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Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Credit Cards

I‘ve always been a proponent of using credit cards sparingly on this site. I believe when you depend on credit too much, it can quickly become a crutch and an excuse for poor planning.

With that said, I do believe there is a place for the responsible use of credit cards, especially if you’re paying them off with cash on hand every month.

If you do your research, make a plan for your credit card spending and play the game responsibly, credit cards can be a useful tool.

So what are some things that you can do in order to get the most of out of your credit cards?

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credit cards to sign up for, it pays to take the time to first sit down and think about how you’ll primarily be using the card.

Is the card going to be mainly used for everyday expenses like groceries and gas?  Is it a business card to be used for business expenses?  Do you plan on doing a lot of travel?

Think about how you’re going to be spending, and what type of a card – and card benefits – will be the best for you.

tips for getting the most out of your credit card

tips for getting the most out of your credit cardIf you’re going to be doing a lot of travel, you may want to consider signing up for a travel rewards card with mileage signup bonuses or other travel perks.

If you just want to get cash back, do your best to find the card with the best cash back percentage.

Don’t Just Dismiss Cards With An Annual Fee

When shopping for cash back cards some experts will often tell you to eschew signing up for credit cards with an annual fee. But according to David Rubenstein of, that may be short sighted.

On a recent episode of the Money Mastermind Show (above) he gave a good example, of when this might be the case.

The American Express Blue Cash Everyday card is a good card for those looking to save money on their groceries.  You can get 3% cash back at grocery stores.  The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card, however, gives 6% cash back at grocery stores, but carries with it a $75 annual fee. At first glance many people would avoid the Preferred card because of the annual fee, but if you spend just $2500 at the grocery store in the year (versus 3% cash back version), you’ll make back the annual fee and be in the black after that. Most people, even singles, would likely reach that threshold.  Add to that the cash back you would earn in other categories and it seems the annual fee may be worth it if you spend enough at grocery stores.

Try Negotiating Out Of An Annual Fee

If you want the benefits of a card with an annual fee, but don’t want to pay the fees, there is another option that some have suggested. Negotiate your way out of the fee.

Many cards will waive the annual fee in the first year, but in the second year you’ll have to pay unless you do something about it.   Here are some ideas for how to get the fee waived:

  • Call customer service: Just call and ask nicely for the fee to be waived.  Be firm, but polite, and be willing to cancel the card if they won’t credit the fee. Sometimes the first or second customer service rep may not be able to waive it, you may need to talk with the cancellation department.  Sometimes if the fee can’t be waived, they can offer extra points or rewards which will offset the fee. Sometimes they will offer to downgrade you to a lesser card without a fee.  If you can’t get the fee waived this way, try the next tip.
  • Reach out on social media: If calling doesn’t work, another trick to try is to try talking with the company on social media. Often their social media teams are able to help give customer service and positive PR on social channels. Follow the company’s social media accounts first, and then tweet to them mentioning how disappointed you are in the fee. Often they’ll offer to help you out with the fee that year, or even suppress it moving forward as one colleague told me they did for her.  I’ve found that the more followers you have, the more receptive they are to helping you out.
  • Use un-redeemed rewards to pay the fee: If you have more rewards than you’re using, some cards will allow you to redeem those points to offset the cost of the annual fee.

Credit card issuers often spend hundreds of dollars to acquire new customer, and it’s usually in their best interest to keep you around if they can.  If all else fails, be willing to cancel the card, and sign up for another one that won’t charge a fee (at least in that first year).

Make Sure To Make The Most Of Your Rewards

When signing up for your card, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most out of your rewards.

Experts at Consumer reports found that cash back cards tend to offer better rewards in general.  They also found that with cards that give points, often end up not using the points. In most instances, getting a cash back card will help you to optimize your returns.

