Know Before You Owe

Every family has to deal with financial issues. There are emergency expenses as well as regular bills to pay. Most families have debt of some kind. More than 14% of families have credit card debt above 40% of their income. That doesn’t mean we should sign off credit cards though. We just need to be wiser about which credit cards we use and how to pay them off.

One of the most important things to remember is that having a credit card for emergencies is a must. Sometimes savings just doesn’t cut it. We need that cushion to get us through to the next month.

When shopping for a credit card there are a few things you should know before you owe:

Find Low or 0% Interest Offers. Finding a credit card that offers 0% APR for up to a year can allow you to make that necessary emergency purchase without accruing hefty interest while you pay it off. Low or no interest on purchases is great, but if the card also offers it on balance transfers for a year or more it could save you hundreds of dollars (see this site to learn more). Just make sure you keep focused on paying off the debt. Make sure you are also paying attention to the balance transfer fee. If you have a low balance the fee may not be worth the transfer.

Find Out About Product Protection. Some credit cards offer warranty or return protection on certain products you purchase. Looking for a new TV? If you have 0% interest and cash back on your credit card, and it offers a purchase warranty, there is no reason not to charge it. Just remember that you need to pay it off before the interest starts to accrue. The product is then covered under warranty without a cost to you. Before taking this plunge find out exactly what the warranty or return protection covers if there is an issue. Get it in writing for your records at home. Then if there is a problem you only have to pull out the agreement to find out what to do next.

Use Cash Back Bonuses. Credit cards often offer cash back bonuses on certain purchases. These can be fixed items or a rotating list. Be educated about these cash back offers, especially if there is 0% APR on the card. Our credit card offered it for a six month period on purchase made for home improvement and our roof needed replaced. While we had the money in the back to pay for the supplies we used the cash back reward and charged it. When the bill came we paid it off. In return we earned 5% cash back on everything we bought for the project. It came out to more than $100 in our pockets.

If you have credit card debt make sure to follow the tips for eliminating debt as well. These tips, in conjunction with the right credit card offer, can make eliminating debt stress free while also saving you money.

What family couldn’t use a little extra money in the bank?

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