Friday, March 1, 2013

Manage Your Money - Step# 7: Monitor Your Credit Card Expenses

After eight months of hiatus, it feels good to be back.

Now let's get the ball rolling quickly, and sprint from where I left off months ago.

If there's one thing that you need to monitor closely in your cash flow, it's got to be your credit card expenses. Because it can file up pretty high pretty quickly. It can become very overwhelming in a blink of an eye. I am speaking from experience because, like some of you, I got burned before and since then I promised myself never to repeat that experience again. Now I am sharing to you (for free) the fruits of that experience.

Below is the template that I use to monitor my credit card expenses.

From this spreadsheet you can get the following important information:

(1) The expense breakdown with corresponding date of transaction
     This can be used to check if the charges reflected in the Billing Statement are correct.

(2) The total due amount and the due date
      This will help you remember the due date and amount to be paid to the credit card company so that you can prepare the funds, and that you can avoid late payment charges.

(3) The source of your fund to pay the debt
     This will help you figure out in advance where you will get the money to pay the credit card debt.    

(4) The amount you paid and the date of payment
     This will give you peace of mind knowing that your debt has been paid up.

(5) The due date of the annual renewal fee
     This will remind you to prepare funds for the annual renewal fee.

Further suggestions and recommendations.

(1) Update the spreadsheet as soon as you can.
      I suggest that immediately after every transaction, you should update your spreadsheet to avoid forgetting it.

(2) Pay the whole amount, not just the Billing Statement due amount, on time
      The credit card company will not force you to pay the whole amount one time because they want to charge you with interest from the unpaid amount. So in the first place, do not swipe that shiny card if you know that you can't pay it in full. And pay on time to avoid charges. Be smart!

(3) Keep only one credit card.
      One credit card is already a handful to manage, much more if there's more than one of its kind. However, if you have more than one credit card then you create one spreadsheet for each card. Again, I strongly discourage keeping more than one credit card unless you have a business reason.

(4) Negotiate to have the annual renewal fee waved
      Try negotiating to have your annual renewal fee waved. Don't feel guilty about it. Remember that the people running the credit card companies are smart and savvy businessmen. All their decisions are thoroughly calculated. If they say 'yes' that means they are not losing money.

So simplify your life and live in peace. Tame your credit card spending habit, and monitor it CLOSELY. Have a nice day!