation when we put ourselves so close to it?

If we can put some distance between ourselves and creditâ”maybe not to see it as a sin, but not to view it as holy eitherâ”we take ourselves out of harms way. Cash is the best way to do this.


The simplicity of cash to the rescue

You’ll enjoy the following benefits if you begin paying cash for all of your purchases:

  1. You’ll never spend more money than you actually have
  2. You’ll never get stuck paying last months bills this month
  3. You won’t live in fear that you might have charged too much
  4. Your debts will stop growing, and as you pay them, they’ll eventually disappear
  5. As your debts fall, you’ll have even more cash either to spend or to save
  6. If you choose to save your extra cash, your savings will eventually replace credit as your preferred source of extra money
  7. As your savings grow, you can pay cash even for major purchases, like repairs, furniture and even cars
  8. When every thing you own is owned free and clear, YOU’LL be free and clear!

So simple, yet so powerful. Pay cash from now on, pay your debts faithfully and even if you do nothing else, in a few years, you’ll be debt free.

Let Savings Fall Onto Your Lap

savingsI’ve always believed that as long as your vacation is ahead of you, summer is clearly not over. It’s not unusual for me to wait until the fall, September or even October to make my yearly escape from the everyday grind. After all, I live in New York, so jaunting off during the summer months simply to lie on a beach is no enticement to me; we are frankly surrounded by beaches.

In fact, many New Yorkers save their vacation time for the winter months; that’s about when we start to get homesick for our beach-lying days. As a massive money-saver, I really enjoy the fact that my off-season vacationing can lead to a lot of savings, but most of all I appreciate dealing with a lot less crowds! Does anyone feel like Disney?

Vacation when no else is

The Travel Industry Association estimates that 23% of people report taking their vacation in the fall, which is a sharp drop from the 38% who reported a preference for vacationing during the summer months; fortunately, as the masses reduce, so do the prices. In resort areas known for their postcard-worthy beaches, the price drop is particularly noticeable. The Caribbean and Florida are two prime examples of this; hotel rates alone can see their rates drop almost 40% compared to peak season.

There are some places where tourism never seems to cease, big cities like New York and Chicago never seem to offer a prolonged period of off-season rates. But I live in New York and assume Chicago is pretty similar. Why would I want to go there?

Utilize credit cards to your advantage

I also fill out a lot of credit card applications throughout the year, simply to enhance my vacation savings when the time comes. Like many, I only associated the frequent flyer miles on my credit card with vacation savings, over the years I have expanded my repertoire, using different credit cards for everything from gas to hotel stays, each with their own built-in savings. Of course the flyer miles are probably still the best savings there is, but even with that, I no longer settle for just the typical 20,000 miles or so. Why would I when there are offers out there of up to 100,000 miles. They are not as easy to come by, but they do exist.

Do your research first

A lot of cards offer hotel programs:   these can lead to major savings, but it does take a little more work to do a proper comparison shopping on these cards. Often they will have a lot of blackout dates and capacity limitations. The ones that claim there are no blackout dates will instead have some strong capacity restrictions. Do your homework on these and you can save some serious cash. For local trips I, of course, have a gas card credit card that I use. Of course, with the high price of gasoline over the past several years, I often think it would be cheaper just to fly. Sometimes taking the scenic route can end up being the best part of your vacation. If it makes you feel any better, think of it this way:  using a gas card which earns money back means the more that you spend, the more you are actually saving. OK, so it’s a bit of a justification, but it is true nonetheless.

One other tip I learned the hard way: it you are going overseas on your vacation, make sure you use a card that at doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. Most do and you will end up paying more for every purchase that you make â“ a real vacation killer for me!

Keep Your Sanity, Use Cash

cash onlyCredit and debit cards carry with them a terrible temptation. There is no discomfort when you use them. Making a large purchase with cash requires you to literally surrender real money from your hand. The pain comes immediately, whereas a credit card carries with it an “I owe you” quality and a debit card doesn’t provide that proverbial sting, because the transaction is conducted electronically.


