Free Online Tools That Can Help Your Personal Finances

You’ve had enough. You’re officially tired of having what financial writer and expert Dave Ramsey calls “too much month at the end of the money.” You want (a lot) more discretionary income, as well as more money to put towards savings, investments, and other goals such as travel and debt repayment.

The problem? You don’t have enough as it is. Therefore, you don’t want to spend money you don’t have on fancy budgeting apps and software. Fortunately, the good news for you is that you have access to plenty of free online tools that will help you manage your finances. This blog post will discuss four of them.

  1. Mint – This particular budgeting tool allows you to link your own checking and savings accounts, credit cards, and debts such as student loans to Mint’s website. Mint.com updates your information automatically right when it shows up in your own account. Mint.com also allows you to track your retirement savings goals as well as create a debt repayment plan. The website features tools such as reports and graphs which let you see your unique situation in a visual format. All of these tools allow users to chart a course that will create their own version of financial freedom.
  2. Personal Capital – If you want to track both your savings and your financial investments, one option you have at your disposal is Personal Capital. The website features a video review and walkthrough, where you can watch their video to see what it would be like to use the tools on Personal Capital’s website. The website also has a written review report for people who prefer to learn through reading.Personal Capital’s financial dashboard gives you a valuable glimpse into your financial life. You can use this tool to track your progress towards financial goals such as student loan repayment, investments, and your child’s future tuition. This tool will not track your investments. You can also get investment advice if you want. If you choose to get investment advice from the folks at Personal Capital, you can do so for 1 percent of your investment portfolio. If you choose not to pay for investment advice from Personal Capital, every other part of the website is 100 percent free.
  3. BudgetPulse – Maybe you like the idea of using online budgeting tools like Mint, but you don’t want to give these websites your account IDs and passwords. If this describes you, consider BudgetPulse. BudgetPulse doesn’t require you to give them your account names and passwords. But they do track your spending and allow you to set goals such as a car title loans repayment schedule. You can even share your money goals with your loved ones. Not only will sharing your money goals keep you accountable, but your nearest and dearest can also contribute to your objectives through Amazon Payments or PayPal.
  4. Buxfer – The Buxfer tool allows you to watch your spending and keep an eye on your monthly bills. Buxfer’s main customers are 20-somethings who are just getting started with their career and other adult responsibilities. What sets Buxfer apart from the other free tools is that you can set projections for future earnings and use those to make financial plans. Another unique feature is that you can break down your biggest financial goals into short-term targets and work towards those on the way to accessing the larger plans. Lastly, you can use Buxfer to take care of expenses involving groups. Use the tool to split a bill up, figure out which person owes what amount, and make online payments.

20 Free Ways To Spend Time With Your Family

board gamesWhy spend money on a night out on the town when there are tons of great, free things that you can do with your family? If you need some ideas, we’ve gathered 20 great ones below. Enjoy!

1. Play a board game.

Whether it’s Scrabble or an old school game of Monopoly, board games are great for spending time as a family because they encourage healthy competition and teamwork. You can also break open a pack of fresh cards and teach your kids a few tricks!

2. Camp in the backyard.

Sometimes, organizing a camping trip can be stressful, so why not just set up the tent in the backyard? Kids will love it no matter what or maybe you and your spouse can enjoy it without the kids!

3. Throw a football outside.

We’re so attached to technology these days that we often forget the simple joys of tossing around a football outside. Getting out, exercising and having fun are great ways to end a long day at work.

4. Go to the local library.

Your local library is a great resource because it’s quiet (and free!). Check out a few books for everyone and enjoy time snuggling as a family reading.

5. Paint a pretty picture.

Whether your family loves finger painting or watercolors, painting is a great way to relax and enjoy your afternoon. For the best inspiration, set up your canvas by a window and paint what you see outside.

6. Do a crossword puzzle.

Crossword puzzles are fun brain exercises that help you to think quickly and stretch your knowledge. Partner with a family member to complete one in half the time.

