Category: Car Restoration

Best credit cards for Airbnb

by Phillip Warren

Many of us are avoiding travel during the pandemic.

But if you have to shelter in place under quarantine once you get to your destination, wouldn’t you rather do it in an environment that at least seems more within your control?

If the choice is between a hotel where you must trust your experience to a faceless corporation or a local host you can talk to through homestay sites like Airbnb and Vrbo, the latter may be the better option for these times (provided you don’t violate their party guidelines).

Whatever option you choose, credit card issuers now reward homestays with points and cash back in the same way they’ve long doled out rewards for hotels and other travel expenses.

These are the best cards on the market for homestays like Airbnb.

See related: Strategies for planning 2021 travel

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best no-annual-fee, high rewards option
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best introductory bonus
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: Best for bonus rewards
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best flat-rate miles card
  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card: Best for online shopping
  • Discover it® Miles: Best no-fee option
  • Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card: Best no-annual-fee, high rewards option

    The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card includes arguably one of the highest rates of return on points for some of the most popular redemption categories out there, including homestays like Airbnb and Vrbo.

    The greatest advantages of this card – besides earning 3 points per dollar spent on some popular spending categories – are that there’s no point limit or expiration, no annual fee and no rotating categories that you constantly have to remind yourself to activate. You get three times the points in the relevant categories all the time without restriction, with travel – including all homestays – and transit being one of those prominent categories.

    The card also charges no foreign currency conversion fee, so buying things abroad is less expensive. If that weren’t enough, here’s what you also get:

    • 3 points per dollar spent on travel and transit purchases
    • 3 points per dollar spent on eating out and ordering in
    • 3 points per dollar spent on gas and rideshares
    • 3 points per dollar spent on select streaming services such as Hulu, Netflix, Sirius XM and Spotify Premium
    • 1 point per dollar spent everywhere else
    • No annual fee
    • No points limit or expiration
    • Premium access to presale tickets, offers and protections from American Express
    • 20,000 points when you spend $1,000 in the first three months
    ProudMoney.

    Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best introductory bonus

    Before the Wells Fargo Propel card debuted, Chase Sapphire Reserve was the go-to credit card option for Airbnb fans. It offers a 50,000-point introductory bonus when you spend $4,000 in your first three months of membership. Those points are worth up to $750 when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

    Though equipped with fewer spending categories offering 3X points and carrying a large annual fee of $550, the benefits of the Chase Sapphire Reserve card are more specifically geared toward frequent travelers.

    At the same time, that large annual fee is offset by a $300 annual credit that will reimburse any travel expense – including Airbnb. And from June 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, gas station and grocery store purchases count toward the travel credit.

    Add to that a $100 credit covering the application to Global Entry/TSA Precheck every four years and the annual fee is almost completely offset in the first year.

    Meanwhile, there are even more travel benefits:

    • 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months (worth up to $750 in travel)
    • 3 points per dollar spent on travel (excluding purchases covered by the $300 travel credit)
    • 3 points per dollar spent on dining (including delivery and takeout) and travel; $1,000 in grocery purchases, including eligible pick-up and delivery services, from Nov. 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021
    • Complimentary airport lounge access through Priority Pass Select Membership
    • Trip cancellation/interruption insurance
    • Primary car rental insurance
    • Lost luggage reimbursement

    Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: Best for bonus rewards

    While the points per dollar offered by Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card on travel and Airbnb are fewer than the credit cards above, the sign-up bonus and up to $200 in annual statement credits make it a decent option, even with less flexibility on what qualifies as a credit than the credit cards above.

    This card should absolutely move to the top of your list if you are already a Bank of America Preferred Rewards client. That designation automatically increases your return even higher than what the other credit cards above offer on travel and dining – you can get a rewards bonus of up to 75%.

    Combine that with a generous sign-up bonus and the Bank of America Premium Rewards is one of the most potent rewards cards for Preferred Rewards clients.

