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haulingthescoreup
Posts: 28,115
Registered: ‎04-01-2007

Re: My rules for using credit cards.....

 


annalog wrote:
  1. Never apply for or continue to renew a credit card that has an annual fee.   Never pay for credit.
  2. Never charge what you cannot payoff completely before your closing date.   Always bill out at a zero balance.
  3. Go two years without applying for credit and remove all inquiries from your bureaus.  It is possible.
  4. Never close accounts with balances.
  5. Your goal should be to keep enough cards open to reach 50k in available revolving credit (with zero balances.)
  6. Live beneath your means, not within your means or above your means.

Anybody have any other good ones?


 

Four pages later, I went back and looked at the original list again. :smileyvery-happy:

 

I'd say that this is a great list for someone starting out with credit, or for someone recovering from past difficulties. Two years ago I'd probably have thumbs-up'd every point.

 

With time, I found that in my situation, some of these points don't necessarily hold true. As I mentioned, the rewards on the Blue Cash Preferred outweigh the fee for my usage patterns, so I'm paying a fee. If and when they lower the 6% on grocs to where I no longer come out ahead, I'll close it.

 

If some sort of killer deal comes along, I won't wait 2 years to get another credit product. But I certainly don't app for everything that gets hot here on the boards. I like my AAoA where it is, thanks!

 

But it's a good starter list, and if I were to think about breaking one of the "rules" (again), I would think through why I was doing so.

 

I might add a seventh:

 

7. Never apply for a card before thoroughly researching it and then working out in your mind how you will use it. What benefits does it have for you where you are now? For instance, do you really want to get an airline rewards card when you only buy one ticket every 18 months or so? Don't get dazzled by marketing. :smileywink:

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Established Contributor
happy0510
Posts: 804
Registered: ‎03-07-2008

Re: My rules for using credit cards.....

[ Edited ]

LilMirth wrote:

happy0510 wrote:

LilMirths #5

 

Is it really that bad to carry a balance for 3-4 months when you have a steady job, bills paid, etc.

 

For instance, the purchase of a "somewhat" larger item. i.e. computer?

When spreading the purchase out over 3-4 months you practically don't even notice the change in your everyday financial life?

Not to mention, you get offered 0% interest, etc.

 

Is this setting myself up for utter failure?

 

By the way, I am a rebuilder and this is one SCARY topic for me, and when I seen the word "draconian" used, it made it worse!

 


Carrying a balance is hardly the end of the world, or a credit dooms day scenario. Debt for which you have no reasonable exit strategy, or mounting debt due to overspending, etc... is a disasterous scenario, in my mind. My personal aversion to balance carrying is that I'm cheap (all of my cards are sufficiently old enough that nobody is offering me 0% save for the occasional BT offer (useless, because I have no debt). I don't want to pay any interest. But, I tried to qualify my feelings with the notion of financially advantageous transactions. Buying a computer on a 0% (introductory) card , with the means to pay, a back-up plan, and an exit strategy (within the introductory period) is not a bad deal at all.

And, the fact of the matter is that a recent high school or college graduate (for example, and there are many others) just striking out on their own, is not likely to have the savings or resources that those of us have that have been in the workforce for a few (fine.. a LOT) years. Everday savings, nest eggs, and emergency funds take time to build up. IMO, it's perfectly reasonable to borrow money (at a reasonable cost) to procure necessary, or even luxury items, as long as you can *really* and truly afford it. Most people don't buy cars and houses with cash. Most people don't fund their educations with cash. We consider these to be "reasonable" debt, so there is a such thing.

 

I wouldn't worry about a computer purchase with 0% interest, that you're paying off within the introductory period. I'd worry if it were your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, computer currently financed (and you're not running a small business), and you were only comfortable with making minimum payments, which would take you well out of the introductory period. And, default was an inevitability if you suffered either a job loss, or reduction in pay. And, your other obligations had to stretch or suffer to make the minimum payments. You'd be overly leveraged, and in the red zone. <-- Doesn't sound like that's where you are. :smileyhappy:


Thank you! : Deep Breath :

 

Yes, I am not just starting out.  We are a 2 income household with 100K between us (dnt knw what that falls under) lower middle class? Lol

Just bought a house, have one fancy car, and one PIF. Need a computer, but don't want to spend it all during any given month and not be within our

comfort zone (plenty of good food and gas:smileyhappy: ) 0% intro is the key :smileywink:

 

Errrr...gas :smileysad: 

 


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Wolf3
Posts: 3,198
Registered: ‎01-24-2010

Re: My rules for using credit cards.....


haulingthescoreup wrote:

 


annalog wrote:
  1. Never apply for or continue to renew a credit card that has an annual fee.   Never pay for credit.
  2. Never charge what you cannot payoff completely before your closing date.   Always bill out at a zero balance.
  3. Go two years without applying for credit and remove all inquiries from your bureaus.  It is possible.
  4. Never close accounts with balances.
  5. Your goal should be to keep enough cards open to reach 50k in available revolving credit (with zero balances.)
  6. Live beneath your means, not within your means or above your means.

