Tag: Money Management

How to Stop Using Credit Cards

The post How to Stop Using Credit Cards appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

The reason most people are in debt is due to credit cards. These little pieces of plastic tempt you with high limits and low payments.  They are simple to use and often a hard habit to break.  You have to teach yourself how to stop using credit cards and end the cycle of more debt.

credit card debt

According to the Federal Reserve, Americans have accumulated $992 billion in credit card debt (as of November 2016).  While many people pay them off every month, there are thousands of others who do not.

They just pay the minimum and then continue to use the cards, resulting in increasing debt. If you are serious about wanting to get out of debt, you have to take steps to stop using your credit cards and racking up more debt.

Read More:

  • Why Your Credit Score Matters and How to Increase It
  • How to Pay off Credit Card Debt
  • The Five Mistake People Make When Getting Out of Debt

HOW TO STOP USING CREDIT CARDS

UNDERSTAND WHY YOU SHOP

It is so easy for someone on the outside looking in to tell you to stop spending. However, if it were that simple, you would have quit long ago, right? Before you can stop spending, you have to know why you are doing it.

Your reason could be to replace something missing in your life. It might be the high you get from spending. Your logic is not wrong. It is your own.

Once you understand why you shop, you can then start to work on that, and in turn, your desire to buy as much can slowly fade as well.  Knowing the reason why is one of the first things you must do finally break the cycle of credit card debt.

Read more:  Why you continue to overspend

 

CUT UP THE CARDS

I know that this is pretty extreme, but the truth is that it works.  If you do not have cards to use, you can’t rack up additional debt.

If you are nervous about getting rid of them altogether, put them on ice.  Literally. Put your credit card in a bowl of water and freeze it.  When you feel you need your card, it will be more challenging to get to, and the urge to use it may pass more quickly.

 

USE ONLY CASH

One thing that goes hand-in-hand with cutting up the credit cards is sticking with cash.  That doesn’t mean a debit card.  It is using paper money.

When you use cash, you have to think twice about what everything costs.  When the money is gone, you can’t spend any more.

When you use a debit card, you can still spend more than you intend.  That is never the case with cash.

If you have $100 to spend with cash, you can not make a purchase that is $105.  But, with a debit card, you still can.

It is far to easy to swipe plastic.

Read more:  Setting up and using a cash budget

 

SET UP REWARDS

A simple trick to sticking to not using your cards is to set up milestone rewards.  For instance, if you can go one week without using your card, allow yourself an extra coffee the following week.

As you reach more and more milestones, such as paying off a card, going six months without using plastic, etc., set up small rewards for yourself.  Just make sure that you never cover the cost of your reward by using your credit card!!

 

CREATE A VISION BOARD

If you want to stop using credit cards and pay off your debt, it is helpful to have a goal in mind.  It may be to afford the new car you want or buy a home. It might even be to live without feeling so much stress.

Whatever your reason, create a vision board.  When you have a clear vision of what will happen when you reach your goal, the more likely you are to stay on track.

 

GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER

The best way to stop is to have someone to help keep you on track.  An accountability partner can do just that.

If you are in a relationship, you will be accountable to your partner (of course).  However, if you both have a difficult time not using credit, you might want to look beyond yourselves.  Find another couple who is in the same situation as you are and become accountable to one another.

However, if you are single, then it may be a bit more challenging to find someone.  Reach out to friends and family to find someone with whom you can connect and help one another.

 

TRACK EVERY PURCHASE

When you have a cash budget, you get into the habit of doing this.  However, if you are not ready to make that leap, start tracking every purchase you make.

Sometimes, seeing where you spend your money can be enough to make you want to throw the credit cards away for good.

Read more:  How to track your spending

 

MAKE SURE YOU BUDGET WORKS

You absolutely must have a budget.  There is no way to get around it.  But, more than just a budget, it needs to be a budget that works.  Sit down and go back over your budget to see where you may be spending too much and see if you can find ways to make improvements.

Also look carefully at how much money you spend on credit card debt each month.  Imagine what you could do with that money if you did not have to send it away to someone else.

Read more:  How to create a budget that works

 

Put some simple strategies to work and you’ll stop using credit cards and can get in control or your money.  Finally.

stop using credit cards

The post How to Stop Using Credit Cards appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

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Save money (and stay connected) with the best budget smartphones

The post Save money (and stay connected) with the best budget smartphones appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

I remember my first cell phone. It was a Nokia 3360.

Back then, it was all the rage, and coming from battery-draining car phones, it was a step up.

A lot has changed since my indoctrination into the world of mobile devices. Cell phones are no longer just phones.

Today’s smartphones are handheld computers that can connect you to information and people around the world in mere seconds.

But, with the development of its supercomputer functionalities, mobile phones have also exponentially increased in price.

Though my Nokia 3360 now sells for a mere $25 on eBay and can probably be listed as a historical artifact, today’s most popular smartphones start in the hundreds of dollars.

In fact, you’ll find most prices quoted as a monthly payment so as not to deter consumers from the actual price tag that they’ll be financing.

Regardless, owning a smartphone doesn’t have to break the bank. There are budget options available that can save you money while still allowing you to stay connected.

