Money, Rewards Credit Card Q&A

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Q: Do you have any tips on how to select a [rewards] credit card that suits you best?

I’m still very new to this, so I’m no expert whatsoever! When I first started out I referenced this beginners guide from The Points Guy.. there are some recommended/top cards there. Then, once you find a card you’re interested in, try to google lots of credit card for the pros & cons.

There are so many cards out there that give out rewards! Cash, airline, hotel, etc. See what rewards are the most important to you. For me, I wanted hotel points for future vacation stays. After doing some research, I chose the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest card. (I may do a review on it once I use it to book a hotel stay in the future. Email me here if you’d like a Starwood card referral.)

Also, you’ll really have to make sure you can make the minimum spend for each card’s point bonus. Really evaluate your spending habits to see if you can make it. Do not get into debt for mere rewards points!

Q: How do u keep track off your expenses?

I use Mint.com to track my expenses (they link my accounts online), or you can use Learnvest’s budgeting tool.

Try this Excel spreadsheet if you prefer not to link your financial accounts to a third online party:

Q:  How can I save money?

Is there anything you can cut down? I know its hard to think about. Either you will have to cut down on your fixed expenses (rent, cell), and/or shopping, or you will have to find a way to make more money. If you keep spending more than you earn you’ll end up in debt. High interest rates and only making monthly payments is a very deep hole that is difficult to get out of. That takes a lot of time.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to try to hit the BIG things. A) Income and B) Fixed expenses like rent. Changing those two things will benefit you the most, but they are the toughest things to do. Get a second income stream, find a better job, babysit, etc., or find a cheaper rental apartment, or get some roommates to split up the housing cost.

Cooking will definitely help stretch your money, even if you don’t cook from scratch. Boxed meals, canned food, etc. will always be cheaper than takeout because you’ll have food leftover for the next meal. Not very healthy, but then again, eating out isn’t always healthy either.

Cell phone bill: if you have a data plan, can you reduce it?

Shopping. This is tough. I know its hard to refrain from shopping (yup I would know) but when thinking about buying something you have to keep your priorities first and foremost in your mind. Really think about what you want in life, and in your wardrobe or makeup collection. Many times I covet a clothing item/makeup, I buy it, and a week later I’m already over it. All of that money could have gone somewhere else instead of sitting in my closet/on my vanity, if not to savings, it could have gone to a much better, higher quality piece instead. This is what helps me personally, but of course it could be different for you and your own personal way of shopping.

I hope this helped! Earning and saving money is hard. It takes a lot of discipline and delayed gratification, but it’ll be worth it for you in the end.

♥ E&I