Here are some other tips to make sure you’re getting the most out of your credit cards:

  • Find the best bonuses: Take your time to research which cards have the best bonuses.
  • Find the best fit: Sign up for cards with bonuses that fit your needs.
  • Find extra bonuses: Add authorized user if it will give additional bonus.
  • Find your card’s shopping portal: Shop at credit card reward portals to get extra savings.
  • Find bonus rewards: Take advantage of bonus rewards deals that will give you extra cash back during certain months or rewards periods. For example, 5% bonus cash back categories at chase freedom.
  • Find cards and programs that work together: A strategy some folks will use is to couple up credit cards with one issuer, or with compatible cards to maximize their rewards. For example, if you have the Chase Freedom and Chase Sapphire Preferred cards, you can use the 5% bonus categories and the Chase Ultimate Rewards site for redeeming the rewards to maximize your points. You could use your Chase Freedom to get 5% cash back rewards and then transfer those points to your Chase Sapphire Preferred card through which you could redeem at a rate of 1.25 cents per point for travel on the Chase Ultimate Rewards site. Or if you’re a travel hacker, transfer those points to a frequent flier program to get better deals.

Maximizing Your Spending To Reach Bonus Spending Goals

Often when you sign up for a credit card with an attractive bonus, you have to reach a spending goal within a certain time frame, like $3000 in the first 90 days, or something along those lines. Sometimes that can be tough unless you get creative.  One way to reach those goals is to use credit card rewards to pay for things you’re buying now anyway.

  • Pay medical bills: This is one I hadn’t thought of before because we use our HSA card to pay medical bills. Instead, use the credit card for rewards, then ask for a HSA reimbursement later via your HSA online account.
  • Buy groceries & gas: Most people are paying for groceries and gas anyway, why not put it on the credit card and then pay it off?
  • Pay for recurring bills: Use your credit card to pay Netflix subscriptions, cell phone bills, life insurance payments and any other recurring bill if you can.
  • Part of a car purchase: In buying a car recently I found that you can put a portion of a car purchase on your credit card.  Most dealerships will not allow you to put the whole purchase price on the card because of transaction fees they have to pay, cutting into their margins, but in many cases they’ll allow you to put $2000-5000 or so on a credit card. Just make sure you have the cash to pay it off!
  • Buy gift cards:  One creative trick some people will use to get around spending goals is to buy high dollar gift cards to reach their spending goal – that they can use later on.  To double up they’ll often buy those gift cards at places like grocery stores where they get extra cash back since sometimes those purchases will show up as “grocery” spending.

Don’t Forget To Take Advantage of Perks

Most credit cards these days have some pretty awesome perks that you can take advantage of. So what are a few?

  • Price protection: Many credit cards now have some sort of price protection built in that allows you to submit a request for a refund if an item you buy with the card drops in price, during a certain time-frame.
  • $0 liability for fraudulent purchases: Having experienced credit card fraud recently I don’t take this one for granted anymore. Having that fraud backstop there is a lifesaver.
  • Extended warranties: Many cards will offer an extended warranty on items that you buy, usually doubling the original warranty of an item.
  • Trip cancellation insurance coverage: If you booked a trip using your card, you can often be reimbursed if your trip has to be cancelled for some reason.
  • Lost luggage coverage: One of my cards gives $3,000 in lost luggage coverage for me and my dependents when the fare was charged to my card.
  • Roadside assistance: Broken down on the side of the road. Many cards offer roadside assistance at no charge, which means you can leave that coverage off your insurance.
  • Car rental insurance: Decline the car rental company’s collision, loss/damage waiver insurance if your card already has this type of coverage.  Why double up?

These are just a few of the benefits that some cards will have. Just make sure you check what perks your card has – and don’t forget to take advantage of them!

A Credit Card Should Fit Your Needs

When it comes down to it, credit cards are a tool. As long as you’re finding the right card for your situation, taking advantage of the rewards and not allowing yourself to carry a balance month to month, using a credit card can be a great benefit.

