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5 ways to use credit cards to your advantage

Overview

Published: 10/19/2015

by Kevin Anderson

More information on how to use credit wisely is available at forwardthinking.tangerine.ca.

 Everyone needs to spend money – whether it's on groceries, gas, entertainment or travel – and how we manage this spending is just as important as the money we're putting away. While using a credit card may not be the right choice for everyone, if you manage your expenses and use your credit wisely, there can be numerous benefits. Krystal Yee, former personal finance columnist and blog author, has the following tips on how you can use credit cards to your advantage.

1. Pay it off – The number one rule when using a credit card is to only spend what you can afford. Paying your balance in full and on time will avoid interest charges that can add up and eat away at your bottom line.

2. Choose rewards wisely – Most credit cards offer rewards for the money you spend, and this can lead to more money in your pocket. Consider your lifestyle and spending habits to determine which card will work best for you. Cards like Tangerine's Money-Back Credit Card give 2% cash-back on purchases in two categories of your choice (for instance gas and groceries), and 1% cash-back on all other purchases. This card also has no annual fee.

3. Save while you spend – One of the best ways to use your credit card rewards is to put the points or cash-back towards your balance and not spend it on more stuff. Tangerine's card allows you to apply your rewards towards your credit card balance or have them redeemed into a savings account. This can be a great way to ensure rewards are working in your favour.

4. Follow your trail – Some credit cards allow you the ability to log into your account and see exactly where you have spent your money. Checking in often will allow you to stay on budget and ensure you're spending money in the right places.

5. Control your card – Setting your credit card limit to a range you are comfortable with (and know you can pay back) is a great way to control your spending. Another way to control your card is to simply leave it at home and take cash if you're going somewhere where you could be tempted to overspend, like a shopping mall or a bar.

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