Credit Cards

Most Frequently Asked Question: Pay Off Debts Or Invest?

Over and over and over again, readers ask me some variation on this question: I have $1,000 in my hand. I am trying to decide if I’m better off paying off part of my credit card debt or investing it. What should I do? The thing is, my answer is almost always the same, and …

Credit Card Companies & High Rates

We are at that very point in time when a 400-year-old age is dying and another is struggling to be born — a shifting of culture, science, society, and institutions enormously greater than the world has ever experienced. Ahead, the possibility of the regeneration of individuality, liberty, community, and ethics such as the world has …

Categories: Credit Cards

Dave Ramsey vs. Suze Orman: Which Plan For Dealing With Debts Is Best?

Recently, AllFinancialMatters posed the following question: which method of getting out of debt works better, Suze Orman‘s or Dave Ramsey‘s? Here are the compared plans: Here’s Dave Ramsey’s Snowball Method for paying off credit cards: Step 1 – Make a list of all your credit cards, ranked in order from the highest balance to the …

Five Minute Finances #2: Call Your Credit Card Company

Five Minute Finances is a series of tips on how you can save significant money or reorganize your financial life in just five minutes. These tips appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on The Simple Dollar. Tip #2: Call your credit card company According to CardWeb, the average American household has approximately $9,200 in credit card …

Categories: Credit Cards, Money

Edward Bellamy, Inventor Of The Credit Card

One might have expected that the person who unleashed the credit card on the world would have been a captain of finance, an individual who headed a large bank (or at least an officer at one) or perhaps was the founder of MasterCard or Visa or Diner’s Club. In fact, none of the above were …

Categories: Credit Cards

Why Store Credit Cards Are A Bad Deal

I used to have a big pile of in-store credit cards for various chain stores. I would go into a store ready to make a big purchase and the person at the counter would say, “You can save 10% by signing up for our store credit card!” and I would think, “Yeah! It’s like a …

Categories: Credit Cards

Reader Question: College Student Crushed By Credit Cards

Recently, I received an email from a reader of The Simple Dollar who laid out an interesting yet familiar story: My girlfriend is a junior in college and she’s managed to dig herself into about $2500 worth of high-interest debt by accumulating credit cards from retail stores (20-24% interest rates). She always makes her minimum …

Digging Through The Comments: Readers Of The Simple Dollar Speak Out

Occasionally, I like to highlight comments about various articles on The Simple Dollar for several reasons. One, it lets me highlight some of my best readers and let them know that I really value their comments. Two, it lets everyone else know how integral comments are to The Simple Dollar. And three, after sifting through …

Personal Finance 101: Charge Cards and Credit Cards

Most people think that the phrases “charge card” and “credit card” are interchangeable; that they refer to the same thing. The truth is that they’re not. So let’s step back, look at the differences, and see which one is best for you. The Difference Between Charge Cards and Credit Cards Charge Cards A charge card …

Categories: Credit Cards

Simple Money Management Steps

One of the first money management steps I took when I reached financial armageddon was to take on my credit cards. I was paying hundreds of dollars each month in finance charges and it had to stop or else I would never get out of debt. I didn’t really want to go to a credit …

#17: Credit Cards

This is part of a series in which we re-evaluate Money Magazine’s “25 Rules To Grow Rich By”. One “rule” will be re-evaluated each weekday until the series concludes; you can keep tabs on the action at the 25 Rules index. What Kind of Credit Card Should I Own? Rule #17: The best credit card …

Categories: Credit Cards, Money

Personal Finance in a Plastic Economy

As we move more and more towards a cashless economy, many of the traditional techniques for saving money don’t work as well as they used to. Many of us no longer have as much pocket change or as many loose dollar bills because we make most of our purchases with a credit card or a …

Categories: Credit Cards, Money

How To Save Money: 5 Ways To Put Money In Your Pocket

Many people think about saving money, but decide that it’s too much work or it interferes too much with their lives. I’m usually this way, too; I’d rather not think about it when I’m hanging out with friends or spending time with family. I’m also not a big investor, so I don’t exactly plan on …

Using a Credit Card Bonus Program As a Purchase Tool

Recently, I’ve begun using a credit card with a useful bonus program as my tool for making small, regular purchases. I did this after finally climbing out of a significant hole of credit card debt, reaching a zero balance on every one of my cards. When I began using the card for this purpose, I …

Categories: Credit Cards, Money

A Guide To Using Froogle

I was surprised recently to find out that several regular readers of The Simple Dollar were completely unaware of Froogle, Google’s comparative shopping search engine. It’s such a powerful tool for finding good and reputable deals that I wrote up a brief tour of the site, including a clear example, so that you can see …

How to Build Credit in College

While I was reading a thread at The Consumerist on ways to get started with credit, I found myself repeatedly shaking my head at the number of extremely questionable ideas that people were coming up with.  Buying CDs and using them as loan collateral simply to improve your credit seems like financial suicide to me. …

The Road to Financial Armageddon #9: The Road to Recovery

Yesterday, I described my financial meltdown, when I reached a point where there was more money going out each month than coming in with no real hope for redemption without a change from within. Then, thanks to some inspiration, I made that change. The first thing I did was I laid out every single expense …

Introductory Credit Card Offers: Risks & Rewards

One advantage of building a strong credit rating is that you begin to receive many credit card offers with introductory 0% APR for six months or a year. These cards are great if you’re carrying a balance on another card; request a balance transfer when you sign up and the interest goes away. Of course, …

The Road to Financial Armageddon #8: Meltdown

Yesterday, I detailed the impact of a baby on my downward financial spiral; suffice it to say, the finances were not good. Everything was set up for a collapse and I inched up to the precipice, largely oblivious of how close I was to the lip of Mount Doom. The most fundamental problem was that …