A 7-Step Way to Figuring out your Expenses and Saving Smartly

Reproduced from the blog whythezen by our dear friend Karabi Mitra. The blog was posted by her on May 7, 2017. Watch out for more articles from her only on Fintuned 🙂

It’s the same story every month right? You thought your spending was mostly under control this month, and you felt you were finally on the way to figuring out budgeting and saving. However, when the credit card bill finally knocked on your door, you got that same jolt of shock. You scanned the items and realized that there might have been a few things you could have done without. So, you promised yourself that you’d be more careful from next month. After paying off the bill, you promptly forgot about it till the same thing happened the month after.

Having suffered the same cycle myself for many months, I finally decided to take a calculated approach to my expenses. Following is a method I’ve been following to manage my expenses better.

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How To Master Your Credit Card Points

Remember the day you gave your heart to that ‘Little Black Dress’ at Zara only to find that you are 1000 bucks short on cash and a gentle swipe of this savior helped you walk away from the store with a beautiful dress and a more beautiful smile?

What about the day you finally materialized your Bangkok plan even without the money to pay for the tickets then because you had this angel come to your rescue?

Or the day you reached early at the Airport and binged on all those free (okay, complimentary) chocolate pastries while sitting on an exquisite leather couch in the lounge because of this plastic card?

And the day this savior helped you- little, ‘almost on the verge of broke’ mortal afford that elusive phone, dream home theatre, incredible DSLR camera and thundering speakers through EMI options and the flexibility to simply pay later.

Yes! I am talking about that all time savior we carry in our pockets every day. Our very own, always there for us – Our Credit cards!

 

 

But hey, the benefits of owning a credit card don’t just stop here!

Every time you swipe/use these plastic wonders you gain additional benefits in the form of reward points. “But those points are useless because we never redeem them”, you would argue. Well, it isn’t difficult and once you start redeeming your points, you will only regret all the times you didn’t do it in the past.  

First of all, let us begin with ways to increase your reward points without increasing your expenses.

  • Make unavoidable business purchases using a credit card-  If you are a start-up or even run an old business, try making your day to day business expenses through your card. You will not even realize when you accumulated enough points to be eligible to get a free flight ticket to Singapore.

To all those who would come up with their tax woes after reading this– Small traders and businesses with a turnover of up to Rs 2 crore will pay less tax if they accept payments through banking and digital means from FY 2017-18.It means your vendors benefit too from your credit card swipes!

  • Make purchases from the Credit card portal/website to earn additional points and get amazing deals – Most good credit card companies have their websites or portals where you can get amazing deals on various electronics/hotels/flight tickets and also earn additional points. Just go to Google and type the name of your Credit Card. You will find a login page where you can register and login.
  • Sign up for value Credit Cards( after some research) to enjoy the free signing bonus points that most companies provide to promote their cards – Imagine earning reward points for just getting a new card. Trust me, I am not kidding! 😉
  • Too much traveling? Sign up for Travel Credit cards – Travel a lot? Most credit card companies have exclusive travel cards which provide much better deals on booking flights than the simple cards and you can fulfill your Europe or Australia dream much quickly. There are additional benefits if you are loyal to a particular airline! (We all look for the cheapest flights. I know! )

Secondly, how to redeem these points?

  •  If you have an account in the Bank whose credit card you own, nothing could be better. Just link your card to your account through Net Banking. You will easily see your reward points and how to redeem them from the Net Banking portal itself.
  • Use Google wisely. Type your credit card name and sign in to the rewards page of your particular card. You will be asked your card number, name etc. Choose your gift and click on ‘redeem’. Your gift will reach you soon!

However, there are some things that you need to remember while enjoying the benefits of your credit card:

  • Pay bills on time to avoid late charges/interest – It is of no use to have 2000 reward points which are equivalent to Rs. 500 and paying Rs. 500 as penalty charges because you forgot to pay your bill.
  • Sign up for cards after checking the joining/annual fee – Yes, new cards give you the benefit of additional bonus points. But, do not sign up unless you are sure that the benefit of points is greater than its annual fee!

Just a little effort and research on these plastic saviors and you aren’t far away from MASTERING YOUR REWARD POINTS!