If, however, you find that you’re becoming lost and unorganized in a maze of points, restrictions, spending goals and so forth, it may not be the right thing for you.

Make sure that the credit cards you sign up for are working for you, and not against  you.

Have any of your own tips for making the most of your credit cards? Tell us in the comments!


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Looking for Delivery App Jobs? We Compared the Top Apps

Delivery jobs are no longer limited to the Post Office and the boxy Pullman Brown trucks of UPS.

Thousands of delivery gigs, which stem from a plethora of on-demand delivery apps, are available nationwide. Delivery services have been booming during the pandemic, creating a surge in demand for delivery workers. The vast majority of delivery app jobs are categorized as 1099, which means the workers are independent contractors.

Requirements are overall very low. In many cases, all you need to start earning are a valid driver’s license and a functioning car with proper auto insurance.

But the reality of delivery work is tough. In addition to the work itself, apps glitch, customers stiff on tips and cars deteriorate. Pay can vary based on a number of factors outside of your control. And, depending on location, you may earn less than minimum wage.

Despite the downsides, many drivers love the work and find delivery apps a flexible source of extra money in the short-term. Each app works a little differently. We analyzed the top ones, looking at wages, frequency of pay, job and vehicle requirements, dress code, driver reviews and more to help you choose the best delivery app for your next side gig.

Delivery App Jobs

Here are the top contenders for package-delivery gigs. Generally speaking, these delivery jobs require larger vehicles because of the potential size of some orders. Some heavy lifting may be required.

Amazon Flex

Package delivery is the latest in a long list of industries the e-commerce giant has upended. Currently, delivery gigs with Amazon Flex are among the highest paying, as the company guarantees hourly wages between $15 and $19 depending on your area. Through efficiency and good tips, it’s possible to earn more.

Flex requires you to sign up for shifts, aka “blocks,” for most deliveries. Blocks typically run four hours at a time, unless the shift is specifically for Prime Now packages. Those blocks are shorter.

Insured four-door sedans or SUVs are required for most Flex packages. For Prime Now blocks, smaller cars are allowed. To apply, you must be at least 21 years old. No dress code or special materials are required to start delivering.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.3 out of 5.


New to the scene, Dispatch is an on-demand package delivery app marketed toward businesses. The service is currently available in 50 major cities and metropolitan areas and continues to expand.

According to Glassdoor reviews, drivers report earning between $14 and $16 an hour. Dispatch pays weekly through an app called Stripe, provides supplemental auto insurance and reimburses tolls along the delivery route.

You must be at least 23 years old to qualify. Your vehicle just needs to be in “fair condition.” Once accepted, Dispatch will send you a branded badge and hat that are required during deliveries.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.6 out of 5.


Postmates is well known for food delivery, but most store-bought goods and packages are fair game too.

All models of cars are welcomed as long as they’re insured. You can also deliver on a bicycle if you prefer. Wages vary based on location, demand and quantity of deliveries per hour. Several drivers reported earning between $9 and $14 on Glassdoor. Hourly rates aren’t guaranteed by Postmates, but there is a base pay per order, and tips go 100% to the drivers.

Postmates is available in more than 400 cities. The company doesn’t provide supplemental auto insurance and doesn’t require any dress code.

You must be at least 18 years old to apply.

Uber has completed its acquisition of Postmates. For now, nothing changes for couriers, but Uber may announce how the acquisition will affect its gig workers in early 2021.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.4 out of 5.

Food Delivery App Jobs

Many well-known delivery apps specialize in food delivery. Here’s how they work.


BiteSquad was one of the few gig apps that hired its workers as W-2 employees, but that practice ended in February 2020 after Waitr bought out the company and transitioned its delivery drivers to independent-contractor status.

As a BiteSquad driver, you’ll be required to wear a branded hat and shirt on the job. BiteSquad supplies your clothing, but you’ll need to purchase a hot bag.

