I Have Cards..Now What? – Effectively managing your credit to maximize rewards

As a wanderluster taking advantage of credit card bonuses, it can sometimes feel rather intimidating to think about all cards I have open and whether or not I have charges out on them.  For someone who is checking out this blog for the first time, or has already gotten started, let me give you a few pointers that have helped me.  After all, getting some sweet deals loses its luster if you can’t manage the cards and end up with late fees. Here is a list of my thoughts on how to be wise…..

  1. Autopay- I use this feature as much as possible.  The great thing is that it usually pulls the amount out of my account on the last day of my statement.  Thereby it gives me enough time to make sure that the amount of money that I need to be in the account is there.
  2. Mint.com–  I will probably post about this website later, but it is awesome.  It consolidates all of your bank accounts, credit card accounts, loans, etc., into one secure location.  A friend of mine works in the electronic security department of a bank, and he even uses this service.  I totally recommend it because it lets me know at one time how much I have on all of my credit cards in one place.  That way I don’t have so sign in to all of my accounts individually.
  3. Pay Everything- Make sure that you are paying EVERYTHING with your credit cards.  Car insurance, health insurance, groceries, decorations, food, etc.  Make all of your traditional expenses on your cards to make sure that you are racking up the most points possible.
  4. Staple Cards (See our ad for the staple card we like best below)- Your staple cards are your ticket to the new hot cards.  Don’t forget about them.  I try to use mine at least once every few months just to show that I am using it consistently.  You also run the risk of them putting the card at an inactive status.  Make sure that you continue to use them once in a while and that you are still meeting your spending requirements on the new hot cards.
  5. Carrying Cards- Let’s be honest.  I have more cards than I can comfortably carry, so  I never carry all of them at once.  I like to focus on a single card or two until I’ve met the spending requirement.  That way, at the end of the month, I have one big payment on one card, as opposed to many small payments on different cards.
  6. Spending Requirements- Once you have met the spending requirements you want to make sure that you keep using the card from time to time to make sure that the company doesn’t target you as a promotion-abuser.  You don’t want to end up on their blacklist because they just might have a sweet deal on a card for you next month.
  7. Keep em open- Remember to keep your cards alive for at least the first year.  You want to extend your length of average credit history to the longest time possible.  If you call the company up at the end of the first year and they won’t waive the annual fee (Amex usually won’t) or give you any retention bonus, then cancel the thing.  Plan on getting ran through the ringer.  They pass you off a few times before it is actually canceled, but always try for something.

Plan everything out and make sure that you are never late on your payments.  Remember that your credit is important in getting a mortgage and other necessary loans.  In the simple advice of one who knows, “O be wise, what can I say more?”

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1 Response to I Have Cards..Now What? – Effectively managing your credit to maximize rewards

  1. Andrew says:

    Mint.com is a great site. I use it all the time. Makes life a lot easier.

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