7. Walk the dog.

Sometimes, walking the dog can seem like a chore, but if you have a family member to do it with you, it can actually be really fun.

8. Read a book out loud.

Reading out loud or being read to is not just for the kids. It’s so nice to share a story with loved ones, and it’s a great way to bond over interesting story lines and intricate characters.

9. Play hopscotch.

Grab some chalk and head outside for a friendly game of hopscotch!

10. Perform a play.

Grab some puppets or make them out of brown paper bags to create a silly and fun play to perform for the whole family.

11. Cook a meal.

More kids need to learn how to cook. Start with something simple like spaghetti or grilled cheese sandwiches and teach them how it all works!

12. Plant some seeds.

Nothing is more fun that watching little seeds grow. Grab a pack and help your kids to remember to water them every day. They’ll love watching the progress as the weeks go by.

13. Listen to great music.

Sometimes, it’s fun to just turn up the tunes. Play a crazy song and dance around. Get your family in on the fun.

14. Call grandma.

Sit down on Skype or pick up the phone and call your grandmother. She’ll love hearing your voice and getting an update on your family. Pass the phone around so the kids can say hi too.

15. Volunteer your services.

It would be a great bonding experience if you and your spouse went to volunteer at a local animal shelter or offered your services in a soup kitchen. Giving back to others makes you feel awesome, and that’s a great feeling to share with a loved one!

16. Look at old photographs.

It’s so much fun to look at old pictures and to share them with your kids. Grab an old photo album and tell them stories about your childhood.

17. Watch your wedding video.

Watching your wedding video is a great way to remember the love you share with your spouse.

18. Go on a hike.

As the weather starts to get warmer, look up great places to hike in areas near you.

19. Decorate cookies.

It’s great to eat cookies, but it’s even more fun to decorate them. Make sure to pile on the sprinkles!

20. Visit a free museum.

There are free museums in almost every city. Do a Google search to see what interesting new exhibits are in your town today.

So, what are you waiting for? Head out the door, pick up the phone, or break out the tunes to have some fun with your family today!

What type of free activities do you like to do with your family? Share them in the comment section below.

photo by averagejane

How To Successfully Barter Your Services

barteringBartering is a form of payment that’s been used for centuries. Whether you are trading chickens for a goat or conducting a more modern day exchange, bartering is a great way to get what you need without having to pay cash. Of course, as with any form of payment, there are definitely some things to be aware of. So, below are some tips to make sure your barter goes as smoothly as possible.

Exchange Based On Time

When you are trading someone for completely different services, it can be difficult to ascertain what constitutes as an even trade. One of the best ways that you can barter evenly is to trade time. If it takes you two hours to do your handyman’s taxes, and it takes him two hours to tile your bathroom, then your time is traded equally. Each one of you is doing something that the other would prefer to avoid. This makes each person feel as though they are getting an excellent deal. If you feel that your service is worth more than someone else’s or that you had to put in more time and education to be able to do your service, you can always exchange based on value.

Exchange Based On Value

Sometimes, you will have to increase the quantity of your side of the barter in order to receive something of greater value. For example, you might own an art and framing business, but you might want landscaping for your home. You might have to exchange several pieces of art for a nice landscaping job. Similarly, you might have to detail several cars if you want a dental appointment in exchange. These are examples of exchanging based on value.

Make a Contract

Many people who barter make the mistake of agreeing to terms with a handshake. While you may trust someone implicitly, sometimes it’s simply helpful to write down everyone’s expectations so that no one gets a false sense of hope. This is also important if you are dealing with friends or family, just to have a signed record of the agreement. Remember that if there is a problem with your deal, a contract will be your only evidence of an agreement.

Agree On a Time Frame

Some projects and services take longer than others. If you are building furniture for someone, it might take a lot longer than someone completing an eye exam. Despite this, it’s important to remember that you are treating your barter as you would with any other business exchange. That means completing projects in a timely manner and ensuring that your client doesn’t have to call you and remind you that you owe them something.