Because of the strict dress code and shift-based work, delivering for other apps while scheduled with BiteSquad isn’t realistic. Delivery jobs are available in 14 states. All you’ll need are an insured, reliable vehicle and a clean driving record.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.4 out of 5.


Overall, Dasher requirements are low. The minimum age is 18, and you can deliver with any properly insured vehicle. There’s no dress code, and the company provides a hot bag for free. Payment is on a weekly basis, or you can access your funds early through Fast Pay for a fee.

DoorDash is available in all 50 states.

Recently, the company has undergone some major changes. As of September 2019, all Dashers (DoorDash drivers) receive 100% of their tips, plus an increase in their base-pay per order. DoorDash also acquired food-delivery company Caviar and has been combining the services. Through the DoorDash app, drivers can choose orders through either Caviar or DoorDash. The driver app for Caviar no longer exists and is now channeled through the Dasher app.

In August 2020, DoorDash announced its offering grocery-delivery services in a handful of major cities in the Midwest and along the West Coast — adding to the ways Dashers can earn.

Glassdoor review: 3.7 out of 5.


GrubHub operates in more than 4,000 cities. Depending on the location, the company guarantees hourly wages. Drivers tend to earn around $12 to $15 an hour, and they get to keep 100% of their tips. GrubHub pays weekly.

Wages can be accessed early through Grubhub Instant Cash Out and a partnership with Chase Bank. If you have a Chase bank account, the early cash-out service is free, otherwise it’s 50 cents per transaction.

Auto insurance and a reliable vehicle are required, and drivers must be 19 or older. There’s no dress code. While the company recommends its drivers use a hot bag for deliveries, it doesn’t provide one.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.7 out of 5.

Uber Eats

You only need to be the legal driving age of your state, plus one year of driving experience, to deliver for Uber Eats.

A two- or four-door vehicle that’s 20 years old or newer is required, as is auto insurance. Uber provides additional coverage with a $1,000 deductible. And in some regions, scooters and bicycles are accepted.

You’ll earn around $10 to $15 an hour and get to keep all of your tips. Payment comes automatically every week, or you can pay a fee to access your earnings early with Instant Pay. You’ll need a hot bag for deliveries, but the company doesn’t provide one.

A notable perk: Drivers can switch between Uber and Uber Eats on the same app.

Uber Eats operates in all 50 states.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.9 out of 5.

Grocery Delivery App Jobs

Delivering groceries can be a little more time consuming and laborious than delivering food or packages. Typically, these gigs involve an extra step: shopping for the items. You’ll also need to be able to lift and carry heavy loads.

But the extra effort could pay off through better tips.


Instacart offers part-time W-2 jobs as well as independent delivery gigs.

The part-time positions don’t have a delivery component, they’re in-store only. In-store shoppers work in partner grocery stores, readying orders for delivery.

Full-service shoppers are independent contractors who, depending on the order, shop as well. Full-service shoppers report earning between $10 and $14 an hour and keep all their tips. Instacart pays weekly.

To become a full-service shopper, you’ll need a reliable vehicle with auto insurance. Instacart doesn’t provide additional insurance coverage or insulated bags. No dress code is required.

Gigs are available in all 50 states.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.3 out of 5.


To start delivering with Shipt, you’ll need to be 18 or older and drive an insured vehicle that’s from 1997 or later. You can expect to earn $10 to $16, depending on location, and you’ll pocket all of your tips.

Shipt pays every week via direct deposit, but you can’t access your funds before then.

A branded Shipt shirt is the only uniform requirement, which the company provides for free. Reusable grocery and insulated bags are on you, though.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.6 out of 5.


GoPuff is a new general-store delivery service that currently operates in more than 500 cities in 38 states. In most locations, services are available 24/7, which means the delivery gigs are too.

There’s no shopping involved because the goods come from local GoPuff warehouses that aren’t customer-facing. Warehouse employees schedule your shifts and prepare orders for you.

