Credit cards give you the ability to make purchases today and pay for them later. If it takes you longer than a month to pay off your balance you’ll pay a fee in the form of a finance charge. Paying finance charges increases the cost you pay for having a credit card, even moreso if you never fully pay off your balance. You can avoid finance charges on almost all credit cards, but it’s all about the timing and amount of your credit card payment.
Best for Debt Payoff: You Need a Budget. You Need a Budget. Courtesy of You Need a Budget. You Need a Budget is a personal finance app that’s built around YNAB’s Four Rules. The rules – Give every dollar a job, Embrace your true expenses, Roll with the punches and Age your money – not only help you build a better budget but also help you gain control of your spending. Import transactions from your checking account and apply them to each budget category to get an accurate picture of your spending. Keep a balanced budget by adjusting budget categories if you accidentally overspend (or if you underbudgeted for a certain category). Detailed reports show you how your spending is progressing throughout the month and help you spot places that you can improve your spending. According to YNAB, the average new user saves $600 in the first to months and more than $6,000 in the first year. You can try the app for free for the first 34 days.
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Motley Fool’s You Have More Than You Think. The creators of one of the most popular financial stock market sites, www.fool.com, brothers Tom and David Gardner also wrote the New York Times Bestseller You Have More Than You Think. The Gardner brothers’ book aims to show how even inexperienced investors can invest the smallest amounts of money and still make a profit. Their far-from-foolish advice includes how to reduce your debt and find money to invest, how to find the best investments, how to manage your 401(k), and more. As with most of their writing, this personal finance book is a fun and easy to read.
How Promotional Rates Affect Finance Charges. Some credit cards offer a zero percent introductory interest rate to entice new customers who want to avoid interest. During the promotional period, you generally won’t receive a finance charge even if you don’t pay your balance in full. However, once the promotional period ends, any remaining balance will start accruing finance charges at the regular APR. During the promotional period, you can also be assessed a finance charge on balances that aren’t subject to the promotional rate. For example, if the promotional rate applies only to balance transfers, then purchases you make will be charged a finance charge.