The Charge-It Blog

  • Tom O'Connell

    6 ways to save money with your plastic

    It’s all about saving during America Saves Week, and saving is something we all can do better. Just 40 percent of U.S. households are doing a good job saving money, according to an annual survey by Consumer Federation of America, which started the nationwide saving initiative in 2001.

    “America Saves Week reminds people across our country of the value of developing a financial plan and saving to help achieve their goals,” says Thomas J. Curry of the U.S. Treasury Department on the AmericaSavesWeek website.

    Saving tips and tricks
    America Saves offers 54 ways to save on everything from entertainment to home heating and cooling.card-match_Sm

    Among the tips are six ideas to save by smartly using credit and debit cards:

    1. Track your spending. Every month, sit down and review your credit card statements and other records, and analyze your purchases. Decide if some of your discretionary spending can go toward an emergency fund instead.

    2. Limit your credit card purchases. Buy things on credit only if you’re able to pay them off in full before interest accrues.

    3. Watch those overdraft fees. Never rely on your debit card’s overdraft option.

    4. Bring your credit card debt down by $1,000, which can save you up to $200 a year, and a lot more if you’re paying high penalties.

    5. Make your card payments on time. Those late fees add up and can really take a toll on your credit score.

    6. Save around $150 a year by using only ATMs in your network.

    Create a plan for successful saving
    The America Saves survey found that those who have a “savings plan with specific goals” are more successful. Eighty-four percent of respondents with a saving plan spend less than their income and save the difference, compared to 46 percent of those without a plan. Over half of those with a plan reported “making good or excellent saving progress,” compared to less than a quarter of those without a plan.

    To get started on your own savings goals, America Saves invites you to “take the pledge.” The online tool allows you to enter a savings goal and a set length of time to achieve it. America Saves will send you regular text messages containing tips and reminders to help you along the way.

    Never too late to start saving
    One of the central messages of America Saves Week is that it’s never too late to start saving. Even as America Saves Week (Feb. 22-27) is ending, you can start setting some financial goals — for a vacation, an emergency fund or your retirement.

    “It’s a common theme to see expenses and debt get in the way of retirement savings,” says Kathy Stokes, director of the American Savings Education Council, in a news release. “But even saving just a small amount can add up over time.”

    SEE ALSO: 8 ways spare change can help you live a richer life

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  • Jeff Herman

    Score more points, miles, cash using CardMatch

    Want to get more miles, points and cash when you seek a credit card? Take our CardMatch tool for a spin. It’s fast, secure and personalized with special sign-up bonuses on cards matched to your credit score.

    Just enter your address and Social Security number (which is not shared and not stored) at CardMatch. There’s no hard credit inquiry on your credit report unless you complete a card application.card-match_Sm

    As editor here, I checked out CardMatch, powered by CreditCards.com, for myself. Special offers for my excellent credit included 50,000 miles on a rewards card (double the amount offered on that card’s website), 20,000 extra bonus miles on another rewards card (the card is currently offering 30,000 miles at sign-up), $250 cash back ($100 more than what is regularly advertised) on a card and $50 extra cash back on another card at sign-up.

    Talk about news you can use, right? The extra travel points could help get me to my next vacation getaway. And extra cash is always a good thing.

    In addition to the sign-up bonus offers, CardMatch found dozens of cards matched to my credit profile and sorted by issuer, cash back, balance transfer, low interest, rewards, travel and airline. In each category, there were a few cards matched for my credit profile, so depending on the type of card I might add to my wallet, CardMatch had made the selection process easier.

    Fast, secure and personalized. It just makes sense — and maybe even extra dollars in your pocket or bonus miles to help with your next trip — to check out CreditCardGuide’s CardMatch.

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  • Kayla Albert

    Cash from an ATM? All you’ll need is your phone

    Left your card at home? No worries. In a few months your smartphone may let you to pull cash from your bank’s ATM.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are planning to roll out fleets of these mobile-friendly ATMs in the second part of 2016. While the mobile-friendly ATMs aren’t new, they’ll be a lot more common by year-end.

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  • Kayla Albert

    1099-C: Not all forgiven debt is forgotten at tax time

    When you’ve struggled under the heavy weight of debt for some time, receiving debt forgiveness can feel like a breath of fresh air. But for many unsuspecting consumers, a rude financial awakening will show up later — a 1099-C “Cancellation of Debt” tax form.

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  • Alyssa N. Ammirato

    U.S. presidents on money, debt and credit

    The position of POTUS comes with great financial responsibility. Just consider the bailouts of Wall Street and the auto industry. Or Main Street issues as basic as credit card protections.

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  • Dawn Papandrea

    This Valentine’s Day, talk money with your honey

    Couples who have dollar dates together, stay together. That’s the big takeaway of TD Bank’s Love & Money study, which polled 1,339 Americans in 2015. The study found that couples who have regular cash conversations are happier than those who consider money talk taboo.

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  • Alyssa N. Ammirato

    ‘Groundhog Day’ money mistakes I kept making

    In my own version of the movie “Groundhog Day,” I made the same financial mistakes over and over and over again. But also like Bill Murray’s TV weatherman character, by making several small changes over time, I eventually improved my finances and broke the cycle of fiscal fumbles.

    You can too.

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