Treat Them Equally

It’s easy to put a project on the back burner if you aren’t waiting for a cash payment, so it’s important to remind yourself that your clients are all of equal importance, regardless of their payment methods. If a job takes longer than you expect or becomes frustrating, just remember that you are also getting something you want out of your bartering deal. Treat them as you would want to be treated.

 

As evidenced, bartering is a great payment method that has been proven to work for hundreds of years. However, it’s not without its flaws. So, remember to think carefully about how you want to exchange services or products, write down your expectations, and treat each other with respect. Complete those steps, and you should have a great experience bartering.

Have you ever used bartering to get what you want? Were you successful in your exchange?

photo by vaticanus

Why The Envelope System is Perfect for a Marriage

When it comes to marriage, we’re told that we have to value compromise, and nothing has turned out to be truer. I’ve found that compromise is the only way that two people with their own thoughts and opinions can comfortably work witenvelope systemh one another toward a common goal. One of the most important topics that we compromise and work on every day is our finances.

Of all the money management ideas that I’ve tried, I can say that the envelope system works especially well for my husband and me. The reason is because it’s easy, it’s predictable, and it helps to build good habits.

If you’re unfamiliar with the envelope system, it was popularized by none other than the personal finance guru Dave Ramsey. Essentially, you operate on a cash only basis, splitting up your paychecks into different categories and placing them into envelopes. (You can also purchase cute fabric envelops if you want to be environmentally friendly.)

Here are our categories:

  Rent

  Car Payment

  Gas

 Dates

 Food

 Oops!

 

Yes, we do have a category that says Oops!That’s what we use if we run out of money in one of the other envelopes! The only envelope that we typically burn through is Food.We often get tired after a long day at school/work, and we want to go out to eat to make our lives easier. We either need to budget a little more for food or cut the eating out habit a little more! We’re working on it, but that’s why the envelope system works for so many people. It shows you where you need to improve, and it helps you to remain accountable.

Some couples like to have an extra envelope for spending money, but when I set up the envelopes every month, I put a little bit of cash in my wallet and my husband’s wallet. This is for little things throughout the month that aren’t big enough to merit their own category. Because we use this system, we both feel like we have control over our financial future. We also feel like we are equal, because both of us are getting the same amount of money put in our wallets for incidentals.

This also builds a great sense of teamwork. While I typically have the envelopes in my possession, we both know that they’re there. We both know that we have limits and that every day we make choices on how we want to spend our money.

While every couple is different, I think it’s important to note that we still use a debit card for many of our monthly bills. For example, I always pay my student loans and cell phone bill with my card online. This is just an easier and more convenient form of payment for us. However, it’s the same payment every month so it’s very easy to budget.

Essentially, you can customize this system in whatever way suits your needs best. I know that there are many other ways you can organize your finances with your spouse. Many people have fun money accounts. Others concentrate more on using credit cards to build points. However, what’s important is that you and your spouse are both on board with your method of organizing your finances. For us, this system works best.

How do you and your spouse budget and organize your monthly expenses?

photo by vectorportal

How To Stay Motivated To Stick To A Budget

motivationFebruary is here, and that means many of us are losing steam when it comes to our New Yea’s Resolutions.

While I’ve already accomplished some of my New Year’s Resolutions, I’m still lagging when it comes to others, like running regularly and eating better!

In fact, when I think about it, sticking to an exercise plan is very similar to sticking to a budget. They both take a significant amount of time, dedication, hard work, and accountability.

So, how can I stay motivated to run and at the same time, stay motivated to budget? Well, that’s easy. The same principles apply! Check out the motivators below:

Motivation: The Realization That It’s Good For You

I know that running is good for me. I have to stay in shape, I’m young, and there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to run for a mile straight (so far, I can only run a half mile before I have to start walking!) Running keeps my blood pumping and my heart rate high, which is good for my long-term health.

Similarly, budgeting is also good for me. It helps me to keep my finances in tip top shape. When I budget, I know exactly how far I’ve come and how far I need to go to reach my goals. Budgeting keeps my money organized, which helps me to avoid late fees and frustrations down the road.

