Credit

3 Reasons I’m a Big Fan of Credit Cards

I'm a big fan of credit cards because if you use them right, you can score all sorts of points that equal real dollars in your pocket. Find out the three reasons why I love credit cards and how you can use them for all the benefits without the negatives.There I said it. I’m a big fan of credit cards for three main reasons: cash back, airline tickets and gift certificates. In my world, credit cards equal powerful rewards that are worth real money in your pocket that can be used towards all sorts of money goals.

The sad news is that only 31% of credit cardholders have never redeemed their credit card rewards, according to a new Bankrate.com report. Cardholders typically gravitate to one extreme or the other, redeeming their rewards points/miles frequently (38% did so within the past 6 months) or not at all.

The most popular redemption is cash back, which makes sense. Airline tickets are a distant second, followed by gift cards. Millennials are much more likely than older adults to choose cash back.

On This Podcast Episode:

  • Find out why I am a huge fan of credit cards
  • What you should be thinking about if you have rewards points
  • Why you shouldn’t shy away from a credit card with an annual fee
  • How to use your credit card points to achieve your money goals

Thanks for Tuning In:

Thanks for tuning in to listen to this episode of Millennial Money. If you have any comments or questions about today’s episode, please let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media.

Also, please leave an honest review for Millennial Money on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and much appreciated! You’re awesome!

 

A Credit Card Secret to Radically Reduce Your Debt

There is a secret to reducing credit card debt that most don't talk about often. Found out what you need to know to chop your debt down.It’s almost impossible to avoid credit card debt. Even if you’re always within your budget, have a healthy savings account, and live by debit and cash, there will certainly come a time when you’re going to want to spend some cash that isn’t in your account. Enter credit card debt. It happens to the best of us.

I’ve always tried, to be honest on the podcast that credit card debt comes and goes. I get really frustrated at all the posts about people who are killing themselves to live debt free. Yes, it’s a great goal. Yes, it makes you feel really good and is financially smart. However, the reality is that life happens and sometimes you go into debt.

What’s the best strategy if you’re currently in debt to get it paid off?

It’s a secret that you don’t hear about often – using 0% balance transfer offers to radically reduce your debt. Here are a few of my favorites.

On This Podcast Episode:

  • We’ll dish about why being in debt isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you
  • How to use this secret to radically reduce your debt
  • Why you need a strategy with your debt
  • What steps you should take to have a healthy dose of debt

Thanks for Tuning In:

Thanks for tuning in to listen to this episode of Millennial Money. If you have any comments or questions about today’s episode, please let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. If you’ve enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media.

Also, please leave an honest review for Millennial Money on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and much appreciated! You’re awesome!

 

 

Should I Cancel My Credit Card

Your credit score is super important to your financial future. Here's what you need to know about cancelling your credit card and how it can effect your credit score.

On today’s podcast, I’m tackling two more listener questions that are so awesome I couldn’t resist.

Question #1

Nicole asks: “My first credit card was with a semi-predatory/scammy company (CreditOne, if you’re curious), because it was the ONLY company that would give me one. I was careful with it, built up my credit to be excellent, and now have a much, much better and legitimate credit card.
I want to cancel this old card, which has a very, very small credit line (a fraction of what my new one offers me), and wash my hands of this horrible company all together. But I have been advised by some friends not to. I’ve had the card for less than 2 years. Can I give this scammy company the boot?

Thanks for always answering my questions. You are truly awesome. I recommend your podcast to my friends all the time. You rock.”

The short answer to this question is “it depends.” Check out the podcast episode for more details.

Question #2

Sarah asks: “I have a BUDGET question! I recently got married and am trying to tackle the ever challenging budget now for not just one, but two people. I downloaded your budget template and have been working to complete it, however am confused at one part. I downloaded our monthly statements and am categorizing our “variable expenses” (often paid on our credit cards), but on your budget template variable expenses are listed (groceries, dining out, household etc) in one section, and loans/credit cards are listed in another. I think I am counting some things twice because I’ve already tallied up what was on the statement, then am counting again what I paid for towards my credit card bills. Does this make any sense? Help!”

Great question, Sarah. You never want to double dip and make sure you are only counting expenses only once. I’ve got a few tips on this episode, and when you’re done, click here to get a downloadable copy of my Variable Expense Tracker Worksheet

Variable Expense Tracker

3 Reasons to Care About the Interest Rate Hike

All the Fuss With Interest Rate Hikes

You’ve probably gotten through life thus far not really caring about what the Federal Reserve does when it meets a few times each year and couldn’t care less about the Fed Funds Rate. You might’ve heard rumblings on the news about interest rates going up and thought, “Well, I don’t really care about that.” I’m here to tell you that you should care or at least know what the heck it means when the Fed raises the rates.

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates again and as millennials you should pay attention. There are three key areas that could hit your wallet hard - credit card interest rates, car and home loans, and student loan refinancing rates.

On This Podcast

We’re going to dish about three reasons why you should care about the interest rate hike. This is a not so subtle hint that raising the interest rates actually does matter to you and your wallet. The Fed raises the rates to stabilize the economy but what ends up happening is any of your loans tied to variable interest rates will go up.

  • Find out what the Fed is and why interest rates go up
  • How the raising interest rates affect your bank account
  • What you can do to counteract the higher interest rates
  • Why higher interest rates are good news for savers who want to take advantage of higher interest rates on high-yield savings accounts

Earn More Rewards From Your Credit Cards

Credit Card Rewards, Reward You

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know how valuable credit card points and rewards are. I understand not wanting to have a bunch of credit cards that tempt you to spend money but using debit cards versus credit cards means you are missing out on a lot of amazing perks.