    The card includes:

    • Introductory bonus: 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days (worth up to $500 in free travel)
    • 2 points per dollar spent on dining and travel purchases, including Airbnb and Vrbo
    • 1.5 points per dollar spent on everything else
    • Get up to $200 in travel statement credit rewards, including $100 for incidental spending per year and $100 toward a TSA Precheck/Global Entry application every four years
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients earn up to 3.5 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases and up to 2.62 points per dollar on all other purchases
    • $95 annual fee
    Travel loyalty programs offer extended perks in pandemic

    Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best flat-rate miles option

    The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is remarkably similar to Bank of America’s Premium Rewards card, right down to the $95 annual fee, but without the additional benefits afforded to Bank of America Preferred Rewards clients.

    However, Capital One Venture Rewards offers 2 points per dollar spent on every purchase, not just travel and dining.

    • Earn 60,000 travel miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first three months – equaling $600 in travel credit
    • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase, every day
    • Points can be redeemed for statement credit on travel purchases, including Airbnb
    • $95 annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fees

    Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card: Best for online shopping

    You may be wondering why the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature card is on a list highlighting the best credit cards for AirBnb, Vrbo and other homestays.

    Shouldn’t this card be limited to the “best credit cards for online shopping” list? Not when Amazon offers Airbnb gift cards and the Amazon Prime Rewards card gives you 5% cash back on Amazon.com purchases as long as you have a Prime membership, which essentially acts as the annual fee ($119).

    Just purchase an AirBnb gift card from Amazon with the card, and it’s as if you are getting 5% cash back for your AirBnb stay when you apply the gift card towards it. It’s the highest rate on this list, Amazon or not.

    You’ll receive the following additional benefits:

    • 5% cash back on Whole Foods and Amazon purchases (with Prime membership)
    • 2% cash back on purchases at drugstores, gas stations and restaurants
    • 1% cash back on all other purchases
    • A $100 Amazon gift card upon credit card application approval
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • $500,000 travel accident insurance
    • $3,000 per passenger lost luggage reimbursement
    • Baggage delay insurance of up to $100 a day for three days
    • Extended warranty coverage for an additional year

    See related: How to pay off Amazon purchases over time

    Discover it® Miles: Best no-fee option

    Though the points per dollar on this card are lower than any other credit card on the list, Discover it Miles gives you much more freedom in how you can manage your points and account.

    You can redeem miles in any amount, your miles don’t expire even if you close your account and 1% of your miles can be converted directly into cash for your bank account.

    Discover it Miles offers:

    • 1.5 miles for every dollar spent on every purchase (matched at the end of the first year)
    • Points can be redeemed for statement credit on travel expenses, including Airbnb, gas stations and restaurants.
    • Miles can be converted into cash at rate of 1 cent per mile and transferred directly into your bank account
    • Redeem miles in any amount
    • Miles never expire and you don’t lose them even when you close your account
    • No late payment fee or penalty APR on your first late payment, up to $40 thereafter
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • No annual fee
    • 0% APR on purchases for 14 months (11.99% to 22.99% variable APR after that)
    creditcards.com

    Can you send money with a credit card?

    by Phillip Warren

    Sending cash to friends and family? Before you reach for that credit card, grab a calculator. It’s time to do a little math.

    With most everything you purchase online or through apps, credit cards have the edge. With plastic, you have chargeback rights. If you’re overcharged or receive the wrong item, broken merchandise or nothing at all, your card issuer will make it right. And if you use a rewards card, you collect points or miles, too. Win-win.

    But it’s different story when you’re sending money through peer-to-peer platforms. Many of them (like Google Pay, Popmoney and Zelle), don’t allow consumers to use a credit card to send cash.

    Others (like Cash App, PayPal and Venmo), allow credit cards but also charge a fee for the privilege – often about 3%.

    See related: How to choose a P2P payment service

    The hidden costs of using credit cards to send money

    Choose a credit card to send money and you might also end up paying additional fees to your card issuer. That’s because the combination of some peer-to-peer apps with certain cards are coded as cash advances, rather than purchases.

