Coming from a financial literacy advocate, this title may seem odd. Does owning a credit card make me less of an advocate? If I want to achieve financial independence, then why would I want to talk about credit cards and shopping? Well, that’s because I advocate saving smart rather than saving hard and delaying all the gratifications until you’re 60.
Here are some personal tips for those of you who want to balance your savings and spending plan.
1. Apply for a credit card.
A credit card has many hidden treasures if you know how to control it. It is especially helpful for large purchases, flight promos (think of piso fares), travel applications, business loan applications and many others.
If you don’t have a credit card, you’re missing out on a lot of financial perks that you could have been enjoying.
2. When shopping abroad, ask for tax-back forms.
If you’re not a citizen, you are not required to pay for taxes that’s why shopping abroad for gadgets or clothes can be advantageous at times. You’ll know whether the store is offering a tax-back when you see a sticker plastered on their walls and doors. If you can’t see one, just ask them if they do offer tax-back refunds.
These refunds will be credited to you via your credit card, so if you don’t have one, you can’t benefit from this perk. Be sure to process these tax-back forms a day or two before you leave so that it’ll just be convenient for you to drop them off in the airport once you’re there.
3. Swap your receipts for freebies.
At one point, you need to buy a laptop or a cellphone or any other life essentials which cost more than Php2,000.00. Use the straight-cash payment of your credit card for this one because your several-thousand-worth receipt can entitle you for freebies.
Be sure to be on the look out for your credit card’s offer of the month. You can swap your receipts for a free meal from a fast food or you can get a free Starbucks drink or you could even watch a movie for free. Say hello to free entertainment passes.
4. Take advantage of your credit card’s cut-off date.
I have this technique of buying my groceries after my cut-off date. This will give me a month and a couple of weeks of leeway before I need to pay for that purchase. Within that time frame, I could side-hustle or find a legitimate gig wherein I can gather some extra money to cover the expense. To earn some extra income, you could sell your services online or offline. You could write, draw, design a web site or use any skill or talent that others may need and may be willing to pay for.
So when you try to think about it, it’s like you have an instant access to a personal loan when you run out of cash. However, try to assess if getting a personal loan can be a better deal than the interest rates of your credit card.
5. Write your bank a love letter regarding your credit card.
I noticed that my charges went up a month ago when I couldn’t remember spending a lot that time. Turns out my bank has charged me with the annual limit. It’s like Php1,550.00, and it’s already huge money for me. I went to my bank and inquired about how I may be able to waive it.
They advised me to write them a letter including my credit card number, credit card type and reason for my plea. So, I complied. On my next credit card statement, I saw a 50% refund. Not bad for my first year.
To avoid these completely, you could check out credit card promos which offer lifetime waiving of these annual fees.
In conclusion, cheat credit card shopping if you have the discipline and guts to do it. If you lack self-control, then better stick with your cash and spend a little less time on the mall.
Aiza Coronado is a financial literacy advocate and a writer who doubles as a test engineer during the weekdays. She has this philosophy of having a “happy present, happy future” when it comes to finances. That way, she doesn’t miss a lot on life while building her financial tract. Try stepping into her boots and see how she does it in her blog: LoveisaMutt.
The views & opinions expressed in this special guest post are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the opinions & views of MoneyMax.ph as a whole.