These perks are worth real money to you and can translate into free hotel stays, free flights, free car rental, gift certificates, and even just plain good ole’ cash back.Are you maximizing your rewards from credit cards? You should be...rewards are worth real money in your pocket!

Meet Birch

I’m always on the hunt to discover new products and mobile apps that I think will radically help you financially. Birch was a fantastic find, and I had a chance to talk to their CEO, Alex Cohen, for this podcast episode.

Birch is your answer to finding the best strategy for your credit cards so you can maximize all of those awesome perks. It’s like putting money right back in your pocket – and the best part – it’s FREE to set up an account and start maximizing your rewards.

Use a Credit Card Wisely

I just can’t say this enough. If you use a credit card wisely, like a debit card and pay the balance off each month, you’re in the money so to speak. Credit card companies are competing feverously to offer better and better perks and rewards.

I simply won’t accept that you can’t use a credit card responsibly. Self-discipline is one of the core principals to smart financial planning and it will take you a long way towards achieving your goals. There are simply way too many perks with credit cards to pass them by.

 

Put Your Credit Cards On An Island

There are lots of strategies when it comes to credit cards, but WalletHub's new island approach might be the best thing since sliced bread.

Credit Card Debt All Around

It’s no secret that around the world we’ve been able to amass a huge amount of credit card debt. We all want everything, and we want it right away. This kind of thinking doesn’t always bode well for our budget and bank account.

The U.S. consumer debt could hit $80 billion this year – and just in case you’re wondering, that’s a heck of a lot of debt.

We’ve talked about all the normal credit card strategies over and over again but I always feel like you can’t hear them enough. Things like:

  • Have a solid emergency fund of at least 3 month’s worth of fixed expenses
  • Get your credit card balances on low-interest cards
  • For goodness sake, please use a points or cashback credit card
  • Always use your credit card like a debit card

Time to Put Your Credit Cards On An Island

When I was glancing over WalletHub’s great credit card tips I came across their method of putting your credit cards on an island and just had to share. On this podcast I’m sharing just what that means and why you should start using this strategy (combined with all the stellar tips above).

Credit cards are a game, but one where you can win!

(Don’t forget to enter our Seattle Getaway Giveaway by December 13th)

Don’t Let Student Loans Bite Your Butt

Student loan forgiveness can be a welcome relief for many, but there are important tax consequences that you need to be aware of if your loan is forgiven. In this interview with Student Loan Hero CEO, Andy Josuweit, we dish student loans and more.Student Loans Need Forgiveness

Americans owe more than $1.3 million dollars in student loan debt, and for many of us, that debt is killing our budgets.

When the student loan forgiveness  act came on the scene in 2010, it was a welcome sign of relief for many borrowers. While on one hand, if you follow the rules, you can have your loan forgiven after 10 years of payment. On the other hand, what isn’t so talked about are the tax consequences of having your loan forgiven.

Say for instance you owe $20,000 on your student loan after making 10 years of payments on an income-based repayment plan (FYI, you must be on the right payment plan for student loan forgiveness to be valid.)

Yes, you would have that $20,000 of debt wiped away. However, at tax time, you would receive a document that states you essentially earned $20,000 of additional income that year, meaning you will have to pay tax on that added amount of income. This could potentially bump you into a higher tax bracket, and be devastating if you can’t pay the tax bill.

Know What You’re In For

It’s important that you know what you’re in for when it comes to your student loans. Know what kind of loan you have. Know if your loans are able to qualify for the loan forgiveness program. Know what your tax consequences might be. Be aware…it’s your money after all.

On this Podcast Episode

  • I chat with Student Loan Hero CEO, Andrew Josuweit, about student loan forgiveness
  • Find out what you need to know about potential tax consequences
  • Understand your options to lower your student loan debt load
  • Hear about all the awesome benefits that Student Loan Hero offers 

Don’t Wreck Your Credit By Doing This One Thing

This is the one thing you should never do  in terms of your credit score. Credit score is tricky. There are thousands of articles out there talking about credit score, and yet it’s so challenging to figure out why your credit score is the number it is. With that said, there is one particular thing that you can do to keep your score rocking, even if you have a few bad marks on your credit. It’s quite simple…pay your bills on time.

Your payment history has a 35% impact on your overall credit score. While a 30 or 60-day late might not have a big impact, a 90 or 180-day late will have a huge impact on your score for a long period of time.

On this podcast episode, I’m dishing all about this pesky credit trick and how you can keep your credit score on track. I also cover the popular topic of collections. This is a complete grey area, but I’ve got a few tips if you do have a collections on your credit report.

For more tips, follow me on Twitter @shannahgame, Instagram @millennial_money and at yourmillennialmoney.com.

2 Credit Card Secrets That Will Save You Money

Use these 2 credit card secrets to save you a ton of money because you've got better things to do with your money!

I’m a huge fan of credit cards. Yep, I said it.

Contrary to what most personal finance experts will tell you, I think having a credit card, or a few credit cards, can be a smart money move in your 20’s and 30’s.

Why?

Credit cards offer so many perks. You can get free plane tickets, cash back, discounts, free hotel stays, buy all the stuff you want on Amazon, etc. Depending on which credit card you have, of course, will determine what “goodies” you get. The goodies though are the reason to have a credit card. (more…)