    For many cards, that cash advance code triggers a higher interest rate that kicks in the moment you make the transaction, as well as a separate cash advance fee that’s often $10 or 5% of the transaction – whichever is higher. (Currently, the average interest rate for cash advances is 24.8%, while the average APR for purchases is 16.05%.)

    So the combination of peer-to-peer service fees, credit card cash advance fees and that higher interest rate (with no grace period) could make sending a few hundred dollars a bit more costly than you’d planned.

    No chargeback rights with credit cards

    The real kicker: Unlike other venues, you don’t have chargeback rights when you use credit cards to make peer-to-peer money transfers.

    When you present your credit card in an online or brick-and-mortar store, there’s a merchant involved – and the law provides chargeback rights for your protection in case you don’t get what you were promised in the deal. But in a peer-to-peer money transfer, there’s no merchant, so currently the laws don’t give consumers any chargeback rights, says Christina Tetreault, manager of financial policy for Consumer Reports.

    “The chargeback right requires a merchant,” says Tetreault. “One of the hoops a consumer has to jump through is to try and work it out with the merchant.”

    If you use a peer-to-peer service and send the wrong amount or send the money to the wrong person, most platforms advise that the only way to get it back is to contact the recipient and ask them to return it. And that’s often the same whether you use a credit card, debit card, bank account or funded account on the platform.

    “Be doubly sure when you’re sending the money that you’re putting in the correct information,” says John Breyault, vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud for the National Consumers League. “It’s still a buyer beware world when it comes to peer-to-peer.”

    The solution

    If you’re sending money and want to use a credit card, it pays to do a little sleuthing first. Check out the peer-to-peer site. Does it allow users to send money with a credit card? If so what, if any, fees does it charge?

    On some platforms (PayPal is one), you could see similar fees for using a debit card – while sending from a bank account or funded account on the platform is free.

    The good news is that many peer-to-peer platforms clearly disclose it when there’s an extra charge to use a credit card, says Tetreault. With Venmo, for example, you’ll get a pop-up message.

    Harder to decipher: Will credit card transactions on the platform be treated as a cash advance? If your preferred platform doesn’t post this information, you might need to contact customer service. (And how quickly and easily you get an answer can tell you a lot, too.)

    Ask your card issuer the same question: Are peer-to-peer money transfers on the platform you’ve chosen treated as a cash advance? If they are, what’s the interest rate, and what’s the cash advance fee?

    “What I would suggest is to ask that question, via email, of your financial institution,” says Tetreault. “It may be in their FAQs. And you want to save that email. If you have it in writing, if there’s an issue later, you’re better positioned to contest that fee.”

    But “the hard truth is you may not be able to find out ahead of time,” she says.

    Another solution: Opt to use a credit card issued by a credit union.

    “With credit unions, the APR is usually the same” for purchases and cash advances, says John Bratsakis, president and CEO of the Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association.

    Likewise, with American Express cards you pay your regular interest rate and no cash advance fees on peer-to-peer transfers, says Elizabeth Crosta, vice president of public affairs for American Express.

    And credit cards from U.S. Bank register peer-to-peer money transfers as regular purchases – with no cash advance fees or cash advance APRs, says Rick Rothacker, spokesperson for the bank.

    See related: How do credit card APRs work?

    What’s your reason for using a credit card?

    Take a good look at the reason you’re using a credit card, too. If you want chargeback rights, that’s not an option. If you’re doing it for the rewards, will the value of those points or miles be eaten up by extra fees or a higher interest rate you have to pay to use the card?

    And if you’re using a card because you don’t have the cash, that might be a good reason to rethink the idea of sending money in the first place.

    That’s a huge red flag, says Bruce McClary, vice president of public relations at the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

    “The need to convert credit into cash is what really gets my attention – because that hints at a lack of savings,” he said. “It’s a reality a lot of people are facing, especially now.”

    Cash advances aren’t as expensive or risky as payday loans and car title loans, but they should be among your last resorts. If you’re looking for short-term relief, you could ask your credit card issuer for help, or find out if you qualify for a personal loan. You could also borrow from a family member or trusted friend, but be wary of the potential relationship toll if you can’t pay them back.