You must be at least 21 years old and have an insured vehicle (any model) to deliver for GoPuff. Drivers typically earn $10 to $14 an hour and keep 100% of their tips. GoPuff guarantees an hourly minimum wage that varies by location.

A paid alcohol-delivery training course is required in some areas.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.2 out of 5.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in ways to make money that don’t involve stuffy corporate offices. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.


What Happens When You Pay Off Your Car Loan?

July 20, 2020 &• 5 min read by Julia Eddington Comments 1 Comment

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According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, around 2.3 million car loans originate every year. Car loans can take years to pay off. So when you finally pay it off, you might be wondering—now what?

What happens when you pay off your car? What should you do with the money you were previously putting towards your monthly payments? We’ve got a few ideas, but keep in mind that everyone’s finances are different. So while our suggestions might work for some people, they probably won’t work for everyone.

What to Do When You Pay Off Your Car

Firstly, paying off your car loan is a huge accomplishment. So congratulations! Paying off any loan isn’t always easy. And now you finally own your car, which is a pretty big deal.

Luckily for you, the hard part is over. But there are still a few steps you should take after you pay off your car.

1. Get Your Car Title

You usually don’t have to take action for this step. In most states, your lender notifies the Department of Motor Vehicles—or BMV or other equivalent entity in your state—of the title change. Once the paperwork clears, the title is mailed to you.

There’s not much for you to do except keep an eye on the mail. If you don’t get your title a few weeks after paying off your loan, call your lender. You’ll need the title if you ever want to sell your car or use it for collateral when applying for credit.

2. Reconsider Your Finances

If you’re paying off a vehicle and not planning to buy another with a new loan, you’ll have a little more extra room in your budget. In 2019, new car buyers committed to an average monthly payment of around $550. So when you pay off your car loan, there’s a good chance you’ll have an extra $300 (or more) per month.

You might be tempted to splurge on fun stuff or to make large purchases you’ve been putting off. But unless your transportation situation is radically changing soon, you’ll always need a car. And that means you’ll eventually need to pay for the next one.

Plus, owning a car is expensive—even if you’ve completely paid it off. You’ll have to your oil changed, new tires and much more. And that’s just regular maintenance. If you get in even a minor accident, you could have a major repair expense on your hands.

That’s why it’s a good idea to put that some of that extra money in savings. If you end up getting a new car eventually, you can pay for all or part of your next vehicle with cash. That reduces how much you have to finance, which can significantly reduce the total cost of your next vehicle. Another option is to use the money to continue to pay down other debt to put yourself in a better financial situation in the future.

It’s also worth putting part of that cash in your short-term savings. You could easily dip into those funds if you need to get any work done on your car. But whatever you plan to do with the money, take the time to look at your personal budget. That gives you a chance to see exactly where this extra money might make the most difference.

3. Notify Your Car Insurance Company

Notify your car insurance company when you’ve paid off your loan so you can remove the lien holder from your policy. You don’t need to wait until you have the title in your hand to make the call.

This step is important because if your financed vehicle were totaled in a wreck, the insurance payment would go to the lender. Once you’ve paid off the car and own it outright, the payment goes to you.

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4. Consider Any New Insurance Options

Most states have requirements for what type of coverage you must carry on your car. At minimum in most states, you need bodily injury and property damage liability that will cover the losses of other people if it’s caused in a wreck that is deemed your fault. There are some exceptions to those requirements, though.

But your lender will likely require additional insurance coverage until you pay off the loan. Many lenders require you to also carry comp and collision coverage. This is the part of your insurance policy that pays for damage to yourvehicle if you get into an accident that is deemed your fault.

Lenders require this extra coverage to protect their investment. They want to know that if your car is totaled, they can recover the value that you owe them. Once you pay off the loan, whether or not you carry this level of coverage might be your choice.

Talk to your insurance agent to find out what your options are and if you can save money by changing your insurance coverage. Just remember that if you drop this coverage and get into an accident, you may have to cover the costs of repairs or a new vehicle on your own.