Motivation: You Can’t Let Your Friends & Family Down

I absolutely cannot motivate myself to go running by myself. I will definitely cut corners and stop before I’m supposed to. However, when I am meeting a friend or running with my husband, I know I have to go a certain speed and run for a certain amount of time.

Similarly, when you budget, friends and family are great motivators to keep you on track. Do you and your spouse want to save for a house? Budget together! Do you want to pay off your student loans so you can finally declare yourself debt free? Tell your friend about it, and ask her to check in on your progress. Start a blog, get a twitter account; it doesn’t matter how you do it. What’s important is that you find a way to announce your budgeting goals to the world, so you won’t want to let them down. That’s motivation enough!

Motivation: Visualize The Reward At The End of The Road

As I run and my legs start burning, I really, really don’t want to keep going. Yet, when I visualize how I’ll look when I’m in tip top shape, it makes me what to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I know that nothing worthwhile comes easy, and I know that being in great shape won’t just fall out of the sky. I have to keep working, and that means remembering where I’ll be at the end of the road.

Similarly, I know there’s nothing enjoyable about eating in when you really want to go out. I know it’s hard to pass on the Starbucks coffee or that cute pair of shoes. Budgeting can really take the fun out of day-to-day life, but once you get the hang of it and start getting financially secure, it’s actually so much better than anything you could ever buy for yourself.

So remember, it’s all about the end goal (not the journey) when it comes to budgeting and running! I hope that the motivational techniques listed here can help you to have a happy and healthy 2013.

What are some ways that you stay motivated?

photo by psousa

Why Gardening and Investing are More Similar Than You Think

gardeningI’m the first person to admit that I completely lack a green thumb. In fact, I’ve managed to kill just about every house plant I’ve ever owned. However, if there’s one thing I’m determined to do, it’s save money. Recently, I visited my in-laws over the holidays, and I watched my father-in-law work in his garden. Now, I’ve known my father-in-law for 7.5 years, and I’ve enjoyed the fruits (literally) of his labor for a very long time. However, it wasn’t until I sat there watching him that I really started think about how much money he has saved over the years just from using his own soil and his own two hands. In fact, I realized that gardening really serves as a metaphor for investing as a whole.

1. Buy The Seeds

Buying the seeds for a garden is very similar to saving money in my opinion. All it really takes is a small investment in the beginning. You might choose a few different kids of seeds like strawberries, green peppers, or pumpkins. Similarly, you might choose a few different types of investments like mutual funds, CDs, or a simple high yield savings account. Either way, it’s the combination of the different types of seeds/investments that make up the best portfolios.

2. Water The Seeds

The seeds can grow on their own with a nice rain shower, just like a mutual fund will eventually increase in value over a certain period of time even if you never add to it. However, by taking care of the seeds just a little, you can make a big impact. By ensuring they are located in the right soil, receiving the right amount of sun, and the right amount of water, you have a better chance of actually getting a seed to grow. Similarly, by researching various mutual funds, checking the history of the market, placing your accounts with a respected manager, and checking on your money regularly, you can easily add thousands to your overall net worth.

3. Be Patient With Your Seeds

It takes time for vegetables and fruit to grow. It’s not something that happens overnight, and it requires a certain amount of knowledge, thought, and patience. Similarly, your investments won’t pay big returns overnight. It’s the slow, patient investor who typically does the best in the end. Many people have been ruined because they withdraw their funds too quickly and in many cases end up paying heavy penalties.

4. Protect Your Plot

I’ll never forget the time my husband planted me a blackberry bush. Just as those little red berries began turning black and visions of pie were dancing in my head, birds came overnight and ate them completely. My husband was so frustrated. He waited so long for those berries to blossom and he paid around $20 for the actual bush. Yet, because those greedy birds got to it first, we were left with nothing. What we should have done is put a certain type of spray on the bush or at least had a fake snake in eyesight of the birds to scare them off, but we didn’t. The same goes for your investments. You have to protect them and take care of them. You have to understand all of the “birds” that could affect your growing funds. Whether it’s government taxes or other new regulations, it’s up to you to stay on top of financial news and developments and protect what you have.

