We know that everyone’s financial situation is different. However, we all want to live our best life. Wallet On Fire gives you the relevant financial tools you need to do just that.
Want to find the best identity protection? Need a credit card that will give you top rewards? Want to invest but don’t know where to start? Wallet On Fire will guide you through your financial fears so you can make more, save more, and feel secure in your financial future.
Wallet On Fire is all about helping you make better – more informed – financial decisions. For most of us – myself included – learning to manage your finances and make financial decisions is not always an easy task. We aim to provide REAL advice for REAL people. We don’t try to project an image of financial perfection (selling your car and biking to work).
Living WELL and living WITHIN YOUR MEANS does not have to be mutually exclusive!
We believe that frequent discussions about money and investing are important to grow financially. Money transactions are a large part of our everyday lives and the more we communicate and learn, the easier it will be to feel secure in the amount of money we have to work with.
We recommend talking about money in your core relationships, whether it is with your significant other, friends, or your children. The less we hide about our financial situation, the easier it is to avoid financial debt.
By reading and implementing the information Wallet On Fire provides, we believe you can improve your current financial situation and help those around you in the process. Have a financial question that we didn’t answer? Contact us and we will do our best to help.
It is important to us that you have a positive experience of learning and investing in your financial future. Even if you have already declared bankruptcy or have bad credit, you are not alone. Wallet On Fire can help you rebuild your credit and get back on the road to financial success.
We appreciate all of our readers. Wallet On Fire never sells or gives away your personal information.
Why Wallet On Fire?
With the rise of financial technology (fintech), banking is evolving. You can now choose a digital-only bank that offers a mobile app without the need for brick & mortar branches like traditional banks and credit unions.
Banks are providing spend tracking and budgeting tools to help you stay on track. Banks provide additional services such as checking, savings, car loans, home mortgages, even investment opportunities.
Investments used to only be for people with employer-sponsored 401K accounts and the wealthy. New startups are multiplying the ways you can invest your extra cash.
While choosing a trusted financial advisor is still recommended for the human experience and financial accountability, you can now take advantage of robo-investment opportunities.
Several apps are available that offer free trading so you can get your feet wet without losing all of your money in fees. Investing with an online platform also helps you auto-invest money that would otherwise sit in a zero-interest traditional bank account.
While not everyone is ready to invest, with the increase of access to all forms of investing, now is the time to learn about your options.
Building a credit history and a strong credit score is essential for progressing financially. If you need a personal loan, auto or mortgage loan, you will need to get your credit in line to receive the best APR.
Wallet On Fire features credit card reviews and pertinent information on how to establish a strong credit history. Whether you need to build a credit history to get approved for your favorite rewards credit card or rebuild a low credit score, we are here to help.
Identity theft is a growing problem in today’s society. We bank online, shop online, and share our lives online.
Fortunately, there are trusted companies that we can turn to that can help protect our identity. We review those companies and give you the pros and cons so you can decide which company is best for you.
Whether you have filed for bankruptcy or have a large amount of debt, Wallet On Fire provides the tools you need to change your money habits.
Maybe you didn’t properly learn about money as a child or you have an unhealthy relationship with money as an adult, whatever the issue, we are here to help.
We provide helpful tips to start a budget, get out of debt, and take back your mental health. By developing a healthy relationship with money, you can begin to understand the importance of using credit wisely and begin building savings for your emergency fund.
Our Top 10 Credit Card Tips
Using a credit card can help you easily keep track of a budget, earn you rewards for vacations or cashback, and even improve your credit score. There are a plethora of options from cards that help you build credit, provide students and businesses with incentives, and even cards for specific stores that you frequent.
With all of the positives, there is also the responsibility that comes with using credit cards. Using credit cards wisely can provide you with all the benefits and none of the drawbacks.
To help you take advantage of the perks, we have provided a list of helpful credit card tips. The more you understand credit cards, the easier it will be to use them wisely.
1. Research the best card for you
This is particularly important if you are just starting out. Many first-time credit card users do not qualify for high cash back cards or points cards. These cards require good to excellent credit.
If you are new to credit cards, you will need to choose a secured credit card that can help build your credit and increase your credit score. This will help you qualify for the cards you want. It will also help you practice using a credit card to make sure you do not overspend and run up debt.
Experienced credit card users may want to take advantage of credit cards that can consolidate debt or cards that provide rewards for purchases and paying off your balance each month.
There are also specific credit cards for students, businesses, and people who are frequent travelers. Weighing the pros and cons of the cards you are interested in will help you find the best card for you.
2. Choose a balance transfer credit card if you need to consolidate existing debt
Sometimes life happens and you get behind on your bills or simply overspend. If you already have established credit, you may qualify for a 0% intro APR credit card.
These credit cards often offer a 6-18 month initial period in which your balance transfers and purchases do not incur any interest. This can be particularly helpful if you can pay off your debt in this period with equal monthly payments.
You can also use this type of credit card if you need to make a large purchase such as a home system, appliance, furniture, etc. Spreading out the cost in monthly payments (without extra interest) can save you a considerable amount of money.
Just remember to only use these cards when you have a solid payoff plan. If you can’t pay off your debt in the 0% APR period allotted, you will often pay more in interest, since these cards tend to have a higher standard APR after the intro period.
3. Choose the best payment date that works for you
Credit card companies value you as a customer and are willing to work with you. Most will allow you to pick the day that your payment is due.