Anybody have any other good ones?


 

Four pages later, I went back and looked at the original list again. :smileyvery-happy:

 

I'd say that this is a great list for someone starting out with credit, or for someone recovering from past difficulties. Two years ago I'd probably have thumbs-up'd every point.

 

With time, I found that in my situation, some of these points don't necessarily hold true. As I mentioned, the rewards on the Blue Cash Preferred outweigh the fee for my usage patterns, so I'm paying a fee. If and when they lower the 6% on grocs to where I no longer come out ahead, I'll close it.

 

If some sort of killer deal comes along, I won't wait 2 years to get another credit product. But I certainly don't app for everything that gets hot here on the boards. I like my AAoA where it is, thanks!

 

But it's a good starter list, and if I were to think about breaking one of the "rules" (again), I would think through why I was doing so.

 

I might add a seventh:

 

7. Never apply for a card before thoroughly researching it and then working out in your mind how you will use it. What benefits does it have for you where you are now? For instance, do you really want to get an airline rewards card when you only buy one ticket every 18 months or so? Don't get dazzled by marketing. :smileywink:


I disagree.   I think this is not a good list for rebuilding.

 

I think Secured cards are one of the best ways to rebuild bad credit.   Most all have annual fees.   

 

Some unsecured credit cards for people with bad credit also have annual fees.  You have to work with the what is available to you.    

 

Waiting 2 years between applications is too long for rebuilding,   I suggest about 2 applications a year is better for rebuilding.   A few inquiries is nothing compared to the lates, collections, charge-offs, BK that rebuilders have on there reports.

 

If you have bad credit score, optimizing your utilization is of very little use, except at application time.  No point in paying everything a month early, paying on time be the due date is just as effective.   

   

IMO, Developing the habit and discipline to use your credit wisely and always pay on time (PIF or not) is the primary way to rebuild.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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haulingthescoreup
Posts: 28,115
Registered: ‎04-01-2007

Re: My rules for using credit cards.....

 


Wolf3 wrote:

 

I disagree.   I think this is not a good list for rebuilding.

 

I think Secured cards are one of the best ways to rebuild bad credit.   Most all have annual fees.   

 

Some unsecured credit cards for people with bad credit also have annual fees.  You have to work with the what is available to you.    

 

Waiting 2 years between applications is too long for rebuilding,   I suggest about 2 applications a year is better for rebuilding.   A few inquiries is nothing compared to the lates, collections, charge-offs, BK that rebuilders have on there reports.

 

If you have bad credit score, optimizing your utilization is of very little use, except at application time.  No point in paying everything a month early, paying on time be the due date is just as effective.   

 

IMO, Developing the habit and discipline to use your credit wisely and always pay on time (PIF or not) is the primary way to rebuild.  


 

Well, that's a good point about having to pay a fee for a rebuilder card. Some can go straight to credit union cards and not pay a fee, but many will have to pay a fee in order to get back in the game. And I see what you're saying on the others as well.


"IMO, Developing the habit and discipline to use your credit wisely and always pay on time (PIF or not) is the primary way to rebuild."  When all is said and done, I agree with this. But I do feel that many people need to follow a very strict set of rules while they're changing how they think about credit. Once they've got the emotion out of the way, then they can start applying some common sense to their own situation.

 

I'm very nervous about the idea of a set of rules that's good for everyone at all times. :smileyhappy:

* Credit is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. * Who's the boss --you or your credit?
FICO's: EQ 781 - TU 793 - EX 779 (from PSECU) - Done credit hunting; having fun with credit gardening. - EQ 590 on 5/14/2007
Moderator Emeritus
tinuviel
Posts: 4,877
Registered: ‎11-02-2010

Re: My rules for using credit cards.....

 


haulingthescoreup wrote:

 


Wolf3 wrote:

 

I disagree.   I think this is not a good list for rebuilding.

 

I think Secured cards are one of the best ways to rebuild bad credit.   Most all have annual fees.   

 

Some unsecured credit cards for people with bad credit also have annual fees.  You have to work with the what is available to you.    

 

Waiting 2 years between applications is too long for rebuilding,   I suggest about 2 applications a year is better for rebuilding.   A few inquiries is nothing compared to the lates, collections, charge-offs, BK that rebuilders have on there reports.

