I have to admit I’m not a fan of credit cards. I delayed having one, until many years ago when I took a trip with my mother to the Pacific Northwest. We’d booked a rental car and when we landed at the airport, my mother discovered she’d left her driver’s license at home. I handed over mine but because I didn’t have a credit card they wouldn’t let us rent the car in my name, even though we had mom’s credit card.
Long story short, my mom did find her driver’s license after another search of her purse and we got our rental car. All was not lost but when I got home, the whole experience taught me if you’re going to do anything, including building a good credit score, or even something as simple as renting a car, you need a credit card.
Since then I’ve had one but only use it for purchases I know I can pay for that month…and for situations like renting cars.
However, are they always a Budget Smart Girl’s enemy? Not if you’re smart and there are some perks.
Here are some ways a credit card can work for you and not against you….
You Get a Bonus – Some credit cards offer you immediate cash and credit the moment you open the account and if you use it within a certain amount of time.
If you pay the bill off before it adds interest then it’s a great deal.
You Get Cash Back – If you’re going to get cash back for your purchases, and you’re going to pay it off before any interest is added, then it’s a good deal.
Points to You– Some cards offer points which can be used for things like flights, hotel rooms, and even buying groceries or gas. Each card is different.
Find a card that offers points for things you already use often. Then use the card for planned purchases, pay the full balance each month, and collect your points which are like even more free money.
It Helps Your Savings Account – Some cards will put money into savings for you. One popular card works like this: You make a purchase and it rounds up the purchase, putting the money into savings, then they add to it (usually up to a certain amount) practically doubling your investment. If you pay the card off each month.
Look out for part two of this post next week where I tell you about more perks of being smart when using credit cards.