    Getting cash from credit cards

    Fifty-two percent of Americans report that the pandemic has damaged their finances, according to a recent survey by the NFCC. More than a fifth of those had to tap savings for everyday expenses, while 16% increased their credit card spending.

    And that’s a sign of financial stress, says McClary. “It means that, in some situations, they have run out of savings.”

    There are ways you can use your card to get cash, though.

    Cashing in rewards

    Some rewards cards from issuers such as Chase, Bank of America and US Bank let you deposit cash-back rewards directly to your bank account.

    And Wells Fargo also will let you deposit its Go Far Rewards directly into another Wells Fargo customer’s account, says Sarah DuBois, spokesperson for the bank.

    Gift cards

    Many credit cards let you convert rewards into retail gift cards. So a pile of points can help a friend or family member buy much-needed groceries or a few holiday presents.

    Or simply “buy a gift card for someone,” says Bratsakis.

    Retailer-specific gift cards and gift cards issued through local and regional retail associations and malls often come with no fees – meaning every dollar you spend goes toward your gift.

    Convenience checks

    While you can get a cash advance or use convenience checks from your card issuer, both those options often come with fees and higher interest rates. Not a smart money move, especially in the current economy.

    While some lenders may offer convenience checks with deferred interest, that’s not the same as “no interest,” says Bratsakis. Also, if you don’t pay the loan in full, will you owe the full interest retroactively?

    “That’s where consumers have to be careful,” he says. With a convenience check or even a cash advance, “that’s usually where consumers can get themselves into trouble if they can’t pay it off and get hit with deferred interest.”

    See related: What is deferred interest?

    Bottom line

    When it comes to peer-to-peer payments, cash really is king. You can then put it into a funded account with the money transfer platform or your bank account. And most peer-to-peer platforms let you do this for free.

    “The safest way to use these services is to send money person-to-person and be diligent about getting all the details correct so it doesn’t go to the wrong person,” says Tetreault.

    Only send to people you trust and know in real life, she says. “And before sending money make sure you understand what, if any, fees you might incur.”


    Source: creditcards.com

    Best credit cards for young adults in 2021

    by Phillip Warren

    My colleague recently shared with me a question he’d received from our reader, Diana:

    “Can you give me a clue of which credit card would be best for me? I am trying to build my credit to buy a home in the future. My score went up 34 points, I’m happy about that. My score’s at 654 right now. I would like a credit card with a low interest rate if possible. What would you recommend? I only have one credit card with a $300 credit limit. I’m almost finished paying it off. I only have a $100 left to pay.”

    First things first, good job increasing your scores and setting such an amazing goal as homeownership, Diana! Continue paying down your card – you want your credit utilization (how much of your credit line you’re using) to be under 35% at all times. And make sure to ask for a credit limit increase to make that easier.

    The biggest favor you could do yourself is to never carry a balance, since cardholders with fair FICO scores (under 670) can rarely count on low APRs, no matter the card.

    As for the best card for you, I often get this kind of question from my friends – especially those in their twenties, who are either just starting out to build their credit or working on improving it after a few mistakes they’ve made. Since I’m a big credit card nerd, I love helping them out – and I’ll gladly help you out too.

    In this article, I’m going to share the best credit cards for young adults, whether they’ve reached the good credit threshold or, like Diana, are only just getting there.

    Secured Mastercard® from Capital One: Best for low credit scores
  • Discover it® Student Cash Back: Best for students
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for flat-rate cash back
  • Discover it® Cash Back: Best for bonus cash back
  • American Express® Green Card: Best for young professionals
  • Wells Fargo Platinum card: Best for financing a new purchase
  • Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for paying down debt
  • Secured Mastercard® from Capital One: Best for young adults with low credit scores

    Many young people may find it hard to qualify for the majority of credit cards when they’re just starting their credit journey or if their credit scores are on the low side. In this case, a secured credit card is a good option. It’s called “secured” because you need to secure it with a deposit to get approved. Typically, the deposit becomes your credit line.