5. Reap What You Sow

In gardening, just as with investing, you reap what you sow. By following the above steps and taking the time and care to grow your garden, you will be rewarded in the end.

photo by aigle_dore

15 Easy Ways To Exercise For Free

exercise for freeLike most people, one of my New Yea’s resolutions was to get into better shape. While I am not overweight, I’d have a lot of trouble running a mile (unless a bear was chasing me.) So, I vowed to at least be healthier.

The only problem is that I’m as frugal as they get! So, I was very hesitant to join an expensive gym just so that I could add a few muscles here and there.

To fix this problem of needing to work out but not having a clear plan to do so cheaply, I began to brainstorm ways that I could get in shape on the cheap. Below is the result of that brainstorming session. I hope it helps you too!

1. Run down the street.

You definitely don’t need a gym to get a great workout. Try taking a run down the street instead. It’s definitely not fun during the winter months, but you will warm up as soon as you start jogging.

2. Walk your dog.

Walking the dog is a great workout because it works several different muscles, especially if your dog is prone to pulling like mine is!

3. Take the stairs at work.

Why take the elevator when you can run up the stairs? If you do that enough every day at work, you will definitely notice a positive change in how your clothes fit.

4. Help someone move.

No one actually wants to help others move, but we do it anyway because they are our friends. Plus, it’s a great workout.

5. Take a swim.

If you have a pool or a lake nearby, jump in for a swim. You will be surprised at how hard it is if it’s been a while!

6. Play ball with your kids.

It’s important to spend time with your children, so why not head outside? Throw them a ball, chase them, and have fun while burning calories at the same time.

7. Take your bike to work.

Many employers are actually paying their employees to bike to work, so you can actually get paid for this form of exercise. Win/Win!

8. Go camping.

Camping requires a bit of hiking, setting up the tent, and cooking, all great ways to exercise your arms and legs.

9. Take out the trash.

It’s not glamorous, but if you have a big family and your trash bag is heavy, it can actually make you break a sweat when you take it to the curb.

10. Stretch

Instead of sitting in front of the TV, stretch in front if it. Sit on the floor, put your legs in front of you, and reach!

11. Watch a yoga DVD.

Sure, you could go to a nice resort and take a yoga class, but you can also pop in a DVD for a bit of free exercise.

12. Learn ballroom dancing from YouTube.

There are many YouTube experts who teach ballroom dancing online. Set up your computer in your living room, grab a partner, and have a good time.

13. Do a handstand.

When you do a handstand against a wall, you don’t have to pay anything, and you get a great workout (just don’t stay there too long!)

14. Plant a garden.

When you do yard work, you can absolutely work up a sweat. Moving mulch and planting flowers takes hard work!

15. Start a kickball league.

Kickball is a great sport that anyone can do regardless of skill level. (Trust me, my skill level is zero, and I still play.) You can get great exercise this way and socialize with friends too.

I’m sure there are many other ways to work out and burn calories without spending your hard earned money on a gym membership! If you have any other ideas, please let me know in the comment section below!

photo by cmcbrown

Easy Ways To Protect Your Money

moneyAre you doing everything you can to protect your money?

We spend most of our days working very hard to support our families and pay our bills, but a surprising few take the steps to ensure that their money and their credit is safe from those who want to abuse it. We currently live in a world where identity theft is rampant. Technology has advanced at a surprisingly rapid pace, and those who want to utilize it for harm can easily do so. So, what are we to do to ensure that our hard earned dollars are safe? Below are a few ideas.

1. Check your credit report every year.

It only takes a few minutes to get your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. This website allows you to view your reports from all three major reporting companies. You’re allowed to check it once a year free of charge, and you should. Just last year, I found out that I had a huge fee on mine for not returning an audio book to the public library. It’s a bit of a long story, but essentially, I moved and never got the notices. I was able to pay the fee and get it resolved on my credit report. That was a small blip on my credit, but there could be larger problems on yours caused by identity theft that you might want to rectify. That’s why you have to be vigilant about checking it every year.