 

If you have bad credit score, optimizing your utilization is of very little use, except at application time.  No point in paying everything a month early, paying on time be the due date is just as effective.   

 

IMO, Developing the habit and discipline to use your credit wisely and always pay on time (PIF or not) is the primary way to rebuild.  


 

Well, that's a good point about having to pay a fee for a rebuilder card. Some can go straight to credit union cards and not pay a fee, but many will have to pay a fee in order to get back in the game. And I see what you're saying on the others as well.


"IMO, Developing the habit and discipline to use your credit wisely and always pay on time (PIF or not) is the primary way to rebuild."  When all is said and done, I agree with this. But I do feel that many people need to follow a very strict set of rules while they're changing how they think about credit. Once they've got the emotion out of the way, then they can start applying some common sense to their own situation.

 

I'm very nervous about the idea of a set of rules that's good for everyone at all times. :smileyhappy:


I agree with both of you on these points. Everyone's situation is unique. As such, you need to come up with a set of guidelines that address your own situation. Just as there is no one prescription that fits everyone's physical health, so too there is no one prescription for everyone's financial health. There may be some general guidelines that everyone should strive for -- always pay one time, for instance -- but there are so many other areas that require individual tailoring (AF or no AF, etc...).

 


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android01
Posts: 1,206
Registered: ‎09-22-2009

Re: My rules for using credit cards.....

 


llecs wrote:

#whatever: CCs are NEVER an emergency fund. If in a financial situation, lock them up or tear them up and let the situation pass before using them again.


IMO, emergencies are the primary reason for having credit cards.  I ran into a situation a few months ago where in the space of thirty days, I had emergency dental work, ($5,000), had to replace my furnace ($3,800) and had a plumbing crisis ($2,500).  All in one month.  I didn't have $10,000+ cash lying around collecting .001% in a savings account at my bank.  If I didn't have a credit card, I would be minus a couple of teeth if I didn't freeze to death in a Minnesota winter, or slipped and fell on my way to the outhouse in the back yard! :smileyvery-happy:

 

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scottwagnon
Posts: 1,333
Registered: ‎02-07-2010

Re: My rules for using credit cards.....


LilMirth wrote:

Don’t charge more than I can afford to pay in full: That doesn’t mean *never* carry a balance. It does mean, to me, *almost never carry a balance*, and only do so when a) it is financially advantageous for me to do so (does not build debt or require me to pay interest), and b) there is a clearly defined exit strategy for the loan, plus regular savings or emergency funding to cover it should I ever find myself in a bad spot.

 

Get to know the lender/card issuer: Understanding, at least on some level, what makes any one lender nervous can save me a lot of grief. For example, Amex has revolvers, obviously, but any Amex CSR will tell you that revolver or not, they want you to PIF. Always.


i mostly disagree with this. part of the point of having credit/building credit is a strategic gamble. two parties are in agreement that money will be borrowed and eventually paid back. the bank/lender agrees to entrust money to the borrower. the borrower must be responsible enough to and agrees to know and understand his/her limits and must be able to make decisions that involve a gambled risk.

 

the other part of having/building credit is for better career opportunites. employers like to see proof of responsiblity and having a high credit score demonstrates this.

 

maybe amex prefers PIF'ing, but like i said, any lender appreciates a borrower that as clearly demonstrated responsible debt patters accross lines of credit, even theirs.

 

maybe you made em nervous before, but now they love you for it.

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scottwagnon
Posts: 1,333
Registered: ‎02-07-2010

Re: My rules for using credit cards.....

for example: last month after doing taxes i decided to use my return to build a new pc, i bought all my parts through amazon, and they offered 0% interest finanacing for 12 months if i applied for their store card, since i do a lot of spending on amazon, i took the offer. I then took my tax return and put it in a USAA CD for a year. it was money i was going to spend in 1 shot anyways, but it just made more sense to let it work for a year.

but as other's have stated , there are some situation where carrying a balance can be advantageous.


perfect! you demonstrated your ability to borrow money without having to pay for it, and you made money on your money! i don't care what anyone says, these 0% deals for 12 months or whatever are perfect ideas. i don't believe or accept the popular notion that this is a bad idea. when i asked for a cli with barclays, they wanted to know if i took advantage of the free financing with any of the retail cards that i currenly had. when i told them, and told them that i paid off before the promotion ended, they were like, "thats great!, good that is what we wanted to hear. scott we will go ahead now and grant your requested cli."