    See related: What is the difference between secured and unsecured debt?

    My recommendation here is the Secured Mastercard from Capital One. I may be a bit biased because this was the secured credit card I’d chosen, but I couldn’t be happier with it. The initial security deposit is low (up to $200, depending on your credit), and you get a $200 credit line to start.

    You can get access to a higher credit line after six months of on-time payments without paying more toward the deposit, which is a requirement many other secured cards have. There’s also no annual fee.

    Additionally, the Capital One Secured is easy to upgrade. True story: After a year and a half of card membership, my credit limit was raised from $500 to $1,500 automatically. That led me to believe that Capital One was happy with me. So, I called the issuer and asked if I could upgrade, and after a five-minute conversation, my secured card was upgraded to the cash-back earning Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.

    It’s important to note, though, that Capital One doesn’t offer a standardized schedule for upgrading from this card, so my experience might not be true for everyone. Even taking this into account, the Capital One Secured is still a solid choice for building your credit when it’s not in the best shape.

    Discover it® Student Cash Back: Best for students

    If you’re working on your degree, why not work on building your credit at the same time? The Discover it Student Cash Back card is a starter credit card designed for students with no credit history, and it offers you an opportunity to learn how to use credit while you complete your college education. Plus, you’ll earn cash back rewards.

    The Discover it Student Cash Back card comes with a number of benefits, including no annual fee and no late fee on your first missed payment (after that, up to $40). (But please, don’t make late payments a habit. Trust me.)

    You can also earn 5% cash back on rotating categories that you enroll in each quarter – for up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter, then 1% – so go ahead and buy all the study snacks you can afford. You’ll earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, as well as a $20 Good Grade Reward every year you keep your GPA above a 3.0 (for up to 5 years). If it’s your first year as a cardholder, you’ll also get Discover’s famous Cashback Match.

    See related: How to build credit as a college student

    Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for flat-rate cash back

    When you’re in fair credit territory, more credit card possibilities become open for you, including cash back credit cards.

    There are a few 1.5% cash back credit cards on the market, and they all can bring simplicity and solid rewards into your cash back game. For this purpose, they’re all great options, but I’m picking the Chase Freedom Unlimited in this category because when it comes to credit cards, you need to think long game.

    The Chase Freedom Unlimited can help you enter the world of Chase Ultimate Rewards, one of the most valuable reward currencies in the credit card market. This means that you can use your cash back as points that can take you far if you love traveling. Further down the road, as your scores improve, you can get the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve and get even more value out of your rewards, as well as some amazing travel perks.

    Not too bad, right? Besides the 1.5% cash back on general purchases and a ticket to the world of travel rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited will also get you:

    Discover it® Cash Back: Best for bonus cash back

    While we’re still in the fair credit territory, I’d like to also recommend Discover it Cash Back. Technically, it requires a good credit score, but I was able to get it with a FICO score of 660 based on Experian data. Although that might have something to do with the fact that I also have a savings account with Discover, it’s still proof that you may have a chance to get approved with fair credit.

    Like the student version of the card, the Discover it Cash Back earns 5% back in rotating categories after activation (up to $1,500 in spend per quarter, then 1%). The Discover cash back calendar stays rather consistent, but the issuer may change things every once in a while.

    American Express® Green Card: Best for young professionals who travel for work

    When you reach a good credit score, it can be a good time to consider a travel credit card.

    The American Express Green Card can be a good entry-level travel card. It offers bonus points on travel, restaurant and transit spending (including ride-share services like Uber and Lyft), making it a great choice if you enjoy going out after a long day at work.

    It also comes with a great welcome bonus of 30,000 points for cardholders who spend $2,000 in their first three months, worth about $300 in travel booked through the American Express travel portal. You can also transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to a number of travel loyalty programs at select airlines and hotels at a 1:1 rate.

    Along with requiring good to excellent credit to qualify, though, the American Express Green Card carries a $150 annual fee. If you don’t do much traveling or eating out or if you use transit services only rarely, it will be tough to make up the cost of the annual fee.

