Saturday, September 09, 2006


For most people credit cards and debit cards are the primary source of payment for anything they purchase. But have you focused on how you can benefit from using the plastic?

Here is a list of things that I look for in credit cards:
1. No annual fee!
2. Low interest rate but depends if you pay your bill in full which I highly recommend this is not a main concern.
3. Rewards, cash back program

What about debit cards?
Not many banks that issue debit cards offer any incentive but from my dealings Bank of America has the "Keep the Change" program and Citi mails me a card to earn up to $5 like once a year for using my citi debit card.

I prefer bank of America since if I really do have to use my debit card the Keep the Change Program adds up. How it works is that say I bought coffee for $4.50 at the end of the day they round that up to $5.00 and move the extra $0.50 from my checking to savings. They match my savings 100% for the first 3 months and 5% there after. One thing that bugs me is that you get the match up bonus on your anniversary date. Wish they did that monthly.

If you are applying for a card make sure you look for the best deal. I look for a sign up bonus be it a $100 or a free ipod. Then I look for what the card offers: the rewards program. Look for any cap on the amount you can earn, and qualifying purchases for points/rewards. A possible 0% balance transfer offer with no transaction fee to make money off of their money!

So what cards do I carry? A few that I used most often:
Amex Blue - One of the first cards I got. Not my ideal choice. Offers upto 5% cash back on gas and drugstore purchases BUT WAIT! The fine print is that you need to spend 6500.01 to get that before that there is a 0.5% on everyday purchases and 1% on gas. Not all transactions qualify for cash back!
Citi Simplicity - I got this card for the 10,000 sign up bonus in Thank You points that equates to a $100 gift card. Overall its a good card that offers a flat 1 point per dollar for every purchase not the best when it comes to rewards but it does offer a 12 month 0% balance transfer with no transaction fee!
Bank of America Power Rewards - Another card I like, 1 point for every dollar spent, ease of paying at any bank of America. Again I prefer a 5% back on gas and such. But this is good if you need to pay bills, tuition etc using a credit card and earn points on it. From my experience BoA has given me points for paying my tuition but AMEX did not :( I paid over $7000 and got nothing from AMEX wish I had used BoA or Citi~!
I will scout for the best credit card offers and post them ASAP I am aware of a few that seem great like the Chase Rewards and Bank of America AMEX card but I would like to finish my research to provide you with all the details so you can make a wise decision!
Mastercard Visa Image retrived from the internet and has no relationship with this website.

First Step: Track Your Expenses and Make a Budget

Step 1: Track your expenses

The first step to make a budget is to track your expenses and come up with a realistic amount for your budget. Track where you spend and make categories like Eating out, gas, entertainment (i.e. movies etc). I prefer making worksheets in Excel and I track my expenses daily. If you only use credit cards and cash only in rare cases then you can sign on to your credit card website either once a week or daily and record all your expenses and see where you stand.

I was spending close to $1000 and most of it was for dining out and entertainment. This month I have created a budget of only $500 which might seem drastically low but it really isn't. (I SPEND A LOT ON FOOD AND I NEED TO STOP THAT!!) This amount includes all my expenses that I have. All the savings goes into a high yield savings account and a monthly contribution to a Roth IRA. I will share my choices with you later on these subjects.

Here is a sample Budget for September

If anyone needs the excel file I use for my budget please email me and I will send you a copy. (It is a very simple basic template).

A little about myself...

How should I portray myself here? Should I divuldge personal information or create an imaginary persona of my liking? Should I portray an old wise man with lots of advice and experience or someone young with new ideas? Or should I just be who I am and work towards who I want to become?

I am a college student, recently I started working full time while still in school working on 3 that's right 3 Undergraduate degrees, I am senior in one program while a junior/sophomore in the other two. I have some set financial goals that I have set and am working to achieve. I have come a long way from being a spent thrift to now working on a controlled budget. I will share my strategies and experiences with you all and would appreciate any feedback and advice.

Another One...

Hello Fellow Readers!

This is yet another blog that deals with money. I am going to focus on saving and making money. Find the best deals, free stuff, promotions and share them with you. In case you are wondering why I set up a blog to share my financial goals, ideas, deals etc...The answer is simple, in this day and age we have to work to secure our future and personally I don't have too many people interested in these matter thus I will share it with the online community! Feel free to write to me at and share you thoughts.