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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Before You Switch Your Credit Card Yet Again

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Before You Switch Your Credit Card Yet Again

One way or another, we are all tempted by low teaser rates on credit cards. Many of us do have some credit card debt and wouldn't it be nice to not add more on top of what you are paying. Or at least that's how we like to rationalize it, don't we? Before you switch over to that zero interest credit card, or shop around for a new card, keep these tips in mind.

  • How long does the zero rate last and will you change your spending habits? It does no good to switch your balance over to another account..and then continue to charge it up! Divide the balance by the number of months. Vow to pay that amount each month. If you can't do that, then you would be better off with a low interest loan from your credit union instead.
  • See what the APR is once the zero interest period ends. Most of these teaser zero interest cards jump to some skyhigh rate after the "getting to know you" period is over. Are you prepared for that?
  • Decide NOW how and when you will pay off the balance. Six months may sound like a long time away. It is not...start with a plan before you even apply for that new card.
  • What other benefits does the card have and will you use those? I'm talking about purchase protection, extended warranties, frequent flyer miles. However nice they may sound, be sure you would use some of this stuff and actually need it. I know someone who buys every little gadget (aka cheap junk) their credit card company advertises in a monthly insert...conveniently put in there with your bill.
  • Does the card have an annual fee? There is no excuse for getting a credit card with an annual fee. With all the choices out there, this is an unwise choice. Find another card with similar offerings with no fee.
  • Does the card have a grace period? Search the verbage for those words. If you don't find it, don't go for it. You want to have a credit card that has at least a 25 day grace period, or else if you are even one minute late, the company can start charging you interest back from the day of purchase.
  • Don't overdo the credit carding. Too many open cards will hurt your credit score. The jury is still out if the constant closing and opening of credit card accounts can hurt your score. Many like to transfer their balances from zero to zero interest card..but really, is this a positive thing? Stop charging, live within your means and pay off the debt you have.
Do you use credit cards? Do you think they cause you to spend more money (it hurts to pay with cash, doesn't it)? Do you carry a balance or do you pay off your card every month? Do you frequently change credit cards? I am a big fan of the American Express Blue Cash card. We have it because we do pay off our balances each month, so we can really take advantage of their UNLIMITED cash back offer. Most credit cards have a cap at $300. The Blue Cash card was the only one I found that didn't have any such restrictions.



Blogger Linda said...

We (hubs and I) have one major card, shared between the two of us. I have a BofA card that I had before we went to a shared account. This card doesn't get used often, only on eBay or Paypal (since it's the registered card there) and I don't do a lot of buying.

We have a Sears card for those types of purchases. I have Kohl's card that has been used twice in 1 year.

All of those cards are paid off monthly. Generally, less than $500 a month is on any of those cards. Lately, it's been more, but that's because hubby's "charging" his schooling (getting his doctorate) and books. We DO have the money set aside for schooling, but we are charging only to get the extra points.

We don't carry credit. We don't have debt. (oh lucky us, we don't own a house right now!). Our cars are paid off, and are "old" considering. One is 4 years old, the other is 8.

And you know what? That's NICE. We're blessed with "credit sense". I hope this post helps others have some too!

February 1, 2008 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger ****Veteran Military Wife**** said...

WOW, Congrats to you guys! I think that's puts you in the top 1% of the population! Almost everyone has some kind of debt! We have four mortgages ourselves...our only debt...but considerable! I wonder sometimes what life would be like without them...sigh...

February 1, 2008 at 4:13 PM  

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