    Wells Fargo Platinum card: Best for financing a new purchase

    Let me tell you something: Being in your twenties is expensive. You might need money for a new professional wardrobe, for example, or to furnish a new apartment. Maybe you need to cover the costs of a move – or a marriage. Luckily, for this kind of expense, there’s a 0% introductory APR card that gives you time to pay off your balance interest-free.

    If you have the good to excellent credit needed to qualify, the Wells Fargo Platinum card is an excellent choice, thanks to its 18-month 0% intro APR on both purchases and qualifying balance transfers, with an APR of 16.49% to 24.49% variable thereafter.

    If you’re looking to earn rewards on your purchases, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. But if you want to pay off your purchases without paying interest, you’ve come to the right place.  Just do your best to pay off your new purchases or transferred balance in full before the end of the promotion period to minimize interest charges, and make sure you pay at least the minimum due every month to avoid damaging your credit score.

    Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for young adults paying down credit card debt

    One of the biggest credit card fears is that of credit card debt. It’s easier to get into credit card debt than many people realize. And given how high credit card interest rates can get, it can be very hard to get out of. That’s where the Citi Double Cash Card comes in. Transfer your existing credit card balances to this card, and you’ll get 18 months to pay them off, interest-free (variable APR of 13.99% to 23.99% thereafter).

    Not only can you use this card to chip away at debt, but you can also enjoy lasting value thanks to its terrific ongoing cash back rewards program. You’ll get up to 2% cash back: 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off those purchases, with no need to track spending or enroll in rotating bonus categories. This makes the Double Cash Card one of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market and a smart long-term choice, even after you’ve taken advantage of its balance transfer offer.

    Unfortunately, as with many balance transfer cards, the Citi Double Cash Card charges a balance transfer fee of 3% (or $5, whichever is higher). Be sure to use a balance transfer calculator and crunch the numbers to see if this makes financial sense for you.

    You’ll also need excellent credit to qualify for the Citi Double Cash Card, so if your credit score has already taken a hit due to late payments or maxed-out cards, you may want to consider another option.

    See related: How to consolidate credit card debt

    How to choose the right credit card

    When you’re trying to decide whether a credit card is right for you, ask yourself these three questions:

    Comparing the best cards for young adults

    Here’s a quick breakdown of the top picks for credit cards for young adults. Whether you’re just getting started with credit, working to rebuild your score after a few missteps or are ready to take advantage of your top-notch credit history to earn rewards and luxury perks, you should find a card that fits your needs.

    Card Rewards Annual fee
    Secured Mastercard® from Capital One None $0
    Discover it® Student Cash Back
    • 5% cash back on rotating quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 per quarter, then 1% (enrollment required)
    • 1% cash back on other purchases
    • Matches cash back at end of first year
    $0
    Chase Freedom Unlimited
    • 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
    • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • 3% cash back on dining
    • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
    • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
    $0
    Discover it® Cash Back
    • Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various categories throughout the year
    • 1% cash back on general purchases
    $0
    American Express® Green Card
    • 3 points per dollar on travel, transit and dining worldwide
    • 1 point per dollar on other purchases
    $150
    Wells Fargo Platinum card None $0
    Citi® Double Cash Card
    • 1% cash back on everything
    • 1% cash back as you pay off those purchases
    $0

    Final thoughts

    Credit cards can be intimidating, but don’t let that put you off from applying for a card that can help you earn rewards, boost your credit or help you cover a large purchase. The more you use credit cards, the more comfortable you’ll feel using them.


    Source: creditcards.com

    Taking financial control amid a global pandemic

    by Phillip Warren

    There is no doubt that COVID-19 has affected the financial security of millions of Americans.

    A September 2020 NPR poll found that nearly half of U.S. households experienced job loss or pay cuts during the pandemic. Fifty-four percent with annual incomes below $100,000 suffered the most serious financial problems.

    However, as the situation deteriorated for many, a subset of individuals assumed newfound control over their economic well-being. The pandemic became their trigger to make powerful changes with the way they handled money, credit, income and savings.