Always check with your credit card company to see if it’s possible to change the payment date (if the current one isn’t the best for you). If allowed, choose a date of the month in which you have the most amount of cash in the bank.
That way, if you run your balance a little higher than normal, or if your payday is delayed, you will be able to cover the charge in full. This avoids unnecessary interest charges.
You can also schedule your credit card payment on the same day that all of your other bills are due. Consolidating the day your bills are due can save you time and help you avoid late charges from forgetting to pay the bill.
4. Do not max out your credit
It may be tempting to go on a shopping spree when you see how much credit is available to you (usually stated when you are approved for a credit card), but don’t max out your credit cards.
Using up all of your available credit will decrease your credit score, not to mention make it hard to pay back the balance in one cycle.
Instead, if you are a credit card user that has to carry a monthly balance, use as little credit as possible. This will keep your credit utilization ratio low.
If you use your credit card for every purchase, pay off your balance in full each month to avoid a ding on your credit score. For extra credit, pay off your balance before the due date to boost your credit score.
5. Pay off the highest interest credit card first
If you currently have multiple credit cards or just one that has high-interest, pay off those balances first. Your credit cards will most likely have a higher interest than your mortgage or car payment.
Once credit card debt rolls from month to month, it can get increasingly more difficult to pay off the debt in full. Take your debt with the highest interest and make a plan to pay that one off first.
Leave enough money to make minimum payments on other credit cards so your debt doesn’t spiral out of control. Failing to make minimum credit card payments can also negatively affect your credit score.
6. Do not use the cash advance feature
It may be tempting to use your credit card for quick cash, especially when you repeatedly get paper checks from your credit card provider in the mail. Under no circumstances should you request cash in this way.
Cash advances have incredibly high fees, interest begins when you initiate the transaction, and there is no grace period.
7. Get financially savvy — with apps
If your credit card has an app that provides free spend tracking and budgeting tools take advantage of them. If not, consider downloading a third-party app that will provide you with a similar financial education.
Apps with spend tracking can help you see where your money is going in real-time. You can even categorize your purchases to see where you need to spend less.
A few of our favorite financial apps include Mint, You Need a Budget and Wally.
8. Set up balance alerts
While paying with a credit card is more convenient than dealing with cash, it can also be a lot easier to overspend. Sign up for balance alerts so you can receive an email or text when you reach your designated spending threshold.
This way, you can automatically track when you are overspending and reward yourself for sticking to the budget. You can even set up an alert to coincide with your credit utilization ratio so you can stop spending before it affects your credit score.
9. Maximize your rewards
If you are going to carry rewards credit cards make sure you know how to stack those rewards. Some rewards cards offer new cardmember bonuses, online shopping kickbacks, and bonus categories.
Credit cards are a competitive market. If you have good credit, you can take advantage of sign-up bonuses that often offer hundreds of dollars or thousands of points for new members.
Choose a credit card with the best sign-up bonus that you can afford. Often to receive the sign-up bonus you will need to spend a minimum amount in the first ninety days. If you can’t afford the initial spend amount, look elsewhere for a better card for you.
Some credit cards have online shopping portals that offer bonus cash back or points for shopping through the site with their credit card. If you already shop online, this is an excellent way to boost your rewards.
If you frequently shop at a certain retailer or use your credit card for one category (gas, groceries, restaurants, etc.), you will benefit from a credit card that offers quarterly bonus rewards. For example, a credit card may offer 3x rewards points for groceries from January through March. Using this card to buy all of your groceries for three months can considerably boost your rewards.
10. Don’t cancel unused credit cards (unless they have an annual fee)
Credit card benefits can fade after using them for a couple of years. Maybe you need a debt consolidation card or you prefer a cashback card to an airline card. Whatever the reason, switching credit cards for rewards that fit your current lifestyle is perfectly normal and encouraged.
Once you switch credit cards and your old card has a $0 balance, keep the account open. As long as this credit card doesn’t have an annual fee, it will cost you zero to keep the line of credit open.
Keeping old credit cards open also helps your credit score. Part of your credit score is determined by your “age of credit”. Your credit history may be shortened if an old credit card is removed, this alone can lower your credit score.
Closing unused cards also reduce your available credit line. With less credit, your credit utilization ratio increases even if you are not spending more. Unfortunately, your credit score can take a hit too.
If the credit card you are no longer using has an annual fee, you will need to see if paying the annual fee is worth the cost. Sometimes, an annual fee will be reimbursed through points or miles and is worthwhile.
Who is Wallet On Fire For?
Wall On Fire is for anyone interested in learning more about banking, investing, industry-leading financial software, and more.
You don’t have to work in the financial industry to appreciate the article topics we provide. It’s easier than you think to grasp money concepts that can positively change your saving and spending habits for the rest of your life.
Wallet On Fire editors work hard to ensure the information and tips on this site are accurate. They consistently work with the writing staff to provide engaging content that will help you make informed financial decisions.
Wallet On Fire contributors have a passion for financial success. They enjoy sharing their best tips to provide you with relevant financial information so you can share in their success
John Hughes is a content writer and digital marketing strategist that also has a strong background in finance. His unique background allows him to bring something special to the table by sharing knowledgeably where technology and money intercept. He shares his incite and information with the Wallet on Fire community to help move the mission of the company forward.