EX BankCard 8 FICO 820 (250-900) 04/08/14
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Moderator Emerita
LilMirth
Posts: 3,091
Registered: ‎08-09-2008

Re: My rules for using credit cards.....


scottwagnon wrote:

LilMirth wrote:

Don’t charge more than I can afford to pay in full: That doesn’t mean *never* carry a balance. It does mean, to me, *almost never carry a balance*, and only do so when a) it is financially advantageous for me to do so (does not build debt or require me to pay interest), and b) there is a clearly defined exit strategy for the loan, plus regular savings or emergency funding to cover it should I ever find myself in a bad spot.

 

Get to know the lender/card issuer: Understanding, at least on some level, what makes any one lender nervous can save me a lot of grief. For example, Amex has revolvers, obviously, but any Amex CSR will tell you that revolver or not, they want you to PIF. Always.


i mostly disagree with this. part of the point of having credit/building credit is a strategic gamble. two parties are in agreement that money will be borrowed and eventually paid back. the bank/lender agrees to entrust money to the borrower. the borrower must be responsible enough to and agrees to know and understand his/her limits and must be able to make decisions that involve a gambled risk.

 

the other part of having/building credit is for better career opportunites. employers like to see proof of responsiblity and having a high credit score demonstrates this.

 

maybe amex prefers PIF'ing, but like i said, any lender appreciates a borrower that as clearly demonstrated responsible debt patters accross lines of credit, even theirs.

 

maybe you made em nervous before, but now they love you for it.


I couldn't disagree more. My policy is to take as much risk out of borrowing as possible, for primarily myself, but also the lender. And, because floating a loan on a credit card is rarely free (unless you have a 0% introductory offer, or 0% BT with no fees), it'd pretty much kill me to toss my earnings away on paying interest (even low interest). My position is that my average purchase (gas, groceries, household items, diapers, co-pay at the doctors office, prescriptions, clothing, oil change, charitable donation, home maintenance, monthly bills, recurring fees, etc...) made on a credit card are budgeted items that I have the cash to pay. There's no sense in paying interest on these things... they're expensive enough as it is. I consider a free loan, floated for less than thirty days, where I get varying rewards, and pay no interest, as both convenient and financially advantageous. And, I get the same "credit" with both the lender, and my stellary payment history & age of accounts (credit reports) as someone who carries a balance.

 

Even for larger purchases that I didn't plan, but life happened, such as my recent purchase of a new fancy-schmancy washer & dryer-- we have savings set aside for household emergency maintenance/appliance replacement, etc... Cash in the bank. I can charge it to a credit card, reap rewards, and PIF. I don't want to pay interest, even if it's only 8.9% (my lowest rate on a card), for something that I don't need to, and that is not financially advantageous for me to. That's just giving away my $$$, considering I had it in the first place. It's not convenient, and it doesn't make me feel good.

 

But, I'm not at all oposed to carrying a balance when it's financially advantageous for me to do so. Those situations are rare, for me. I think it's more advantageous to have the $$$ in the bank to reduce any risk to myself, and to my family. So, for the vast majority of purchases, the purchase is already covered. Besides, my revolving auto loans more than demonstrate my ability to borrow largish sums of money and to pay it back over time.

 

And, I think it'd be a rare employer who is looking at your credit reports to see if you routinely carry balances, and pay on time. They're looking to see IF you pay your obligations. IF you do not. They want to know IF you have an unseemly amount of debt... before they offer you the job of  "Cash Counter". They don't care (unless they're planning to have you leverage your own credit) if you have zero balances, or near zero balances. They're not going to knix your for the offer, or not promote you, because you PIF. Heaven knows, your credit scores, and overall credit profile will carry on just as well, without demonstrating that you have revolving debt.

 

Amex, most certainly has revolvers, and allows you to revolve a balance. Every indication that I've ever seen, heard about, or read indicates that that they have a preference for PIFers, and that not doing so makes them nervous (to varying degrees). I've never carried a balance with Amex in the two years that I've been with them. And still, I've had opportunity to talk with customer service on occasion, and on a couple of those occasions we've discussed the matter of PIFing. Those agents confirmed that Amex wants you to PIF, even with a revolver. They allow you to revolve a balance. Still, they would prefer that you didn't. And, I sure as heck don't want to revolve one at 15.49% (the lowest rate offered on on the Costco Amex). Considering my use of that card, Amex would have very good reason to be nervous if I started carrying the balance over, and paying interest... It would surely indicate a change in either my financial standing, or my view of financial sense. Nobody should willingly pay 15.49% on bulk diapers at Costco, LOL! And gas is already over $4.00 per gallon... why would I want to pay MORE? PIFing certainly hasn't ever hurt my credit.