    Here’s how just a few people refused to let severe and unexpected pandemic-related conditions get them down.

    Taking financial control amid a global pandemic

    • Improved charging habits
    • Repaid debt
    • Starting over after a job loss
    • Building a better budget
    • Increased saving and investing

    Improved charging habits

    According to an October Money and Morning Consult survey, 29% of credit card holders have been charging more than they had been before the pandemic, particularly on food and self-care items.

    For some, like Raul Mercado from Austin, Texas, a freelance digital marketing professional, that didn’t mean acquiring high balances, but using the cards more effectively than ever before.

    Mercado’s partner has been furloughed from both of her jobs, and his pay was cut by a third in the span of one month. In response, they changed the way they had been charging. The couple decided to make their cards work for, rather than against, them.

    “My partner purchased an online course called ‘Credit Cards 101,’ and we learned the best way to use credit cards,” says Mercado. “We started using credit cards that included airline miles or cash back bonuses for all purchases so we could get additional resources from spending the same amount of money. Of course, we pay back our credit cards every week so we don’t go into debt. And because of all the closures around town, we are able to save significant amounts from not going out on date nights or expensive vacations.”

    Now the couple is looking forward to using the rewards when travel is once again an option. They’ll stick with their new card strategy, though, since it allows them to profit from the process.

    Repaid debt

    A positive aspect of the pandemic is that it made many people reevaluate how they’re handing their existing financial obligations. In fact, Experian reported an unprecedented consumer debt reduction in 2020. Outstanding credit card balances dropped by 9% from 2019, representing over $73 billion in repaid balances.

    Steve Morrow, a Phoenix-based CPA and founder of the kayaking blog Paddle About, and his wife slashed their liabilities over the past 10 months. They had a combination of obligations, including a car loan, home equity loan and credit card debt.

    another round of stimulus checks, he will apply it to their emergency fund. In the meantime, he’s also using this time to educate their children.

    “We have two teenagers and we’ve been having a lot of conversations with them about finances,” says Morrow. “In fact, one of my sons is taking a personal finance class in high school, and it’s been great to talk to him about our experiences with credit cards.”

    See related: Financial bias starts early: How to talk to your daughter about finances

    Starting over after job loss

    Before COVID struck, Justin Duke had been driving and delivering for such companies as Uber and Instacart. “Then it all basically stopped,” says Duke. “I lost the main source of income that I had and didn’t know if or when it would be safe to do the gig work again, or what would happen with the stimulus. I had to pivot and find a new income.”

    So, Duke and his wife, who live in a rural community outside Roanoke, Virginia, turned their attention to the business of raising goats and chickens. At the start of the pandemic, selling the animals and eggs via MrAnimal Farm generated a little side cash. Today, along with working a few other e-commerce and review sites, the couple is earning three times what they had been before.

    “We have a safe way to make money that we have more control over,” says Duke. “We’re financially stable and are in control! Our holiday spending this year won’t change, but the goal for 2021 is to be able to purchase a second house with the online income.”

    Duke is hardly alone in his quest for earnings independence. In October, the Census Bureau reported that applications for federal employer identification numbers had surged – by July, they were up an astonishing 91%, compared to the same time frame in 2019.

    Building a better budget

    Insecure salaries inspired other people to reevaluate how much money was going out each month, and then make powerful changes to ensure that there was enough to meet essentials. Such was the case for Jonathan Sanchez, an Omaha, Nebraska-based personal finance blogger for Parent Portfolio, a wealth building website for families.

    “Due to the economic stress caused by the pandemic, I was furloughed from my full-time job,” says Sanchez. “This put the weight of supplying for our family solely on my wife. Initially, it was depressing for me not to be able to work as well and was hard for my wife.”

    Eventually, though, he decided to use this opportunity to assess their cash flow plan to get them closer to financial independence.