My experience

I suffered this problem when I first got a debit card. It seemed effortlessly to offer a cashier my card, as if someone else was paying for a book, movie, or food. I also got into a predicament when I began buying a stream of books through online sites such as Amazon. It wasn’t until later that I realized how much I had spent in such a limited period of time, because I was not very thorough with my checkbook.

Maintaining an accurate and updated checkbook is one solution to the problem, but I also found another viable method which hopefully you can use and integrate into your own methods.



First, write out your budget for the month. Now, separate them into two categories: One for purchases, such as rent, which remain constant month after month. The second category is for purchases which can vary, such as gasoline and entertainment, and change frequently.

Take the second list and determine what can be paid for with cash and how much you are able to afford to allocate towards the second category each month. The rule of thumb is to be more liberal than conservative on the estimate.

Have this amount withdrawn from your paycheck or bank account at the beginning of each month and place it into either a specifically marked envelope or in your wallet and wrap it with a rubber band.

Then, simply use cash for your purchases. When you fill up your car at the gas station, eat out, or buy a movie or a video game, use cash.

What this does is make it easy and simple for you to determine how much money you are able to spend per month. All you have to do is look inside of the envelope or your wallet. Whatever you have left is what you can spend.


Observing other people’s mistakes

Working at a sporting goods store, I witnessed hundreds of customers spend over $1000 in a single purchase. Every time they did, it was with a credit card. I sincerely believe if they had reached into their wallet and taken out the cash equivalent, they would have taken a long second look at the items were they on the verge of buying and discovered it wasn’t worth the cost to them.

In fact, customers who did pay in cash often reduced the number of items they bought when they realized they didn’t have the necessary amount to pay for it. Rarely did they resort to their card to cover the discrepancy. When people lack of actual money to buy something, it creates a psychologically reaction, which usually makes them hesitant enough to not go through with the purchase. It’s reality politely telling you to ease off on the spending.

And it’s better than watching a cashier swipe your credit card, only to inform you that it’s been denied because you’ve reached your spending limit. Unlike Congress, you can’t raise your credit card limit just because you’ve hit the ceiling.

Certain items, however, can only be bought on the internet, and if you use eBay frequently, it is required to use a credit card. In this case, set up a separate bank account and have a scheduled transfer at the beginning of every month from your primary checking account. If possible, use a certain credit card only for such purchases. As before, it is imperative that you do not initiate any other transfers. Self-control is paramount.

A separate bank account and cash on hand will give you greater flexibility while also maintaining a limit on spending.


Cash makes you think twice

In a digital age like the one we live in, when you use cash, you avoid making purchases you’ll later regret, and it will spare you from a lot of grief which plagues those addicted to card-swiping.

The tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin is a moral lesson on fiscal responsibility; the people of the town took an “I owe you” on his services, and then regretted their purchase and refused to pay for it. Didn’t quite work out the way they wanted.

Think of the stereotypical adult, who is commonly is depicted buried amid a mountain of monotonous receipts as they attempt to balance their checkbook and confirm the accuracy of every bank statement. It is a tedious and painstaking process which can be circumvented in many instances.

If you use cards less and cash more, you decrease the number of bank transactions, thereby making it less arduous to navigate when you’re inspecting it for any oddities. Additionally, it decreases the chances of identity theft and are easier to detect them they occur.

A lot of identity thieves rely on the proliferative use of credit and debit cards to hide their activities. Often, they will make small, discreet purchases, which will easily blend in with other similar transactions, to test their victims. If no alarms are raised, they will continue doing so until they make such a large purchase that their cover is blown. Prevention requires either a vigilant consumer or a wise consumer.

Ultimately, using cash is a way to prevent bad debt. When you pay with cash, you’re paying up front. There is no monthly payment, no fees, and no interest rate.

photo by seanmcmenemy