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Contributor
daytrade5
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎03-30-2011

Re: My rules for using credit cards.....


LilMirth wrote:

scottwagnon wrote:

LilMirth wrote:

Don’t charge more than I can afford to pay in full: That doesn’t mean *never* carry a balance. It does mean, to me, *almost never carry a balance*, and only do so when a) it is financially advantageous for me to do so (does not build debt or require me to pay interest), and b) there is a clearly defined exit strategy for the loan, plus regular savings or emergency funding to cover it should I ever find myself in a bad spot.

 

Get to know the lender/card issuer: Understanding, at least on some level, what makes any one lender nervous can save me a lot of grief. For example, Amex has revolvers, obviously, but any Amex CSR will tell you that revolver or not, they want you to PIF. Always.


i mostly disagree with this. part of the point of having credit/building credit is a strategic gamble. two parties are in agreement that money will be borrowed and eventually paid back. the bank/lender agrees to entrust money to the borrower. the borrower must be responsible enough to and agrees to know and understand his/her limits and must be able to make decisions that involve a gambled risk.

 

the other part of having/building credit is for better career opportunites. employers like to see proof of responsiblity and having a high credit score demonstrates this.

 

maybe amex prefers PIF'ing, but like i said, any lender appreciates a borrower that as clearly demonstrated responsible debt patters accross lines of credit, even theirs.

 

maybe you made em nervous before, but now they love you for it.


I couldn't disagree more. My policy is to take as much risk out of borrowing as possible, for primarily myself, but also the lender. And, because floating a loan on a credit card is rarely free (unless you have a 0% introductory offer, or 0% BT with no fees), it'd pretty much kill me to toss my earnings away on paying interest (even low interest). My position is that my average purchase (gas, groceries, household items, diapers, co-pay at the doctors office, prescriptions, clothing, oil change, charitable donation, home maintenance, monthly bills, recurring fees, etc...) made on a credit card are budgeted items that I have the cash to pay. There's no sense in paying interest on these things... they're expensive enough as it is. I consider a free loan, floated for less than thirty days, where I get varying rewards, and pay no interest, as both convenient and financially advantageous. And, I get the same "credit" with both the lender, and my stellary payment history & age of accounts (credit reports) as someone who carries a balance.

 

Even for larger purchases that I didn't plan, but life happened, such as my recent purchase of a new fancy-schmancy washer & dryer-- we have savings set aside for household emergency maintenance/appliance replacement, etc... Cash in the bank. I can charge it to a credit card, reap rewards, and PIF. I don't want to pay interest, even if it's only 8.9% (my lowest rate on a card), for something that I don't need to, and that is not financially advantageous for me to. That's just giving away my $$$, considering I had it in the first place. It's not convenient, and it doesn't make me feel good.

 

But, I'm not at all oposed to carrying a balance when it's financially advantageous for me to do so. Those situations are rare, for me. I think it's more advantageous to have the $$$ in the bank to reduce any risk to myself, and to my family. So, for the vast majority of purchases, the purchase is already covered. Besides, my revolving auto loans more than demonstrate my ability to borrow largish sums of money and to pay it back over time.

 

And, I think it'd be a rare employer who is looking at your credit reports to see if you routinely carry balances, and pay on time. They're looking to see IF you pay your obligations. IF you do not. They want to know IF you have an unseemly amount of debt... before they offer you the job of  "Cash Counter". They don't care (unless they're planning to have you leverage your own credit) if you have zero balances, or near zero balances. They're not going to knix your for the offer, or not promote you, because you PIF. Heaven knows, your credit scores, and overall credit profile will carry on just as well, without demonstrating that you have revolving debt.

 

Amex, most certainly has revolvers, and allows you to revolve a balance. Every indication that I've ever seen, heard about, or read indicates that that they have a preference for PIFers, and that not doing so makes them nervous (to varying degrees). I've never carried a balance with Amex in the two years that I've been with them. And still, I've had opportunity to talk with customer service on occasion, and on a couple of those occasions we've discussed the matter of PIFing. Those agents confirmed that Amex wants you to PIF, even with a revolver. They allow you to revolve a balance. Still, they would prefer that you didn't. And, I sure as heck don't want to revolve one at 15.49% (the lowest rate offered on on the Costco Amex). Considering my use of that card, Amex would have very good reason to be nervous if I started carrying the balance over, and paying interest... It would surely indicate a change in either my financial standing, or my view of financial sense. Nobody should willingly pay 15.49% on bulk diapers at Costco, LOL! And gas is already over $4.00 per gallon... why would I want to pay MORE? PIFing certainly hasn't ever hurt my credit.


YES... Totally agree here.


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