    “We updated our budget and became more intentional with our money,” says Sanchez. “Before, what we were doing was not budgeting but spending and thinking we should have enough until the next paycheck. We never set limits – now we do. ‘Only this much for groceries, this much for dining’ kind of thing. It helped us become more mindful. For a whole summer, I stayed home with my daughter who was in daycare, so we didn’t have that expense either, so that was like a mortgage payment!”

    The couple refinanced their primary residence to reduce those payments, then purchased a house as an investment property to generate passive income. They then deleted a large portion of their student loan debt and are working toward building up a sizable savings fund.

    “Now that we have a budget in place, we’re not worried about money anymore,” says Sanchez. “My wife actively looks at our budget three times a week. It’s a habit we will continue on forever!”

    See related: How to stop overspending during the coronavirus pandemic

    Increased saving and investing

    And then there are people who have found a way to increase their net worth, despite recent economic hardship. Christen Thomas, a personal finance expert and founder of the travel advice website TravelWanderGrow, has managed to create wealth.

    Thomas has always been budget-savvy, but the pandemic prompted her to take a harder look at the way she had been preparing for her financial future that extends far beyond the next 12 months.

    “It’s the year I’ve moved beyond the budget,” says Thomas. “I’ve started doing much more focused research into the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) movement, and have adjusted my long-term investment strategy accordingly. This has led me to move from investing around 10% of my income to 20%. I plan to grow this rate to 50% over the next few years as I pay down my student loans more aggressively and cut certain expenses.”

    Miller & Company, LLP, the pandemic switched something crucial but latent in many people. They’ve found ways to thrive, when it hadn’t been necessary before. People discovered their inner strength and knowledge that they can perservere under extremely difficult conditions. Many fought to budget their money for the first time.

    “The pandemic grounded a lot of people,” says Miller. “It helped them develop character. Americans are resolved to figure it out. Ultimately, it taught millions of us how to rescue ourselves, and that even in the bad times, there is good.”

    Certainly not everybody has been able to regroup and overcome financial adversity in 2020, but it’s worth taking inspiration from those who have.


    Source: creditcards.com

    Muscle Car Builder

    by Phillip Warren

    Contents

    1. 46th street. tulsa
    2. Muscle-car tuning business
    3. Award 24 trophies
    4. 25; club participation;
    5. Truck; ladies choice; people’
    6. Muscle cars immediately faces

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    Auto Fabrication Shop

    by Phillip Warren

    Contents

    1. Motor vehicle surcharge
    2. Custom car shop. description
    3. Fab auto parts offers products
    4. Custom hot rod. fabrication
    5. Custom brake lines
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    Motor Vehicle Restoration

    by Phillip Warren

    Contents

    1. 63 west 80th
    2. Barely street legal 8 reasons
    3. Expect high quality workmanship
    4. 1969 chevrolet camaro

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    Hot Rod Shops In Houston

    by Phillip Warren

    Contents

    1. Auto repair shop caught fire
    2. Legal 01:38 hot wheels
    3. Ecoboost high performance
    4. Expert performance parts installer
    5. Offer performance car
    6. Street rod parts
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    The year was 1981 and Bruce’s Rod Shop was born. Fast forward to 1987. After out growing their 4 car garage shop, they decided to make another leap to a much larger 7200 square foot shop. June of 1988 started the second generation of hot rod builders in the shop and I came to work full time.

    Dozens of Houston car lovers and collectors showed up at Houston's NRG Center to check out more than 1,000 American muscle cars, Corvettes, classics, exotics, trucks, hot rods this weekend. Fifty ...

    Dooley and Sons Hot Rod Shop | 25068 FM 1488 | Magnolia, Texas 77355 | (936) 931-3277

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    Custom Car Shop

    by Phillip Warren

    Contents

    1. Auto repair shop
    2. Custom car shop. description
    3. Math. practice math
    4. Custom classic car
    5. Baton rouge caught

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    Custom Car Shops In Dallas

    by Phillip Warren

    Contents

    1. Street legal 8
    2. Barely street legal 01:38 hot wheels
    3. Major dallas-fort worth
    4. Car restoration program. 18
    5. Training program. turn

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