You can also check rates for auto insurance online. In addition to saving money on your monthly vehicle payment, you may be able to save a lot on your insurance coverage.

Does Paying Off Your Car Loan Early Hurt Your Credit?

To get out of debt or change your current car, you might decide to pay off your car loan early. Your credit isn’t penalized by making early payments on debt. However, paying off an entire account can cause a small dip in your credit score temporarily. That’s because open accounts with a positive payment history impact your score more than closed accounts with positive payment histories.

Your wallet might also take a small hit depending on how your loan is structured. Find out if your loan includes any penalties for paying off the principle early before you make a decision to go this route.


What Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

What Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance? – SmartAsset

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If you buy or lease a car, you’ll need to arrange for insurance coverage. Not only is it the law in most states, it will also protect your bank account in the event of an accident. However, if you’re involved in an accident and the other driver doesn’t have car insurance, you could run into problems. That’s the thinking behind uninsured motorist insurance. 

Compare checking accounts here. 

Uninsured Motorist Insurance Basics

If two people who both have car insurance get in a car crash, they exchange insurance information. The other driver’s insurance company generally pays your expenses if you’re in a crash. So what happens if the other driver doesn’t have insurance? There’s no one to pay you, cover your car repair or replacement or foot your medical bills if you’re injured. Your own car insurance may cover those costs, but it depends on the plan.

That’s where uninsured motorist insurance comes in. Uninsured motorist insurance policies offer protection against property damage or personal injury resulting from a run-in with an uninsured driver. There are a lot of bad drivers out there, and plenty of people who drive regularly but can’t afford car insurance. Have a run-in with one of them and you could end up covering your own medical and car repair bills.

In 22 states and the District of Columbia, drivers are required to have uninsured motorist insurance, so if you have vehicle insurance you’re covered in the event of a crash with an uninsured driver. But if you live in a state that doesn’t require uninsured motorist coverage, your regular car insurance policy may not protect you from bills if you’re in a crash with a driver who doesn’t have car insurance.

Check out our budget calculator.

Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance Necessary?

If you live in a state that requires uninsured motorist coverage as part of the minimum coverage requirement for all auto insurance policies, you have at least some protection from uninsured drivers. You can always call your insurance company to check on the kind of coverage you have and discuss your coverage options.

If you live in a state that doesn’t require uninsured motorist coverage, the question becomes: Should you buy uninsured motorist insurance as an add-on policy to your regular car insurance? Before you decide, it’s worth pricing it out.

First, you can call your car insurance provider and check what level of coverage you already have against uninsured motorists. Your existing plan may provide some level of protection against medical bills and/or car repair bills resulting from a crash with an uninsured motorist.

If you don’t have any coverage or if you think your coverage levels are insufficient, you can ask your insurance provider how much it would cost you to add uninsured motorist insurance to your coverage package. You can also get quotes from other car insurance companies and opt for the policy that provides the best coverage for the lowest price.

Uninsured motorist insurance can give you some extra protections, too, such as coverage in the event that a hit-and-run driver crashes into your car or in the event that you’re struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian. So even those with built-in protection against uninsured motorists through their regular car insurance may be tempted to add extra coverage.

Related Article: All About Car Loan Amortization

Bottom Line

Just because you have car insurance that you’re paying for every month doesn’t mean you’re protected in all eventualities. If reading this article has made you nervous that you might not have enough – or any – protection against uninsured motorists, this could be a good time to get your insurance company on the phone, particularly if you live in a state with a high percentage of uninsured drivers.

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Amelia Josephson Amelia Josephson is a writer passionate about covering financial literacy topics. Her areas of expertise include retirement and home buying. Amelia’s work has appeared across the web, including on AOL, CBS News and The Simple Dollar. She holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford. Originally from Alaska, Amelia now calls Brooklyn home.
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