2. Use cash.

We’re so used to swiping credit cards and debit cards everywhere we go, and that’s a great way to track your spending. However, this is the easiest way for someone to get your credit card information. Once, my husband paid for dinner at an airport, and the waiter wrote down his credit card information and tried to use it to spend $400 at Wal-Mart. Luckily, our bank blocked the payment, but the downside was that they froze my husband’s card. This meant that he had to wait for a new card to be shipped internationally, since we live outside of the U.S. This annoyance could have been avoided if we would have just used cash.

3. Use PayPal for Internet purchases.

PayPal certainly has pros and cons, but the biggest pro is that they provide a secure way for your to purchase items from people you don’t know. I’ve noticed over the past year or so that more and more companies are allowing PayPal as a payment option. While they do have plenty of fees, they also allow you a voice to contest payments and get your money back if you never received an item.

4. Keep your receipts.

There have been many times where I was able to get a few dollars back by noticing discrepancies between my online bank account and my receipts. All you need to do is carry a small envelope with you marked “receipts” and simply check them against your bank account once a week.

5. Store your documents in a safe place.

If you keep important records at home like your tax information, make sure that you keep them in a locked file cabinet or in a safe. If your documents are out in the open, your social security number might be visible to others and thus more susceptible to fraud. If you like keeping online records better, just ensure that your documents are kept secure with an excellent password that preferably has a mix of upper and lower case letters and symbols.

By doing the tasks above, you will be well on  your way to protecting your hard earned money against simple mistakes and indentity theft.

Another way to protect your money and your investments is to choose gold as an avenue for investing.  Consider US Money Reserve if you are thinking about breaking into the gold market.

Are they are any other methods that you can use to protect your money? Please share in the comment section below.

photo by MollyDG

How To Responsibly Pay Others Back

paying backWe’ve all done it before.   At some point or another, we’ve had to borrow money from someone. Whether it was a forgotten wallet and a spotted $10 or a more serious situation, it isn’t always the best feeling to have to ask a friend if they can spare a few bucks. However, we all need help every once in a while, and there’s no shame in asking if you’re responsible in how you pay them back. Check out the tips below for ways to pay others back respectfully and maintain your relationship with them in the process.

Be timely.

Did you borrow $20 from a friend when a restaurant only accepted cash? Go out of your way to withdraw $20 from the closest ATM, write them a check, or make an electronic funds transfer as soon as you can.   Did you have to borrow a large sum of money from your parents during an emergency?   As soon as you’re able, sit down and take a look at your finances.   What can you afford as the first payment and when can you give it to them?   Do you owe someone, but you’ve forgotten the money the last couple times you saw them?   Rather than not mentioning it, make it a point to say you still remember and that you will get the money to them as soon as possible.   Showing that you want to pay someone back as quickly as you can instills confidence that no one is going to go unpaid.

Make a plan.

In most situations, the best way to pay someone back is by making a plan.   You may find it helpful to make a payment schedule if you do owe larger sums of money.   Perhaps you can take a little from each paycheck without depriving yourself of your basic needs.   Maybe you can sacrifice going out to eat with friends every weekend until you’ve paid your debt.   Look at your income versus your necessary expenses and see where you might be able to temporarily cut back.   Whatever you work out, be sure to communicate that with the person who lent you the money to let them know you’re getting back on track.

Write it down.

When you’ve committed to a payment schedule that you’ve thought out and written down, you’re more likely to stick to it.   Put your payment due dates on your calendar or set up a reminder in your smart phone. If you go the paper route, post it in your office or on your fridge. You can even give a copy to the person you’ll be paying.   For some people this may be overkill, but for others it lays everything out on the table so there are no questions left unanswered.

Don’t feel bad.