It’s possible to buy a budget smartphone and save yourself some expense. Since most people finance their phone through their cell phone bill, buying a budget smartphone — like an iPhone SE or an older model like an iPhone 6s — can lower your monthly phone bill. It’s also possible to buy a budget phone — whether it be an Apple phone or an Android Phone — that still has advanced features like extended battery life and a fingerprint sensor.

Here are 3 budget smartphones that you can purchase to save money.

Motorola Moto e6

The Motorola phones rank high among tech reviews for economical smartphones. The Moto e6, in particular, is one of the brand’s most affordable phones.

Motorola describes it as having all of your standard smartphone features, but at an unbelievably low price.

This particular phone starts at only $99.

Nokia Android Phones

If you’re looking for a tried and true mobile phone brand, Nokia has definitely stood the test of time.

These Android phones have the same standard features and overall sleek look as their more costly counterparts.

Nokia offers its smartphones starting at just $50.

Samsung Galaxy A0

This popular Android makes the list of budget-friendly smartphones as well, starting at $99.

The Samsung Galaxy is one of the most popular Android phones — repeatedly making tech lists for best Android phones.

Though much cheaper than its most popular models, the A0 can be a great alternative.

If your budget is a bit higher than $100, then you may consider other options from these brands as well.

A higher, yet still reasonable budget can also afford you an older model iPhone. Walmart offers Apple’s popular iPhone 7 as a prepaid option for just $199.

What to consider when budgeting for a smartphone

The amount of money that you budget for your phone should be based on how you plan on using it.

What you use your cell phone for will determine which features you will need on your phone. And, as expected, the features will impact the overall cost.

For instance, if you want to use your phone solely for talking, then the camera capabilities won’t matter as much.

Similarly, if you’re purchasing a phone for a child who just wants to play games and use it for emergencies, then speed and storage space should be the factors that are important to you.

For a child, an old phone may work just fine. Kids don’t need to store a credit card on their phone or have face ID. You can avoid getting a flagship phone and do less damage to your checking account by buying budget Android phones. Set a financial goal and be willing to sacrifice features like a front camera or wireless charging in order to to get them.

A cheap Android device or older iPhone can still access mobile data, make calls, and send texts. You can keep your fixed expense low with a cheap phone. It may be short on internal storage, lack a fingerprint scanner, only have a rear camera, and still have a headphone jack (a positive that newer phones lack) but it should be able to do most, if not all, of the things you need it to do.

Where to find budget smartphones

You can always find budget-friendly smartphones online.

To ensure that you’re actually getting what you’re paying for, I suggest going directly to the manufacturer’s website and not a third-party site.

Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a better deal and the ability to negotiate with the seller, consider purchasing from sites like eBay.

Cell phone carriers like Verizon, T-mobile, and Sprint also carry less expensive smartphones within their stores. So, if you want to try one out before you purchase it, just visit a local store.

Weigh all of the costs when purchasing a smartphone

The cost of a smartphone doesn’t just stop with the purchase price.

There are other factors that will need to be taken into account when you’re trying to budget for a cell phone.

Here are some things to consider:

Service fees

Unless you plan to use a prepaid cell phone, you’ll need to plan for monthly service fees from a cell phone carrier.

This will include the cost of cellular data usages, activation fees, taxes, and more.

Accessories

Though smartphones come with the basic accessories to operate, like a charger, you’ll have to purchase other items separately.

Accessories such as a case, screen protector, earphones, and an additional charger are items that you’ll need to consider in your budget for your phone.

These items can be purchased from third parties to save on costs.

Repairs

I’ve dropped enough smartphones to know that damage is unavoidable. Even with the best protection, you may still need to repair your phone.

Mainstream phone carriers will offer insurance coverage options that can add to the overall cost of your phone. Although, in many cases, you will still have to pay for a portion of your repair costs even though you’re covered.

A cheaper alternative is cell phone repair shops or kiosks that can handle quick repairs, like a broken screen.

Tips for saving money on your smartphone

Still need some help with saving money on your phone? Here are my final tips.

Don’t purchase the latest model

If you’re trying to keep costs at a minimum, avoid purchasing the latest model of any smartphone.

Technology is ever-evolving and changing at a rapid pace. So even if you own the newest release, by the next day it’s already old technology.

This means that you might as well save your money and purchase a model that is a bit older.

As long as it functions and does what you need it to do, an older model will suffice.

Shop during the holidays

It’s no secret that the best deals happen during the holiday season.

If you’re in the market for purchasing a new phone, consider waiting until Black Friday or the day after Christmas to see some real discounts.

Also, consider shopping on sites like Woot to take advantage of flash sales and deep discounts on electronics.

Use wifi

This tip is one that will help you once you’ve purchased your smartphone.

To avoid unnecessary fees with your carries, be sure to leverage wifi as much as possible.

This means that instead of using your cellular data to search the internet or to use apps on your phone, you connect to wifi instead.

This is quite simple to do, as most public establishments have free wifi options for patrons. Use it to your advantage to save some extra money.

You can save money

Be smart about spending your money on smartphones. There are reliable, yet budget-friendly phones that can meet your needs.

Use these tips to find one that’s right for you!

–By Fo Alexander

 

The post Save money (and stay connected) with the best budget smartphones appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.

Source: pennypinchinmom.com