Credit Is A Tool Not To Be Scared Of.

Used correctly, credit can be an incredible asset to your financial stability. Used incorrectly, it can be your downfall. The keys are knowing what to do with it, how and when to use it, and how to maintain it. While carrying debt can get you in to all sorts of trouble, using credit in the right way can actually open all sorts of doors and save you a ton of cash. Years ago, I was had over $20K in credit card debt, all of which was accumulated by purchasing stuff like CD’s, stereo equipment, vacations, and expensive dinners. On top of the debt I had, my credit score also took a nosedive, meaning I had to pay more for any borrowed money. It took me a very long time to pay that balance off, so since then I have been diligent about keeping card balances to a minimum. However, I do still use credit every month, and here is why:

  • Using credit responsibly shows other lenders you are able to manage debt, which means you have access to the lowest interest rates on things like auto loans and mortgages.
  • Using credit responsibly can make or break your credit score. While most assume this is only for used for getting a good loan, it can be used for other life events like renting an apartment. With a bad credit score, an apartment manager might not rent to you.
  • By paying most of my monthly bills on a credit card, I can keep my cash in the bank just a little bit longer and let the credit card company part with their money first.
  • I had airline miles rewards cards for years and got many free flights from them. Since I no longer fly, I now have an Amtrak Rewards card and rack up miles for free trips or upgrades.
  • By using 0% balance transfer offers correctly, you can effectively cut your interest rate on any debt while simultaneously giving yourself a jump on paying off said debt.

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If you are able to manage credit, it can be a tremendous tool you can use for your benefit. It took me years to get there, but now I am in control of credit and it is no longer in control of me. So when you are ready and able, do not be scared of credit – just learn to use it to your advantage.

Have you recently started using credit again after being in debt or taking a hiatus? Have any tips or advice to share with the readers? Please let us all know!


Pay Estimated Taxes? They Are Due Tomorrow, September 15th.

If you pay estimated taxes, please do not forget to pay your 3rd quarter installment which is due at the IRS tomorrow, September 15th. I have been paying estimated taxes for almost 4 years now as a self-employed taxpayer, and while it can be a pain in the butt to set aside that taxes due each quarter, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And while many people send in the paper forms with a check every quarter, I pay my taxes due online with my Amtrak Rewards credit card. Sure, there is a little fee that goes along with it, but the miles I earn by paying thousands of dollars every 3 months far outweigh the cost. The IRS’ official way of paying estimated taxes online is through Official Payments, which is how I pay mine. So if you owe estimated taxes, be sure to pay them by the end of the day tomorrow!

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How To Save Money On Printer Ink.

A few months ago, I ran out of ink for my HP C4280 in the middle of a big printing job. “No problem”, I thought, as I opened my supply drawer only to find that I had no new ink cartridges! This meant only one thing — I was going to have to drive into town to buy ink at some ridiculous cost. So how much was my color ink cartridge from the local office supply store here in town? A whopping $28.99! That expense hurt really bad, but I didn’t have time to either buy ink over the internet or drive to Santa Fe to go to a more popular office store. So I learned a valuable lesson on being prepared, and I now buy my ink online in advance and have it shipped to my house. This saves me a ton of money and a 69 mile run to the store in Santa Fe! Since prices vary so often, and some stores offer free shipping or discounts, I always check a bunch of different websites before I do my ordering. Here are three that I have actually tried and been pretty happy with so far:

123InkJets.com – As of the writing of this article, a remanufactured color ink cartridge is $12.99 while a brand new one is $17.99, which is $11 less than the one at my local store.

4InkJets.com Right now with this company, a remanufactured color cartridge is also $12.99 but a brand new one is $15.99, or $2 less than 123InkJets.

Inkgrabber.com At InkGrabber, a remanufactured cartridge is $13.99 while a new one is $21.99.

So you can see how prices can vary, from company to company, for the exact same ink product. In fact, by the time this article gets published, these prices may have changed already! Most online ink companies do ship for free and don’t charge taxes, so there is some additional saving there. Be sure to check for coupons and codes on the web as well. Also, in case you were wondering or afraid to do so, I buy remanufactured ink cartridges most of the time (depending on the prices), and have never had any problems with them. It’s yet another good way to save money on ink!


Sunday Money Roundup – Winter Is Getting Close Edition.

I get up around 6am every morning, feed the cat, make the coffee, and then sit outside for a few minutes with said coffee to enjoy the quiet. However, while only 2 weeks ago I could go out in a short sleeve shirt, I now need to put on a sweatshirt as it has been 40 degrees or less every morning. The trees in my yard are slowly turning yellow and dropping some leaves, and the cat even seems less willing to head out the door. Winter is coming – and I am not at all mentally ready for it. Can’t we back up a few weeks? *Sigh*…on to the roundup…

A guest post by Jeff Rose over at WiseBread says that you should Do a Background Check Before Hiring Your Financial Advisor.

Moolanomy has investing advice for those of you looking to get involved in Options, Puts, and Calls.

Brip Blap tells you why you shouldn’t worry about your children’s future. I could not agree more.

Cash Money Life talks about the Best Brokerages for a Roth IRA Account.

Frugal For Life talks Speed, Fuel Economy and More.

Man Vs. Debt has 42 Ways To Radically Simplify Your Financial Life. I am pretty good at doing this, but I know I need to do more.

Money Crashers says that Americans Are Becoming More Frugal And Saving More Than Ever Before.

Consumerism Commentary has an interesting article up about Paying Off a 30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage in 15 Years.

Million Dollar Journey wants you to take baby steps towards your financial goals.

The Digerati Life touches on a sensitive topic for many – Who’s Better At Managing Money: Men or Women?


Money Quote Friday – In All Recorded History Edition.

In all recorded history there has not been one economist who has had to worry about where the next meal would come from.” — Peter Drucker

Have a great weekend everyone!

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