Credit cards all advertise their reward systems and many of us, when I say us I mean myself fall for them. Is it worth it? Do we have a logical purchasing strategy to get the most out of the credit cards? As a person that’s debt-free, I use the cash envelope system and try to limit credit card use to rental cars and airline purchases. Notice I said try, I recently started relying on public transit which makes it a bit more challenging to make it to the bank to get my cash out, but next pay period I’m going back to cash envelopes. They work so well!
Look at her making credit cards rain. Doing research for this post I typed “credit cards” into google the first words to populate were “credit card offers.” I don’t want your credit card offers. The average debt per person is $4,192 for U.S. resident adults. $1,900 for store credit cards and $5,673 per adult with credit cards according to credicards.com In college, I remember banks offering credit cards with free t-shirts and pizza. Two things I love (free food and free t-shirts) but something kept me away from trickery bank folks. Almost ten years later I have friends still trying to dig themselves out of that hole of interest-free credit card they got in college. The new version of pizza and t-shirts are points, “2x cash back andtravel protection”. That’s all great if we’re using them to pay for things we need like utility bills, gas, and groceries. Try to avoid using them for unplanned expenses or anything you have not budgeted for. That’s what your emergency fund should be used for.
If you’re in credit card debt, you are not alone as shown above with credit card debt statistics. Investopedia breaks down the difference between APY & APR better than I ever can. The main take away is your APY is a percentage charged if you do not pay off your credit card balance at the end of the allotted pay period. A few tips to stay out of credit card trouble.
- The best way to avoid either one is to pay off the interest each month
- Charge only what you can afford or use cash as an alternative
- If you’re paying credit card debt off, avoid using credit cards
- Call your credit card company to negotiate your interest rate
- Focus on debt with the highest interest rates or lowest balances in order to pay off other cards faster
- You got this! It can be done, you have to develop and stick to a strategy
You can always chop up your credit cards. This is a big Dave Ramsey practice. It works when you cut up your credit cards and rely on cash and things you can afford.
In my opinion, credit cards can keep their reward points. I’ll take cash any day, cash is king and rules supreme.