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Sioux County Index-Reporter
Hull, Iowa
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August 7, 2013     Sioux County Index-Reporter
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August 7, 2013
 

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Family Feature 8 I Sioux County Index-Reporter Aug. 7, 2013 Monthly Balances 54 of respondents currently carry a monthly balance on their credit card 32% of those surveyed usually pay more than the monthly minimum but not the entire balance 0 Paying off Debt If given an extra $1,000, 44 of respondents are most likely to use it to pay off some form of debt (credit cards, loans, etc.) .... .:~,~ ~ If given an extra 51.000. wemen are twice as likely t:o pay off ~oan.~ f given an extra $1,000, men are twice as likely to i~vest: in an IRA or stocks Multiple Credit Cards of respondents carry 1- credit cards in their wallet of respondents carry 4+ credit cards in their wallet Rewar.ds The top 3 ways Cardholders want to be rewarded rewards ~ot are cash back, merchaHdise/gif[ cards, and responsibly managing their credit cards 86 62 47 Cash Back Merchandise rewards Rewards for responsibly or gift cards managing credit c.~rds 1,500 respondents surveyed between February and March 2013 Infogmphic courtesy of Bank of America Photo courtesy of Getty Images FAMILY FEATURES As more Americans make strides towards responsible spending and debt management, there are still ways to improve the control of family finances. According to a survey recently conducted by Bank of America, which asked respondents about their credit card usage, balance and rewards, less than half of cardholders always pay their entire credit card balance. With more than half of individuals carrying credit card debt, Jason Gaughan, card products executive for Bank of America, said to think about personal spending before taking on a credit card. "Credit cards provide consumers an efficient and protected way to make purchases,'" said Gaughan. "They are more convenient than cash and they are incredibly useful in an emergency. The key to successfully managing your credit card account is to understand your budget and stick to a plan that works for you when borrowing. You want a card with a rewards program that fits your lifestyle and how you manage your finances. If you typi- cally carry a balance, look for a card that has low interest and reinforces good payment practices." Along with these practices, there are other ways to promote good spending and personal finance habits, such as: Limit Number Evaluate All Debts of Credit Cards Many carry debts beyond credit cards, According to the survey, three out of 10 including student loans, car payments and mortgages. While some may consider these respondents carded four or more credit types as necessary debts, it is important to cards. Limiting the number of cards you own can help limit your spending and keep track of the balance due for each as increase the likelihood you can pay above well as the interest rate you are paying. According to the survey, when respondents the minimum balance. Before you start were asked what they would do with cutting up your plastic, remember having more than one credit card can have merits. $1,000, nearly half (44 percent) revealed they would pay off debt. Evaluate your If you need money for an emergency, the debts and decide which ones have the immediate buying power of a credit card highest interest rates. Making it a priority can be a lifesaver. Try a card with no annual fee and a generous credit line to cover to pay down these debts first will save you unexpected expenses. One idea is to have more money in the long run. three cards: one in a safe place at home for Create a Budget emergencies and two with you at all times. It's never too soon to put yourself in control Reap the Rewards of your money and stop letting it control With so many rewards programs available you. A budget will give you financial for credit card holders, it's important to do peace of mind and it can help you stretch the income you have. First, write down the your homework so you can cash in on financial goals you want to achieve in the things your family really needs. While some credit cards will offer rewards to use next few years and the ones you want to at your favorite hotels and airlines, others accomplish for the long term. Then, gather all of the purchasing information for the will give you special discounts for the household and categorize each type of purchases you make on a frequent basis. The most popular of these programs is spending. Divide your expenses into fixed expenses (those that stay the same from cash back for spending. Some cards, such month to month, such as a mortgage pay- as the BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card, let you earn more cash back ment or cable television bill) and variable where you spend the most money, like ones (those that may change, such as fuel bills or entertainment). Be sure to also set gas stations and grocery stores. The BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards aside some money for personal savings credit card helps customers responsibly and an emergency fund. Once you've manage their credit card balance. Whatever calculated your income and expenses a month ahead of time and set your budget, rewards you are seeking, there is likely to you can focus on the most important part be a card suitable for you. adhering to the plan. Find ways to Track Spending decrease spending. Adopt just one new way of trimming expenses each week and Habits Now you'll find your overhead shrinking fast. If you've been lax about keeping track of Though you may not be on-point every your spending, take the first step towards month, the simple act of tracking and corn- tracking as soon as possible. Include info municating your family's finances will be on where you spend, when you spend and a huge step forward in your quest towards how much you spend. Making note of all responsible spending. of those little purchases a cup of coffee here or a gift store trinket there will help you see how quickly they add up. Whether you're the old-fashioned, pen- and-paper type, or if you prefer a more modem, digital form of tracking, the impor- tance is in the act itself. For more information, visit www.bankofamerica.com/erediteard. i