Life happens. Regardless how much time you spend planning and preparing yourself for the future, every now and then you are going to be thrown a curveball. Because of this, it simply makes sense to put yourself in a better position to handle these occasions.
Saving can always be a huge help. Your budget should always include a percentage of your income going into a specific account for a rainy day. However, saving isn’t always going to be enough. During most emergencies, you are always going to need at least a couple of hundred dollars more than you have available.
When used properly, credit cards can be a huge asset. These small pieces of plastic have the ability to make problems disappear. However, when used carelessly or on impulse, credit cards can create the biggest financial crisis you will ever go through.
What Is In The Mail?
At some point in our lives, each of us has opened the mailbox, just to have either temptation or opportunity in the palm of our hand. I am talking about the many pre qualified credit card offers that magically discover where you live. Many of these offers will look so inviting that you almost believe the credit card company has spent years trying to discover where you live.
If you are one of the many who open your mail to these surprises on a regular basis, you need to use caution when pursuing one of these cards. Yes, there are many amazing deals out there. Especially if your credit isn’t exactly perfect, this could give you a chance to improve the situation.
Too Good To Be True?
But, for every legitimate offer that arrives to your home, there are five more that need to be thrown in the trash after being shredded. The companies are only interested in using your poor credit situation as an opportunity to make tons of cash for themselves. Many of them will make the offer look so enticing, you fail to realize just how much interest you will be paying on the purchase you make.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask
As mentioned earlier, there are several great opportunities to not only be better prepared for emergencies, but also to improve your credit score. Do some research on the company that has reached out to you. Don’t only look at the information they have provided about themselves. Visit as many websites as you can to see what their customers have to say about the company.
A lot can be learned by simply listening to the experiences others have had. Compare what they have to offer to some of the other opportunities available to choose from. While there may be some differences based on your credit score, what are the average rates other companies are offering?
What are the terms when it comes to the minimum monthly payment? How easily will you be able to pay off the balance ahead of schedule? These are all questions you need to be asking before you agree to sign up for anything.
Most importantly, once you have made a decision and have access to your card, be smart about how you are using it. Consider only making purchases that you can pay off in full with one payment for the first few months. By doing this, you may open up an opportunity or special rate that wasn’t available before.