How to Make Credit Cards work For You

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In the times we live in, people only talk about not using, tearing up and throwing away credit cards.  For most, this may be the best thing, but not because credit cards can’t be helpful.  Now a days even those who are very frugal, may have debt, due to the economic crisis the world is facing.  However, God willing, once this crisis is over, you really can make credit cards work for you!  I remember my first credit card.  I was a hardworking teen, with an advanced curriculum in school, a part-time job and a JcPenney card.  You couldn’t tell me NOTHING!   However I made sure whatever dollar amount I charged on my card, I already had in my checking account to cover it.  It was just a bourgeois thing to flash the card.  I actually started to collect cards.  It was a real rush to know I could go into Saks Fifth Avenue and buy what ever I wanted!  Most of my credit cards NEVER had balances!  When I got my first major credit card, a Visa, the novelty of the pretty department store cards wore off.  I wasn’t using them anyway.  I closed most of them.  I also noticed that the rate on the VISA was so much lower and that the VISA card also came with many benefits.  Currently I have a few Platinum cards and here’s how I make them work for me:

Use cards that have over 3% or more cash back.  Mine pays 5% on every purchase.  That’s FREE Money!  Free Money!  Again, you must have the mindset that whatever you charge on the card is money you ALREADY have in your checking account.  Budget  and figure what you use every pay day.  Put that cash in your checking account.  Then use the free cash paying credit card instead and pocket the FREE money.  Again did I say free? You’re going to buy groceries, gas and clothes anyway, why not get a guaranteed discount on it all?

Use cards with frequent flyer miles and USE the miles.  Take a bit of time to pay attention to the accumulation of miles and if there are dates that you can’t use them.  Plan your vacation in advance and take advantage of this Free benefit.  Especially if you fly often or have family far away, this can add up to a real savings!

Some cards offer major shopping discounts when you use their card at particular stores.  For instance one of my cards pays me up to 12% when I shop at my favorite stores with the Platinum card.  Using a major credit card instead of the department store credit card is much better when it comes to the interest rate as well.  Look for these special offers on your credit cards website.

Many Platinum cards extend the warranty for up to a year on ANYTHING you buy!  That’s a benefit that can come in handy when buying big ticket items like: televisions, refrigerators, furnaces, etc.   Some of these items seem to be made to break as soon as the warranty is up!  How comforting to know you can let your credit card work for you by extending that warranty!

Use the insurance that your credit card offers when renting automobiles.  You don’t need to purchase the insurance for your rental car, when you use a major credit card.  Check your card to make sure it has this benefit.  It’s one that’s often overlooked or that many people forget they have!

Check your Platinum card to see if you have Purchase Assurance coverage.  Mine does and this is an extremely Great benefit.  If you purchase your new item with your major credit card and it’s damaged or stolen, that’s right, damaged or stolen within 90 days of it’s purchase, you are covered!  You won’t find this security buying with cash!

I can’t stress enough however to make sure that you already have the money for your purchases, before you buy the items.  These are a few ways you can make credit cards work for you, instead of working to pay for the credit cards!

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