Most credit cards these days have incentive programs that offer you rewards just for using your card. When you shop, you spend money, and the more money you spend, the more points you acquire. Frequent flyer programs that are affiliated with major airlines are perhaps the most well-known of these kinds of programs but there are other ways to take advantage of this kind of incentive.
Perhaps because frequent flyer programs have been so successful in marketing both credit cards and the affiliated airlines, many other companies have taken to adopt a similar strategy. For this reason, you can get credit cards with rewards programs for nearly anything. You can use your card, then to pay for something that you would normally pay for with cash. When the transaction is approved, you will get your allotment of points added to your account. You can do this as many times as you need to, as long as it always in substitution of instances where you would have used cash. At the end of the month, when it comes time to pay bills, simply take the money you would have spent on those purchases and pay off the credit card balance.
There are many credit card companies that offer you a low APR if you transfer your balances to their card. Sometimes this rate can be as low as 0%. This is almost always an introductory variable rate that will adjust after a period of 6 or 12 months. While you are working with this low rate for a limited time, though, you have the opportunity to consolidate all of your debt onto one card which will make them easier to pay off. Your goal, then, should be to pay off this balance transfer total by the end of the introductory period.
By doing this you reduce the minimum amount of money that you have to pay every month to the several credit card companies you had before. You also remove the obligation of making several payments all on different due dates. You also reduce the frequency and total amount of fees that are charged to you if you miss payments. However, the most important thing that you do is increase your ability to pay it off because you can now more easily contribute a higher payment every month.
Another reason why this is a good idea is because you can keep the old cards open, which create a couple of different benefits. Obviously, having a little breathing room with some open credit is always a good idea. However, what you might not realize is that closing these cards can actually hurt your credit score. This is because the credit bureaus use a credit-to-debit ratio when determining your credit health. Oddly, the more credit you have available, the better you look to credit card companies. This, of course, can save you money by keeping your overall interest rates low.
One of the most interesting ways to save money is to use credit cards to buy gift cards which you will use for yourself. This might sound a bit strange, but it is actually simple and very practical. Find a discounted gift card that offers an immediate savings like a $50 value for only $40. You save 20% at the register. In most cases, these cards only apply to a specific store since they are a way for companies to market themselves. If you find a store that you frequent, however, you can save yourself a few hundred dollars over the course of a year, just for buying things you were already planning to buy anyway.
When you use your credit card to buy these gift cards, you still get to take advantage of whatever rewards program your credit card company offers. Whether it is cash back, frequent flyer miles, points rewards or in-store coupons, you will continue to save money just for using your card effectively.