Like I said before, we’ve all been there at some point in our lives.   So, don’t let your guilt keep you from asking for assistance if you truly need it.   Likewise, don’t allow your guilt to keep you up at night if you can’t repay someone as quickly as you want.   Be open and honest with them about your situation.   They’re likely to understand if they were willing to spot you in the first place.

Occasionally, your quality time or willingness to help may be repayment enough or at least make a later payment acceptable.   Offer to help them move next weekend or watch the dog while they’re out of town as a gesture of good will.

Have you ever borrowed money from someone? How did you go about paying it back? Are you still friends with them to this day? I’d love to hear about it!

photo by 42Dreams

0% Interest Cards With the Best Intro Periods in 2013

VISA credit card0% interest credit cards are a bit of a misnomer, since no credit card offers 0% interest forever. That would be cool, huh?

Credit cards billed as 0% interest cards actually refer to the intro periods these cards use as sign-up incentives. The best intro periods are the ones that charge no interest on purchases and balance transfers for a specific period of time.

Obviously, you want to to pay no interest for as long as you can, making the best 0% interest cards the ones with the longest intro periods. These cards are especially useful for consumers hoping to transfer their credit debt from one card with high interest to a new, zero interest credit card.

This is the most popular way to eliminate interest fees without paying back all of your credit at once. However, because some consumers have more credit debt than others (a recent report from the credit bureau TransUnion said that the average borrower owed close to $5,000 in credit debt alone), the best 0 interest credit cards are the ones with the longest introductory periods.

So if you’re hoping to save money on interest fees in the coming year, consider transferring your credit debt to one of the 0% interest credit cards below with the longest intro periods.

  • Discover itâ„¢ Card â“ 18 Month Balance Transfer

No 0% interest balance transfer card on the market today has a longer intro period than 18 months. That said, a full year-and-a-half is a generous amount of time to pay back your credit debt interest-free.

There are only a handful of 18-month intro period credit cards, and the new Discover itâ„¢ – 18 Month Balance Transfer Card is simply one of the best. An upgrade to their popular More ® Card series, Discover itâ„¢ offers cardholders a lucrative rewards program, with 5% cash back opportunities on rotating categories, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

It’s also especially useful for jet-setters since it charges no foreign transaction fees (as opposed to the usual 3%), and there’s no annual fee and they’ll even waive the fee on the first late payment you make (it’s $35 thereafter).

But this credit card from Discover is most useful thanks to its 0% intro period. If you’re hoping to back credit debt over time, you literally won’t find a better offer than the one afforded by the Discover itâ„¢ â“ 18 Month Balance Transfer Card.

  • Citi Simplicity Card

No credit card with 0% interest for 18 months is better suited for the consumer looking to simplify and consolidate their debt than the Citi Simplicity Card.

Like it’s name, this Citi card makes transferring debt simple; no interest on purchases and balance transfers for 18 months, no annual fees and â“ best of all â“ no late payment fees! OK, you should really avoid late payments since they’ll hurt your credit score, but it’s nice to know your wallet won’t get docked, too.

The only knock on this credit card with no interest is that it doesn’t offer a rewards program. That said, this an easy credit card to monitor in terms of payments and fees, and is one of the very best if your main goal is to alleviate credit debt in 2013.

  • Slate from Chase â“ No Balance Transfer Fee

Finally, the Slate from Chase â“ No Balance Transfer Fee Card is popular because, like its name makes mention of, it’s the only card on the market today that doesn’t charge a fee when you transfer a balance.

The average balance transfer fee is 3% of the total balance you plan on transferring. (That’s also the rate used by the aforementioned 0 interest cards above.) Slate from Chase â“ No Balance Transfer Fee is the only card that offers a balance transfer to its card free of charge. Note that no fee balance transfers are only eligible when made within 60 days of the credit card account opening.

The intro period attached to this card is slightly shorter â“ 15 months â“ but the fact that it waives the standard balance transfer fee make it one of the three best 0% interest credit cards of 2013.

This guest post was written by  Jason Bushey. Jason is a personal finance blogger and the editor of Creditnet.com.

photo by dahlstroms

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