September 15, 2021

How to Avoid Spending “Empty Dollars”

Spending habits, when controlled can be the difference between a debt-free life and constant revolving debt.

7 min read

Qoins Staff

@qoinsapp

You might be asking, “What are empty dollars?”. This was a phrase I first heard from one of the members of our Qoins Team.

Empty dollars are dollars, or any money spent without earning anything. But, spending money isn’t supposed to earn you money unless you invest it, right? Wrong. Investing is a different topic. Here we’re talking about rewards.

Can you think of a few examples of being rewarded for spending money? There are apps out there that will reward you for spending money, but I want to specifically focus on credit card rewards.

How It Works

Credit cards are a dangerous topic because it all falls back onto your spending habits. If you’re not in control of your spending, then credit cards are the enemy. But if you have a budget, plan right, and control yourself, then credit cards can be a great way to earn money back for spending.

Keep in mind that credit card companies market these deals and rewards to get you to sign up and spend more than you normally would. If you can avoid this and spend smart then you can take advantage of the rewards.

I personally use a rewards card that earns me 3% cash-back every time I purchase gas. If you drive and you’re already getting gas for your car to get around, then this would be a no-brainer. This specific card also offers a smaller percentage cash-back on other purchases, but that’s where they try to tempt you into spending more.

If you’re afraid of this, simply use that card only for spending on gas. You were going to pay the same amount regardless if you used cash or card, but now you’re earning cash-back on that purchase.

Obviously, you will have to remember to pay off that credit card balance before the due date to avoid interest, but automating this payment can take away that hassle.

Other rewards cards may offer points towards redeeming flights, which isn’t earning you cashback but it could come in handy when booking a trip somewhere.

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Be Cautious

As I mentioned, the credit card companies offer these deals to tempt you to spend more than you normally would. Controlling your spending is a huge part of taking advantage of the rewards, but also understanding the terms and conditions behind these deals is key.

Every deal offered will come with strings attached, so be sure to do your research before you apply for a new credit card. Some rewards may be capped at a certain limit, so there’s only so much cash-back or points you can receive.

Be wary of annual fees and other fees associated with credit cards, keep an eye out for expiration dates on deals, and look into how you’re allowed to redeem the rewards. Some cashback offers will only allow you to redeem that “cash” as a credit towards your card statement.

Most importantly, don’t get lured in by 0% Intro APR offers. A credit card that doesn’t charge interest for a whole year sounds amazing… but this is a quick way to get you to rack up your balance and get in the habit of not paying it off in full each month.

Once the Intro APR offer expires, typically months after you’ve received the card, the interest rates will spike highly. Credit card interest rates are insanely high and the best way to handle them is to avoid them.

Also keep in mind that even though interest will not be applied to a balance you carry over month to month, you’ll still need to pay the minimum due payment (at least) to avoid late payment fees.

Is it right for you?

This topic focuses on taking advantage of credit card rewards and inform you of the dangers the allure can bring.

If you have good spending habits, pay off your balances in full and on time, and want to rake in some extra cash or free miles, then this may be a good avenue.

BUT, if you struggle with overspending and impulse purchases, then your priorities should be aimed elsewhere. Focus on paying off any debt you may have, building an emergency fund, and sticking to your budget first.

If you’re unsure or have any questions, feel free to shoot us a message at support@qoins.io

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